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Old 02-07-2013, 10:30 AM   #1
brieninsac OP
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California Highway Patrol posts rules for legal lane-splitting by motorcyclists

I read this in today's paper and thought I'd share it here for my fellow CA riders.

http://www.sacbee.com/2013/02/07/517...rol-posts.html
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:57 AM   #2
K. L. Rocket
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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/2013/02/07/517...#storylink=cpy

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

ADV: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=831278
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:52 PM   #3
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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

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Old 02-07-2013, 01:36 PM   #4
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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.
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Old 02-07-2013, 02:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K. L. Rocket View Post
• Other drivers should not try to impede motorcyclists from lane-splitting."
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:24 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by High Country Herb View Post
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.
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.
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:45 PM   #7
K. L. Rocket
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtRider.... View Post
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_Rese...ing_Survey.pdf
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Old 02-07-2013, 05:39 PM   #8
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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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by K. L. Rocket View Post
"...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."
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!
Hey man, it was hot and I'm from California! Move over!
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:45 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by ThirdBestFriend View Post
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.
"about the same as any other leading institution"

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

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Old 02-07-2013, 07:58 PM   #10
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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.
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:48 PM   #11
K. L. Rocket
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Originally Posted by Andrew View Post
A set of guidelines is not law.
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.
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:29 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by CA Stu View Post

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.

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

Oh and as of this Saturday I will be a born again Riverside resident but there is no way I am riding the 91 to work on a bike... I am too chicken
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Old 02-08-2013, 01:00 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Andrew View Post
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.
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.

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.

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.
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:08 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Jedi5150 View Post
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.

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.

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.
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. 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.

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.

Jedi5150 - thanks for your service and your consideration. I think we could use some more LEOs that ride.
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:15 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Jedi5150 View Post
As a habitual lanesplitter and an LEO, I can comment on what you wrote with more than a bit of experience.
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.
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