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Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys®: Lane Splitting Clarified by CHP.

Lane Splitting – the motion of moving a motorcycle between lanes of vehicles that are moving in the same direction. It is also referred to as filtering, lane sharing, and white lining. Lane Splitting is legal in the State of California yet “defining what is legal” has caused a lot of confusion on the part of motorcycle riders and the regular auto population, many of which who do not like lane splitting or know it’s legal.
While a popular practice around the world, in the USA, lane splitting is only legal in California. A California study conducted in 2012 found that only 53% of auto drivers knew lane splitting was legal, add to the mix that many motorcyclists are unsure of what constitutes  ‘legal’  and you get mass confusion. So, to make things clear, the California Hwy Patrol has posted ‘lane splitting rules’.
Key takeaways for any motorist include:
• Inexperienced motorcyclists should not lane-split.
• Motorcyclists should not lane-split in toll booth queues.
• Police Officers can determine that a motorcyclist is lane-splitting unsafely.
• Other drivers should not try to impede motorcyclists from lane-splitting.
• Travel at a speed that is no more than 10 MPH faster than other traffic. It is not advisable to lane-split when traffic is at 30 MPH or faster.
– It is not advisable to lane-split near freeway on-ramps and exits.
Posted on the CHP site is the Four R’s or “Be-Attitudes” of Lane Splitting:
Be Reasonable, be Responsible, be Respectful, be aware of all Roadway and traffic conditions.
Hopefully this posting by the California Hwy Patrol will also alert the general public that lane splitting is, in fact, legal in CA. I have heard many motorcycle riders, whom I consider quite responsible on the road, complain of vehicles trying to cut them off when they have been safely lane splitting. On the other hand, we have seen motorcyclists lane splitting at crazy speeds and we hope that, by the CHP stating what is legal and what is not, we will see less of that as well.
The Four R’S are worth repeating twice here – the Four R’s or “Be-Attitudes” of Lane Splitting:
Be Reasonable, be Responsible, be Respectful, be aware of all Roadway and traffic conditions.
For more information head to the California Hwy Patrols website.
Ride Safe!
Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys®