California Highway Patrol posts rules for legal lane-splitting by motorcyclists

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by brieninsac, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. brieninsac

    brieninsac Been here awhile

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    #1
  2. K. L. Rocket

    K. L. Rocket Big bouncy make big happy

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    Thanks for posting, brieninsac. Interesting trend. 'Readers' Digest' version:

    "The guidelines say motorcyclists can ride between two cars if there is room, but must do it at no more than 10 miles per hour faster than the vehicles they are passing.
    The guidelines also make it clear that motorcyclists should not attempt the maneuver at full freeway speeds, or in any traffic going 30 mph or faster. That essentially means the highest speed a motorcyclist should be going when lane-splitting is 39 mph."

    "...the guidelines do not reflect new policy. The CHP has long held that lane-splitting is legal in California because nothing in the state Vehicle Code specifically prohibits it."

    "...the state has engaged UC Berkeley researchers to study motorcycle crashes to reach better conclusions about motorcycling dangers in general, and lane-splitting in particular.
    Depending on the Berkeley study results, the state could adjust its lane-splitting guidelines..."

    "The guidelines note:
    • Inexperienced motorcyclists should not lane-split.
    • On freeways (when traffic has slowed to below 30 mph), motorcyclists should lane-split only between the two fast lanes. The slow lanes are too dangerous because vehicles there switch lanes more often coming from onramps and getting to offramps.
    • Motorcyclists should not lane-split in toll booth queues.
    • Law enforcement officers can, at their discretion, determine that a motorcyclist is lane-splitting unsafely.
    • Other drivers should not try to impede motorcyclists from lane-splitting."

    Full article: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/02/07/5171619/california-highway-patrol-posts.html#storylink=cpy

    CHP Expanded Guidelines: http://www.chp.ca.gov/programs/lanesplitguide.html

    ADV: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=831278
    #2
  3. victor441

    victor441 Long timer

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    thanks, good to know and the rules seem very reasonable to me...have been on my own bike and had others pass me way too close in my lane at 60 plus and did not like that at all
    when I do split lanes it is in 30 or below traffic already
    #3
  4. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    Thanks for posting that!

    The guidelines seem pretty sensible. The only one I hadn't thought about was not lane splitting between the two slowest lanes because of cars entering/exiting the roadway. That makes sense too, and I'll keep that in mind.

    I am a little concerned that they are tasking UC Berkeley with the study. They could very well decide that we must have flowers painted on our bikes to be legal when lane splitting, or that lane splitting hurts someone's feelings or exposes drivers to exhaust noise, and should be outlawed. Seriously.
    #4
  5. DirtRider....

    DirtRider.... Wandering Turtle

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    :deal
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  6. ThirdBestFriend

    ThirdBestFriend Explorer

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    I live right next to Berkeley and can tell you that it's liberal reputation is not what you think. Certain segments of the student body are certainly very liberal, but the University faculty/administration overall is about the same as any other leading institution—Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Penn, you name it.

    tl;dr You have nothing to worry about.
    #6
  7. K. L. Rocket

    K. L. Rocket Big bouncy make big happy

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    Here's the expanded version:

    "Messages for Other Vehicle Drivers
    1) Lane splitting by motorcycles is not illegal in California when done in a safe and prudent manner.
    2) Motorists should not take it upon themselves to discourage motorcyclists from lane splitting.
    3) Intentionally blocking or impeding a motorcyclist in a way that could cause harm to the rider is illegal (CVC 22400).
    4) Opening a vehicle door to impede a motorcycle is illegal (CVC 22517).
    5) Never drive while distracted.
    6) You can help keep motorcyclists and all road users safe by
    • Checking mirrors and blind spots, especially before changing lanes or turning
    • Signaling your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic
    • Allowing more following distance, three or four seconds, when behind a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency"
    http://www.chp.ca.gov/programs/lanesplitguide.html



    These guidelines come after the May 3, 2012 California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) results of the first-ever survey of California motorists and motorcycle riders on the subject of "lane splitting" which stated:

    "Of all drivers surveyed, 7.3% stated that they had tried to prevent a motorcycle from lane spitting."

