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Motorcycle Lane Splitting Now Legal In California

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What is motorcycle lane splitting? 

Lane splitting, also known as lane sharing, filtering or white-lining, is the process of a motorcyclist riding between lanes of stopped or slower moving traffic, or moving between lanes to the front of traffic stopped at a traffic light.

AB-51 Vehicles: motorcycles: lane splitting.

On August 19, 2016, California became the first state to make lane-splitting by motorcyclists legal when Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 51  (AB 51) into law, authorizing the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to develop guidelines for riders.

AB 51 states, “This bill would define “lane splitting” as driving a motorcycle, that has 2 wheels in contact with the ground, between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane, as specified. The bill would authorize the Department of the California Highway Patrol to develop educational guidelines relating to lane splitting in a manner that would ensure the safety of the motorcyclist, drivers, and passengers, as specified. The bill would require the department, in developing these guidelines, to consult with specified agencies and organizations with an interest in road safety and motorcyclist behavior.”

Four R’s of Lane Splitting from the California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP)

Be Reasonable: Do not drive more than 10 miles per hour (MPH) faster than other traffic and avoid lane splitting when traffic flow is 30 MPH or faster.

Be Responsible: Not only are you responsible for your own safety but also for the safety of your passenger and other motorists. A rule of thumb, “If you can’t fit, don’t split”. Motorcyclists who lane split must obey all existing traffic laws. Never ride while impaired by drugs, alcohol or fatigue.

Be Respectful: Share the road, and lane split in a safe and prudent manner.

Be aware of Road and traffic conditions: Consider your environment, including the width of the lanes, size of surrounding vehicles, as well as roadway, weather, and lighting conditions. Scan for changing conditions.

Common Road Hazards: 

  • Construction debris
  • Uneven pavement
  • Wide trucks
  • Distracted/negligent drivers
  • Weather
  • Curves

Contact a Sacramento Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Motorcyclists do not have as much protection as other types of motor vehicles. Motorcycle accidents are more likely to result in catastrophic injury or death. 70% of motorcycle accidents are caused by drivers failing to see the motorcyclist driving near them. Motorcycle riders, and their passengers, generally carry the weight of protecting themselves from the carelessness of other vehicles on the roadways- even though they have the same rights as other motorists.

If you were seriously injured, or a loved one was killed, in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, call our motorcycle accident attorneys to learn about your legal rights.

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