Contrary to the beliefs of many people in California, it is not illegal for motorcycles to lane split, meaning to pass between cars in adjoining lanes of a roadway. According to the Los Angeles Times, a survey found that 78% of motorcyclists admit to lane splitting. In order to help prevent California motorcycle accidents, the CHP has issued guidelines for motorcycle riders to follow when lane splitting.
First, the most important thing is that any lane splitting be done safely. Then, when lane splitting, the motorcyclist should not exceed 10 miles per hour over the speed of the traffic he or she is passing. Next, when traffic is flowing at more than 30 miles per hour, the motorcyclist should not split lanes. Finally, the motorcyclist should use the area between lane number 1 and lane number 2 when splitting lanes.
It is important to note that the above guidelines are not the law. Motorcyclists may get a ticket if they are deemed to be driving recklessly, even though they are following the CHP guidelines. Steve Guderian, of ABATE, the American Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education, argues that lane splitting should be called “lane sharing” and when driving in traffic, a lane splitting motorcyclist is actually less likely to get into a California motorcycle accident, by a rate of over two to one, compared to vehicles that are not lane splitting.