After years of being a motorcycle gray area, splitting lanes might soon be regulated
For years, riding a motorcycle between two designated traffic lanes — an act commonly known as “lane-splitting” — has been a legal gray area in California. As long as you were “safe and prudent,” you wouldn’t catch a ticket from the California Highway Patrol for filtering through the sea of Los Angeles rush hour traffic. Now, in a unanimous decision by the state assembly, California is making moves to codify lane-splitting regulations, effectively making it legal.
According to the LA times, this bill is a response to the public outcry against CHiP’s prior attempt to set lane-splitting guidelines. The outcry was justified — after all, the only people who can create laws are the lawmakers. If this bill becomes a law, it shouldn’t change the average California motorcycle enthusiast’s day to day much, if at all.
The original draft of the bill had a stipulation that motorcyclists couldn’t travel 15 mph faster than the flow of traffic, but that rule was kiboshed by motorcycle enthusiast groups. As a result, the bill has become a bare-bones guideline still based on being safe and prudent in the eyes of traffic enforcers.
Riding between cars might seem dangerous, but this University of Californiastudy shows it actually reduces the risks motorcyclists face on the road. The combination of research and an official law passing might push other states over the lane-splitting edge.