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Lane splitting is now legal in California

For many years California motorcyclists have engaged in what is commonly known as lane splitting. Lane splitting involves a motorcycle driving between lanes of traffic, and until last year was technically not legal. While some suggest that lane splitting existed in a grey area of the law where it was neither permitted nor impermissible, motorcycle riders can now partake in the practice legally when they follow the rules.

Lane splitting can be an efficient way for a small motorcycle to move through the heavy road traffic that can plague California freeways. As cars and trucks sit motionless in the crunch of rush hour traffic or due to other accidents on the road, motorcycles can slide through between them, safely navigating ahead of the bottlenecks that would otherwise keep them in the middle of the mess. Moreover, lane splitting allows motorcyclists to avoid having their vehicles overheat. In addition, lane splitting may be a way that motorcyclists could avoid being struck from behind by another vehicle.

With the full legalization of lane splitting, though, some may wonder if vehicle drivers and motorcyclists will suffer more collisions as motorcycles move in the spaces between traffic. A motorcycle that is lane splitting may inadvertently be hit by a car changing lanes if if the driver fails to check their mirrors prior to making their move. In order to keep motorcyclists safe the drivers they encounter on California roads must follow the rules.

Motorcycle accidents can be deadly incidents. While lane splitting has been going on in the state for some time, Californians will have to wait and see if the legalization of the practice will affect the rate of collisions between motorcycles and other vehicles on the roads.

Source:, "Lane splitting: The other thing California legalized," Elijah De Castro, Feb. 7, 2018

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