I’ve lived in California my entire life and have spent the past three decades riding streetbikes. I’m fortunate to enjoy one of the greatest liberties a motorcyclist will ever experience: The freedom of movement when traffic has slowed to a crawl or is stopped. I am a lane-splitter.
California is currently the only state in the nation that allows lane splitting, and it has done this by not specifically prohibiting it in the vehicle code. Done responsibly, lane splitting is a safe and effective way to relieve traffic congestion and get where you’re going faster.
I also must confess that I’ve never had a clear and concise understanding of how lane splitting is defined by the authorities, mostly because it was never officially defined. Ask 10 different traffic officers and you’ve been likely to get as many varying answers.
But, in an effort to raise driver awareness and clear the air for motorcyclists, Lane Splitting General Guidelines have been posted on the California Highway Patrol website.
Several good tips and rules of thumb are offered, but it remains gray as to hard and fast legal limits pertaining to lane splitting. Just as I’ve assumed in the past, it really comes down to an officer’s perception of whether your maneuvering through traffic appears reckless. It’s a positive step by the state to take this action to raise awareness and define some of the rules of engagement.
Should lane splitting be legal in all states? If you live outside of California, would you lane split if it were legal in your state?