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Motorcycle lane-splitting blessed, given new rules!

Lane-splitting has always been legal in California.

Not until now have there been RULES for it, that is, “how to weave the white line safely.” California is the ONLY state in which lane-splitting is legal, what I, as a motorcyclist, call “survival of the fittest riding.” 😉

You KNEW that any state that loves laws as much as California does, had to fill the vacuum! 😉

“Really, it has been limited anarchy out there,” said Sgt. Mark Pope, statewide motorcycle safety coordinator for the CHP. “Nobody has provided any guidance, so we decided it was time to figure that out.”

The new rules, which the CHP introduced in January after consulting with other state agencies and motorcycle-rider groups, apply to city streets, highways and freeways across the state.

“Basically, what we’re most interested in is the speeds,” Pope said. “You should lane-split no faster than 10 mph over the speed of traffic around you, and we recommend (motorcyclists) not split at all if the traffic is faster than 30 mph.”

Sergeant Pope notes that CHP (California Highway Patrol) officers have always had the legal authority to ticket motorcyclists who are moving too fast, but that the new rules provide specifics.

Pope isn’t just an enforcer – he’s also a rider who often lane-splits on his Kawasaki Concours C14 while commuting in Sacramento.

He realizes that some car drivers see lane-splitters as borderline cheaters cutting ahead of others, but he says the practice is actually safer for motorcyclists than politely staying in line in a lane.

Motorcyclists “are not trying to be obnoxious or rude” when they lane-split, Pope said. “They don’t have air bags or crash cages, so they’re trying to protect themselves. What we see more often than motorcyclists being involved in lane-splitting accidents is we see motorcyclists running into the backs of cars.”

I’ve always said it THIS way, “If you cut off a motorcyclist believing that the bike can ‘stop on a dime,’ you could be RIGHT, and the dime could be in your pocket.” :-)

The complete lane-splitting regulations are here: http://www.chp.ca.gov/programs/lanesplitguide.html

-Bill at

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