To better understand the logic of lane splitting, you have to understand a bit of history first. California has a long-standing tradition with motorcycle enthusiasm, and through time, it and has become part of it’s beloved culture. Whether it is from the popular motor-dome race tracks that sprung up in the early Nineteenth Century from Playa Del Rey to Beverly Hills, to the sheer beauty of the state and it’s vast open spaces, the freedom to ride on a two-wheel motorbike has very deep roots here!
Thus, it should be no surprise, that as the date of this writing, California is the only state that allows the specific traveling maneuver of lane splitting to be even be legal. Especially on a motorcycle, right? The legality of the maneuver is codified (recently) under California Vehicle Code Section 216518.1.
Now, in a nutshell, it gives the California Highway Patrol the power to set the safety guidelines for lane splitting, and it needs to be followed. If not, you are lane splitting illegally, and you could face a moving violation with fine. Worse yet, you may get injured or injure someone else. And, we don’t want that at all! So, the following is all you need to know in order to do this motorcycle riding maneuver safely, and legally:
Safety and Legal Guidelines Per the California Highway Patrol
1. FOR GOODNESS SAKE, DON'T DO IT AT HIGH SPEEDS!
The CHP recommends you do not do it when traffic around you is more than 30 mph, AND you are not going faster than 10 mph than the slower traffic around you! Remember, the whole goal of lane splitting is to alleviate traffic. And, as such, it is a SAFE maneuver at low speeds, and it is an UNSAFE maneuver at high speeds.
2. ONLY DO IT IN THE NUMBER 1 (FAST LANE) OR NUMBER 2 LANE!
Don't be lane splitting in lanes 3, 4, or 5 because the risk of someone merging to their left is increased exponentially. Remember, you are a small and fast moving target on the freeway which means you are hard to see to others.
3. ONLY DO IT ON FREEWAYS OR ROADWAYS YOU KNOW WELL, & YOU ARE FAMILIAR WITH YOUR MOTORCYCLE WEIGHT & DIMENSIONS!
This is self-explanatory, but you really need to know the roadway you are riding on and your motorcycle. The more experience you have on the roadway and your motorcycle dimensions, the better your chances of knowing the limits of performance at the time you decide to lane split.
4. AVOID NIGHT-TIME LANE SPLITTING!
It is much safer to ride at day time rather than in the night. I have represented many safe motorcyclists over the years who have repeatedly told me they never ride at night due to safety concerns. So, if that is the case, avoid night-time lane splitting at all costs!
If you were injured on a motorcycle by someone not being careful enough, then fill out my convenient online form to schedule a free consultation to learn how I can help you today. Or, you can always call me direct at 619.813.7955, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.