Lane sharing or splitting is legal in the state of California and should be legal in every state. As much as you think that we are saying this just for the good business for motorcycle lawyers, there is great safety in lane splitting when done correctly and without other motorists attempting to get in the way. For the majority of the motorcyclists lane-splitting, it can be done safely and without any problems. Unfortunately only a few motorcyclists have to make it seem like they own the roads and give the bad rep to the rest of the motorcycle community. Most motorcyclists just want to enjoy their time and freedom of being on their iron horse. The problem is that it only takes a few motorcyclists and bad decisions to make people hate all people on motorcycles.
California is the only state that has no laws that prohibit lane-sharing and several motorcyclists in other states have been trying to be the same. There used to be a 10 mph limit to land splitting that has since been removed allowing riders to ride at any speed while lane splitting. This can be good and bad.
Pros of Lane-splitting:
- Quickly and Efficiently avoid waiting in traffic
- Cools down air-cooled motorcycles from overheating
- Prevents rear-end collisions from happening
- Cools the rider down from riding with heavy clothing
- Saves fuel and Time
Cons of Lane-Splitting:
- Dangerous at high speeds
- Broken Mirrors and Scratches on cars
- Lane Changing Vehicles
- Opened Doors
- Angered or Startled Motorists
- Riding in blind spots
- Motorcyclist to be liable majority in an accident
Whether you are a motorist or a motorcyclist you have to watch out for each other and make good decisions, not illegal moves such as crossing in and out of the carpool lane when the lane is closed. Motorcyclists are practically exposed with no cage or coverage around them to protect them from harm like a vehicle. A motorcyclist hitting another car or vice versa can have significant damage to motorcyclist and cause them to be ejected in the air. A motorist that disobeys the law will be found at fault nearly every time.
Motorists that are angry or jealous of motorcycles are considered highly dangerous to as they can swerve to hit a motorcyclist and cause an accident. It is illegal to get in the way of a motorcyclist even if you were startled or angered as they ride by you.
Lane splitting can still be cited even though there are no given limitations specified in the law about what is legal or not. A police officer may cite you if you are lane splitting or straddling the line in an unsafe manner. It is possible for you to receive a citation because of a biased police officer.
In a poll given to motorists, there were many who claimed that they did not know that it was legal to lane-split or lane-share and thought it was a unacceptable action. That is quite alarming considering how many motorists that are on the highways today.
Some good general guidelines for safe lane-splitting are found on The California Motorcyclist Safety Program pdf here. Although they are not laws but some guidelines you’d be a lot safer by abiding by them than without them.
If you or a loved one have been in a recent motorcycle accident call The Reinecke Law Firm for a free case evaluation at (800)275-8326. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages.