California Deletes Safe Lane-Splitting Guidelines

Lane-splitting in Bangkok, Thailand
Lane-splitting on Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok, Thailand.Wikimedia Commons

The California Highway Patrol and other state government agencies have removed information from their websites about how motorcyclists can safely execute lane-splitting maneuvers because of one complaint from one man in Sacramento.

The complainer is Kenneth Mandler, a longtime state employee who conducts training sessions on how to get a state job. He made his case in the California Office of Administrative Law, asserting that the CHP created an “underground regulation” by when it provided guidelines for splitting lanes.

Lane splitting is permitted only in California, though it’s common practice everywhere else in the world — everywhere. Lane-splitting works largely because driver training in other countries tends to be far more rigorous, especially Europe. (The accompanying photo was taken on Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok, Thailand.)

“By forcing the California Highway Patrol to remove its guidelines, Mr. Mandler and the Office of Administrative Law are denying the public vital safety information,” Nick Haris, AMA western states representative and a member of the California Motorcyclist Safety Program Advisory Committee, was quoted as saying. The California Motorcyclist Safety Program Advisory Committee helped write the guidelines.

Lane-splitting is still allowed in California, it’s just that information about how to do it will have to be learned from somewhere else.

The AMA supports safe lane splitting in California and the implementation of lane-splitting laws in other states, that and rider and driver education programs.

The AMA position statement reads, in part: “Reducing a motorcyclist’s exposure to vehicles that are frequently accelerating and decelerating on congested roadways can be one way to reduce front- and rear-end collisions for those most vulnerable in traffic.”

The CHP guidelines can still be downloaded from the AMA here, at http://americanmotorcyclist.com/Libraries/Rights_Documents_State/lanesplitting_guidelines.sflb.ashx?download=true.%20.