    "...asked if motorcyclists ever experienced a vehicle trying to prevent them from lane splitting...67.2% of all respondents...mentioned that they had experienced this."

    http://www.ots.ca.gov/Media_and_Research/Press_Room/2012/doc/2012_MC_Lane_Splitting_Survey.pdf
    #7
  8. CA Stu

    CA Stu Thanks Super Moderator

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    Mostly common sense, I reckon. I personally limit myself to about 10-15 over and passing traffic 50 mph or under. Between two fastest lanes only, too

    The MSF course is pretty clear on this. At least the one I took was.

    I will say this, lately I have noticed way more car and truck drivers actively moving over to make more room for me when I lane split here in good old Riverside. It's a really nice thing and quite unexpected.. I try an give them a wave of thanks if it's not too unsafe.

    The other side of that coin was lanesplitting on the I-40 on the outskirts of Albuquerque, NM. I was lucky I didn't get lynched! :eek1
    Hey man, it was hot and I'm from California! Move over! :lol3
    #8
  9. Salsa

    Salsa Been here awhile

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    "about the same as any other leading institution"

    Now I understand -- Very Liberal !!!!!!!!!!!

    Don
    #9
  10. Andrew

    Andrew Optimus Primer Super Moderator

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    So much bullshit. A set of guidelines is not law.

    There is no law in California that sets lane-splitting to be illegal. Go ahead and do it, LEO will pull you over if they have a mind to, and will cite you for whatever they like - unsafe lane change, probably, or excessive speed - if that's the mood they're in.
    #10
  11. K. L. Rocket

    K. L. Rocket Big bouncy make big happy

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    Since "law" has been mentioned, and the survey appears to have led to guidelines, does anyone know if conducting a study is the next step toward changing the law? If not, what is the purpose of the study?

    Also, has there ever been a public awareness campaign to inform California drivers, and those visiting from out of state, that lane splitting is legal here? The survey indicates that obstructionist driver behavior stems from disapproval based on ignorance on the law.
    #11
  12. JeffS77

    JeffS77 cheap bastard

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    I always try to give room when driving my truck when I can..I got a D37 sticky in the back..most dual sport guys give the thumbs up. I usueually wave back:freaky

    Oh and as of this Saturday I will be a born again Riverside resident :lol3 but there is no way I am riding the 91 to work on a bike... I am too chicken :eek1
    #12
  13. Jedi5150

    Jedi5150 Road Warrior

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    As a habitual lanesplitter and an LEO, I can comment on what you wrote with more than a bit of experience. While you are not wrong that an LEO can cite you for something if you are lanespilitting unsafely, it is not super likely. The biggest reason why is public safety. You think I'm joking, but the truth is that if you're lanesplitting, it's because traffic is moving slowly. Driving "code 3" (what lights and sirens is called in California) is dangerous under the best of circumstances. Cops are not very likely to try to part heavy traffic in a Crown Vic to chase after a lane splitting motorcycle. In the 11 years I've been working the streets I have never once pulled over a lane splitting motorcyclist, and I've seen plenty of very reckless ones. It just becomes even more reckless trying to catch the bike. Now if the cop is on a motorcycle, forget everything I just said. :lol3

    As for the "guidelines", keep in mind that the basic speed law needs no posted speed limit to be enforceable. You can cite someone for the basic speed law if they are lanesplitting too agressively simply by articulating why their speed was unsafe for the conditions present. I think CHP put out these guidelines as a way of giving motorcyclists a head's up as to what is generally acceptable...kind of like the yellow "recommended night-time speed for turns" signs. No, they aren't law, but if you go above them you better be able to articulate why driving faster than the recommendation was perfectly safe. :evil

