Last year, California lawmakers made splitting lanes legal in our state. Before that bill, the practice was not illegal or legal, but as of January 1st, California Highway Patrol (CHP) was given authority to make regulations for the practice. It is now September, and riders have still not received guidelines to safely lane split on California highways. What’s the hold up? And are there anyways to ensure your safety while sharing lanes in the meantime?
How to Lane Split Properly Until CHP Releases Its Guidelines
Lately we have seen lane splitting fatalities on the roads of our state, this has led to a backlash from many drivers. However, in many of these cases, the riders and the drivers involved may not have known how the maneuver is performed safely. And until CHP releases its new guidelines, there won’t be official rules as to how to handle sharing lanes. Luckily, CHP released regulations before legalization, and though these rules aren’t official, they can be a good guide for how to ride until official rules are soon released.
Some of CHP’s Former Lane Splitting Guidelines:
- If you are lane splitting, do not travel at a speeds higher than 10 MPH faster than surrounding traffic.
- You should not split lanes if surrounding traffic flow is moving faster than 30 MPH.
- Only lane split in the two lanes furthest to the left. It can be dangerous to split lanes near exits or freeway on-ramps.
- Don’t split lanes when another motorcyclist is splitting lanes nearby. Other cars may block your path while trying to give the other rider room.
- Pay attention to your environment, and don’t try to squeeze through narrow openings. “If you can’t fit, don’t split.”
- Anticipate the actions of other nearby vehicles to give yourself plenty of reaction time.
Drivers need to stay aware of their surroundings, whether there is a motorcycle splitting lanes nearby or not. It is illegal for a motorist to use their vehicle to block a motorcyclist from passing, so if you feel frustrated by a passing motorcyclist, don’t try to get even by blocking them.
In order to make the practice of lane splitting safe, it is going to take an effort from both drivers and riders working together and acting responsibly while on the road. If you are a motorcyclist, and you still have questions about your rights on California’s highways, contact a capable motorcycle accident attorney.
At the Ryan Law Group, we have experience providing dedicated service to Californians injured by someone else’s negligence.