California Lane-Sharing Bill AB51 on Hold


In July 2015 the California lane-sharing bill AB51 was in disputes, this bill was created to put restrictions on the popular motorcyclists rights in California for lane-sharing. Just to be clear this bill would not revoke the right to lane split but it would be put speed restrictions on lane splitting. The main two restrictions that would be placed on lane-sharing with motorcyclists would be: 1) You could not pass a vehicle moving faster than 50mph. 2) You cannot pass a vehicle at 15 mph more than the speed of the moving vehicle you are passing.

As you can imagine there are good arguments and agreements when it comes to the law imposing these restrictions. Studies have found that lane-sharing can be just as safe as riding the 2 wheeled vehicle in the middle of the lane. It is the responsibility of other motorists to be aware of the motorcyclists around them.

The following document contains guidelines for lane-sharing or lane-splitting: CHP Lane Splitting Guidelines.

According to UC Berkeley “Riding a motorcycle between lanes may be safer than critics believe. The UC Berkeley report looked at 5,969 motorcycle accidents in California from July 2012 to August 2013. Of those, 997 involved lane-splitting. The study concluded that motorcyclists splitting lanes at 50 mph or slower were far less likely to suffer serious injury from their accidents than motorcyclists who were not lane-splitting or doing it at high speeds:


  • 9 percent of lane-splitters at moderate speeds suffered head injuries, compared with 17 percent overall.
  • 19 percent suffered injuries to their torso, compared with 29 percent overall.
  • And the death rate was 1.2 percent, compared with 3 percent overall.
    Still, some drivers resent lane-splitters, and their frustration can lead to road rage. Motorists sometimes refuse to give motorcyclists room to weave their way through stop-and-go traffic. And motorcyclists who travel between lanes at high speeds may unnerve drivers, who fear they might not see the two-wheelers when changing lanes.”


lane-splitting-tom-reineckeAs a California Motorist you should know the following:

1) Lane splitting by motorcycles is not illegal in California when done in a safe and prudent manner.

2) Motorists should not take it upon themselves to discourage motorcyclists from lane splitting.

3) Intentionally blocking or impeding a motorcyclist in a way that could cause harm to the rider is illegal (CVC 22400).

4) Opening a vehicle door to impede a motorcycle is illegal (CVC 22517).

5) Never drive while distracted.

6) You can help keep motorcyclists and all road users safe by

  • Checking mirrors and blind spots, especially before changing lanes or turning
  • Signaling your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic
  • Allowing more following distance, three or four seconds, when behind a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency

If you are a California motorist or motorcyclist check the Lane Splitting is Legal to obtain “Share the Road Stickers” and subscribe to receive updates of the AB51 California Lane-sharing bill.