    I almost always get waves in my patrol car from motorcyclists who are lanesplitting because I always swing out to give them more room. I like it when people do it on my bike so I excercize the same respect when not on the bike.
    #13
  14. mike54

    mike54 You don't get me

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    I had a local LEO part heavy traffic with a Blazer up around Grass Valley one time. Traffic was about 10 mph. Some one had called 911 from their car to complain about motorcyclists lane splitting. :lol3 There were about 10 bikes that went by while I was sitting there with the LEO. I got a lecture about how dangerous it was. He was a pretty condesending AH so I just kept my mouth shut and kept repeating fuck you in my head. He let me go after about 15 minutes of lecture with no ticket. :dunno

    My local news showed a canned segment on TV this morning. When it came back to the bimbo announcers they both commented that "I don't know it seems pretty dangerous to me. I don't think it should be allowed." Then proceeded to a story about facebook and social media. Which they are both in favor of. :D

    Jedi5150 - thanks for your service and your consideration. I think we could use some more LEOs that ride.
    #14
  15. Andrew

    Andrew Optimus Primer Super Moderator

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    Thanks for the comments. I realize it's a hair-splitting lane-splitting point... that splitting is in that wonderful grey area of an activity that is not expressly "legal," rather, it's not illegal (not proscribed in the CVC). Therefore, all that can be offered are guidelines and style suggestions. But not "rules."

    I pass officers on bikes and in cruisers all the time, while splitting, and it's very cordial - a friendly wave is often offered, and returned.
    #15
  16. CA Stu

    CA Stu Thanks Super Moderator

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    Welcome back, vato! :D

    Carpool lane, cover the brakes at all times, plan on at least one person a day having their head in the clouds and cutting you off.

    And Andrew is right, the one time I got a ticket it was for unsafe lane change, and I earned it.
    I think the only reason I got the ticket was because there was so much traffic it took 2 miles for the cop to catch up to me. He may have thought I was evading, but I wasn't.
    Big line of cars at stop light, I was about 7-8 cars back, filtering to the front when the light changed to green, I thought "If I gas the shit out of it, I can get out of this pack of cars" so I did. Successfully. And then I caught another pack and kept on it. Oops.
    The only reason he caught me was because I made a left off the main artery into my neighborhood, had to wait in the center lane for oncoming traffic to clear and suddenly there was a cruiser in my mirror with a red faced gentleman at the wheel. "Pull over!" over the PA. :umph
    I didn't complain.
    #16
  17. Hop-Sing

    Hop-Sing Been here awhile

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    What are you all talking about ? What the hell are you doing riding a motorcycle on a road with that many lanes.
    A paved road is pushing it. I tend to stay away from anything with more than 2 lanes. Now if you talking about staying between the two little yellow lines on a good twisty section I understand. it may not be smart but if you want to hone your skills and oncoming traffic is not scary for you, it can be fun.
    #17
  18. eatpasta

    eatpasta Lawnmower Target

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    Damm! Ive always wanted to see how far I could get when there isn't room....

    :dunno

    of course, any GS owner with boxes can tell you.... it does get snug

    :1drink
    #18
  19. Cpt. Ron

    Cpt. Ron Advrider #128

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    The naysayers or civilians who state, "I don't that's safe, so I don't think you should do that" really irk me. Not safe for whom? If you really care about MY safety, check your mirrors before lane changing, use your turn signals, don't turn left in front of me, and don't attempt to prevent me from doing something that is perfectly legal. They're just pissed/jealous that we can do this.

    I think a new study is in order. The Hurt Report is outdated. But it did show that the majority of accidents involving motorcycles and other vehicles were the result of the other vehicle violating the motorcyclist's right-of-way. And not only is a study in order, but a campaign to explain the safety and merits of lane sharing, along with acceptable guidelines. I'm not sure if I'm in favor of what the CHP has posted, but I can understand that it's a start. There are definitely more wrong than right ways to do it safely.

    I do fear, however, that these posted guidelines are the first step to tougher enforcement and/or limits to lane sharing.
    #19
  20. mikerd400

    mikerd400 Long timer

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    Not one thing has been said to road patrol officers about lane splitting enforcement. This came from public affairs about all the questions the CHP gets about lane splitting.
    #20