Lane splitting is the practice of a motorcycle driving between two rows of stopped or moving cars in the same lane. This practice has become extremely common occurrence on highways and roads. For this reason, drivers must stay attentive on the road and learn how to deal with them to ensure safety. But is lane splitting legal? Find out!
Is Lane Splitting Legal?
Right now, lane splitting is only officially legal in California. Although, lane splitting has never been considered illegal, California was the first state to pass a law that specifically allowed motorcyclists to drive between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane.
You may be wondering why they would create a law if technically it is not illegal. The reason is with the law in place, California was able to develop regulations. These regulations spell out what is legal versus illegal lane splitting.
Safe Practices by Motorcyclists
- Only split lanes if traffic is going under 30 mph
- Always travel at a safe speed. Rule of thumb is travel only 10 mph faster than the traffic around you.
- Splitting lanes in the farther left lanes is safer than splitting lanes in the right lanes. This is for two reasons – 1) Drivers are more likely to anticipate motorcycles in the left lanes. 2) Lanes on the right have a lot more cars changing lanes from freeway exits and ramps. Making it more likely for accidents to happen.
- Don’t lane split if it is bad weather – rain, fog, dusk etc.
- Be watchful for unexpected car movements, traffic, road width and big cars.
- Only lane split on roads that you are familiar with
- Wear bright colors and use lights to help drivers see you
Safe Practices for Drivers
- Always signal to alert motorcyclists of lane changes
- Always check blindspots. Motorcycles can appear suddenly
- Always let a motorcyclist pass you before changing lanes – they typically are moving faster
- Don’t change lanes quickly
- The best way to anticipate a motorcyclist is listening for them
Is Lane Splitting Safe?
According to research done by UC Berkeley in 2015, it can be done safely if the motorcycle is driven at a speed of no more than 50 mph and not more than 15 mph faster than surrounding traffic. However, more research needs to be done in order to determine if it is safe or not. Most drivers believe lane splitting is extremely dangerous while motorcyclists feel it is safer for them since they can avoid being hit from behind.
What If I Receive a Traffic Ticket?
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