A Lane-Splitting Update from California

California Lane Splitting Update

Bill on Hold for One More Year

That California lane splitting bill that took seven years to become a bill has once again hit a roadblock. It has been stalled in the California state legislature.

The bill is on hold for a year while the state’s lawmakers try to figure out how to roll it out and implement it. Lane-splitting currently falls into a legal gray area, so a lot of riders in California already do it without fear of being pulled over. If the bill does become law once the legislators figure out the details, California will be the first state to make lane-splitting legal.

Lane-splitting has been a debated topic, with people who oppose its legalization worrying about how safe it is for motorcycles to weave between cars on the highway. People in this case are typically thinking of those riders who irresponsibly fly down the highway at 135 miles per hour, clipping side-view mirrors and putting everybody else at risk. Clearly this type of behavior on the road would never be allowed, even if the lane-splitting law is passed. But many people have witnessed this form of “lane-splitting,” and therefore have a negative opinion of it becoming legal.

However, proponents of the practice actually praise the way it improves rider safety in traffic, as many riders fear being rear-ended in heavy traffic.
UC Berkeley is known for its long-term studies of motorcycle safety and lane splitting. The university released a study earlier this year that found that lane splitting is safe if done at low enough speeds and if riders aren’t traveling significantly faster than other traffic. The report detailed that lane splitting is safe if traffic is moving at no more than 50 mph, and if the motorcycle splits lanes while going no more than 15 mph faster than the traffic. The report specifically indicated that, “a significant number of motorcyclists lane-split in fast-moving traffic or at excessive speed differentials. These riders could lower their risk of injury by restricting the environments in which they lane-split and by reducing their speed differential when they do choose to lane-split.”

Washington riders were affected by a law earlier this year that legalized “modified lane splitting,” which essentially means that riders can pass traffic in the left of the leftmost lane to avoid being stopped in traffic. Eagle Leather is currently planning an event with state senators that would give members of our riding community a chance to have all their lane-splitting questions answered!

Let us know what you think about lane-splitting any time on the Eagle Leather Facebook Page!

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