Lane Splitting Still Legal in California—For Now

Motorcycle AccidentsCalifornia motorcyclists currently enjoy a practice that is illegal in most states: lane splitting. Lane splitting, otherwise known as “lane sharing,” is riding a motorcycle between two lanes of traffic going in the same direction. Riders use this technique to weave through congested traffic and save time.

California Bill AB51

According to a recent report by the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), California bill AB51 would still allow lane-splitting, but would impose stricter rules on the practice. While the bill did pass the state assembly earlier in 2015, its sponsor asked for it not to be made into a law yet after learning that Governor Brown had serious concerns about its implementation.

Proponents vs. Opposition of Lane Splitting

Law enforcement agencies generally support the bill’s passage, but the MIC and other groups are against it. People against it believe that lane splitting causes motorcycle accidents and puts riders in danger. Those in favor of the bill believe it cuts down on traffic and produces less wear and tear on motorcycles themselves, since most have manual transmissions. They also say that lane splitting reduces the amount of time riders are directly exposed to auto exhaust because they aren’t parked directly behind cars when stopped in traffic.

How safe is lane splitting?

The MIC report cites a study by the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center at the University of California Berkeley, that  said, “Lane splitting is relatively safe if done in traffic moving at 50 mph or less, and if motorcyclists do not exceed the speed of other vehicles by more than 15 mph.” The report also refers to two other studies that found lane splitting is actually safer than not lane splitting. One of the reasons for this finding is that motorcycles parked or riding directly behind cars are at higher risk for being rear-ended.

Whether you choose to split lanes or not, riding safety is our greatest concern at the Woodland Hills law offices of Kahn Roven, LLP. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, you need an experienced attorney to help you get money for medical bills, lost wages, recovery and other expenses. We have been practicing personal injury law for many years and have won millions in for our clients. Call us today at (844) 9-INJURED for a free case evaluation. Ride safely.

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