Lane Splitting May Be Officially California Legal

New legislation clears up lane-splitting laws in CA

Lane-splitting in California has always been allowed, but in a sort of "no law for it, no law against it," sort of way. That all changed last week when California Assembly Members Quirk and Lackey introduced the bill to make it officially legal.

lane split splitting

The argument for lane-splitting is that when a car is stopping at a rapid rate, the option to split gives the rider the opportunity to go around the car, rather than slam into it's rear, even if there is a car in the neighboring lane. This has lead to fewer rear-impact related casualties on motorcycles in California and is the main selling point for this addition to the bill.

There are two requirements for legal splitting in California:

  1. The motorcycle cannot be traveling at a rate faster than 50mph

  2. The motorcycle cannot be traveling more than 15mph faster than the speed of traffic moving in the same direction.

(b) and obviously you cannot be going against any other laws relating to the safe operation of a vehicle.

In other words, if traffic is going 45mph, you could split at 50mph but no faster. If traffic was moving at 30mph, you could split at 45mph.

In my opinion, this won't change much for us California riders. I believe it will give Police the backing to punish unsafe lane-splitting when they see it, but I doubt you'll get pulled over if you safely bump it up to 75mph to pass someone going 60 on the freeway.

Check out the official Bill text HERE