Everything you Need to Know about California Motorcycle Lane Splitting Laws

Personal Injury Attorney
Motorcycle Lane Splitting Laws

Lane splitting is a common practice that is used by motorcyclists to change the lane while driving. However, most of the motorcycle accidents tend to happen because of lane splitting. Even though you can consult a personal injury attorney to claim for the damages, such accidents are likely to take a toll on your life.

Do you know that lane splitting is illegal in most places? However, it is legal in California. In fact, California is the only American state where lane splitting is legal. Note that according to California vehicle code 21658.1, lane splitting is defined as ‘driving a motorcycle between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane including on both divided and undivided streets, roads, and highways’.

Additionally, this article became effective only in 2017. However, since lane splitting is legal in California, the traffic rules and the focus on road safety issues here are more intense. To educate motorcyclists regarding the cautions that they must exercise while lane splitting, CHP (California Highway Patrol) has issued a set of guidelines that must be followed by every motorcyclist who chose to lane split.

The Maximum Speed Must Not Exceed 10mph Faster than Traffic

Speed is the main factor that you must consider as you split lane. Needless to mention, a slow vehicle will be able to control easier when compared to a speedy one. Hence, never rise above the speed limit mentioned earlier when lane splitting. If you got involved in an accident in such cases, it will be extremely challenging for your accident lawyer to win the case. Besides, never split the lane is your speedometer displays 30mph or more. Note that after a speed of 10kmph, every rise in speed will increase the chances of potential hazards.

Be Cautious of the Lane Environment before Splitting

Make sure to thoroughly understand the full scenario before splitting the lane such as the width of the lane, the size of the roadways, the size and speed of other vehicles, weather conditions, lighting, etc.,. Note that some lanes in California are so narrow that vehicles can barely fit. Splitting these lanes is likely to invite potential hazards in such cases. The simple rule to keep in mind, in this case, is ‘If you can fit, don’t split’.

Try Not to Lane Split on Unfamiliar Roads

If there are potholes, gravel, dirt, etc., on roads, the chances for you to lose your balance and get involved in road accidents are more when splitting lanes. So, it is always better not to split lanes on unfamiliar roads. Furthermore, most riders tend to split lanes at the left side since it is regarded as the safest options. However, never split the lane near off-ramps and freeway exit when sudden lane changes tend to occur.

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