CHP Releases Tips For Lane Splitting
Two years after California Assembly Bill 51 (the lane splitting
bill) was singed by governor Jerry Brown, we now have word from the
California Highway Patrol on how motorcyclists and drivers should
deal with lane splitting safely. Hopefully these tips from the
CHP are just the beginning to a more thorough and broader platform
to educate riders and drivers across the golden state about lane
splitting and sharing the road with each other.
Lane splitting has been a controversial topic not only in California but across the country for decades, so hopefully the passage of AB 51 and the guidelines from the CHP will spark a movement to make lane splitting legal in other states. It was a popular topic a few years ago with several states considering it, but seems to have gone quiet as of late.
Here is the press release from the American Motorcyclist Association:
(September 26, 2018)- The California Highway Patrol has released its long-awaited tips for motorcyclists who split lanes in traffic.
[caption id="attachment_70670" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Photo credit: Kevin Wing[/caption]
The recommendations were authorized under A.B. 51, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) in 2016. The law, sponsored by Assembly members Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) and Tom Lackey (R- Palmdale), is the first legislative recognition of lane splitting, in which motorcyclists ride between lanes of stopped or slowed traffic.
The CHP tips include information for motorcyclists and drivers of other vehicles.
Safety tips for motorcyclists include:
- Consider the total environment when you are lane splitting.
This includes the width of lanes, the size of surrounding vehicles
and current roadway, weather and lighting conditions.
- Danger increases at higher speed differentials (the difference
between the speed of the motorcyclist and that of nearby
- Danger increases as overall speed increases.
- It is typically safer to split between the far left lanes than
between other lanes of traffic.
- Avoid lane splitting next to large vehicles (big rigs, buses,
- Riding on the shoulder is illegal and is not considered lane
- Be visible. Avoid remaining in the blind spots of other
vehicles or lingering between vehicles.
- Help drivers see you by wearing brightly colored/reflective
and using high beams during daylight.
Messages for other vehicle drivers include:
- Lane splitting by motorcyclists is legal in California.
- Intentionally blocking or impeding a motorcyclist is
- Opening a vehicle door to impede a motorcyclist is illegal.
- Drivers in the far left lane should move to the left of their
lane to give motorcyclists ample room to pass.
CHP safety tips for all motorists include:
- Check mirrors and blind spots, especially before changing lanes
- Signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with
- Be alert and anticipate possible movements by other
- Never ride or drive while impaired by drugs, alcohol or
- Be courteous and share the road.
The CHP warns that splitting lanes can be dangerous and should not be performed by inexperienced riders.