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Old 07-26-2013, 10:13 AM   #1
150ron OP
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Lane splitting to the front of a red light, legal?

So i know lane splitting is legal here in Cali, just no sure about this one question i have.

Lets say im coming up on a red light, 2 or 3 lanes going in my direction, all of them have like 5-7 or so cars allready stopped at the red light, im coming up from behind, can i lane split all the way to the front, get a bit a head of all the stopped cars, then take off and be first once the light turns green?

Is that legal?

We all do it anyways , was just wondering if that was a part of the legal lane splitting thing out there,

thanks.
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Old 07-26-2013, 10:31 AM   #2
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Not in California myself, but envy your lane splitting laws. Per CHP website:

Lane splitting in a safe and prudent manner is not illegal in the state of California.

The term lane splitting, sometimes known as lane sharing, filtering or white-lining, refers to the process of a motorcyclist riding between lanes of stopped or slower moving traffic or moving between lanes to the front of traffic stopped at a traffic light.

http://www.chp.ca.gov/programs/lanesplitguide.html
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Old 07-26-2013, 10:32 AM   #3
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Lane splitting is not illegal in CA. It must be done in a prudent manner.

Intentionally blocking or impeding a motorcyclist in a way that could cause harm to the rider is illegal (CVC 22400).

Opening a vehicle door to impede a motorcycle is illegal (CVC 22517).
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Old 07-26-2013, 10:38 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 150ron View Post
Is that legal?
YES

Quote:
Originally Posted by 150ron View Post
Lets say im coming up on a red light, 2 or 3 lanes going in my direction, all of them have like 5-7 or so cars allready stopped at the red light, im coming up from behind, can i lane split all the way to the front, get a bit a head of all the stopped cars, then take off and be first once the light turns green?
That's why we do it
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Old 07-26-2013, 10:41 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 150ron View Post
So i know lane splitting is legal here in Cali, just no sure about this one question i have.

Lets say im coming up on a red light, 2 or 3 lanes going in my direction, all of them have like 5-7 or so cars allready stopped at the red light, im coming up from behind, can i lane split all the way to the front, get a bit a head of all the stopped cars, then take off and be first once the light turns green?

Is that legal?

We all do it anyways , was just wondering if that was a part of the legal lane splitting thing out there,

thanks.
Yes, you can do exactly that. There are a couple of considerations, though.

The new guidelines recommend you go between the two fastest lanes. Presumably, this is because cars tend to make last minute lane changes in the slower lanes, so that space is more dangerous. If there are only 2 lanes, you can still split them. Also, you can't travel up either side shoulder, only between lanes.

The other thing to watch is stale red lights. If it has been red a while, you might get half way up the line of stopped cars when the light turns green, and get squished between them.
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Old 07-26-2013, 10:52 AM   #6
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I do it everyday, past LE, etc. never been warned or ticketed.

do it between lanes going straight. don't use shoulder/right lane or b/t #1 and left turning lane(s).
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Old 07-26-2013, 11:07 AM   #7
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Yes, you can do exactly that. There are a couple of considerations, though.

The new guidelines recommend you go between the two fastest lanes. Presumably, this is because cars tend to make last minute lane changes in the slower lanes, so that space is more dangerous. If there are only 2 lanes, you can still split them. Also, you can't travel up either side shoulder, only between lanes.

The other thing to watch is stale red lights. If it has been red a while, you might get half way up the line of stopped cars when the light turns green, and get squished between them.
Great, thanks a lot guys, that is good to know, i was not sure about it, been doing it but watching out for cops, now that i know its legal to go between stopped cars to the front, ill be at ease.


Lets say the light has been red for a while, and while im heading towards the front it turns green, so now i have 5 cars a head of me still, and im in the middle (white lines) between the cars, what is the best choice of action to do in this situation?

speed up and make it to the front, pass everybody, or slow down and get between those cars?
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Old 07-26-2013, 11:42 AM   #8
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Lets say the light has been red for a while, and while im heading towards the front it turns green, so now i have 5 cars a head of me still, and im in the middle (white lines) between the cars, what is the best choice of action to do in this situation?

slow down and get between those cars?

Varies, but that's what I usually do. Slow or stop, let the line start to move and take a space in line with everybody else.
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Old 07-26-2013, 12:08 PM   #9
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I agree. I would try to merge back into the line of cars. You may experience angry drivers who don't like lane splitting and try to block you, in which case I would look for another space rather than fight them.

Trying to make it to the front might be an option if you are close enough, but cars sometimes weave back and forth as they accelerate, so your space could close unexpectedly.
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Old 07-26-2013, 01:58 PM   #10
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At a BMW years back, they head the head CHP Moto instructor there to give a little lecture. He stongly advised splitting lanes especially in this situation because at a stopped light the most dangerous place to be is behind a car with no escape. if you are between the cars, you can't be reended. And as always, everyone has their opinions and they think should or shouldn't do. Its upto your comfort level that should determine how and when you split lanes. If you are uncomfortable doing it, don't do it. If you get a ticket, it will most likely be from a motocop. They can tell when you are competent or not. In my experience, you can split at just about anyspeed under the limit, if you are comfortable and smooth and are not weaving back and forth, they will generally leave you alone or maybe wave a finger at you. If you are weaving back and forth changing lines and lanes, you'll get a ticket even at a slow speed.
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Old 07-26-2013, 02:21 PM   #11
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speed up and make it to the front, pass everybody, or slow down and get between those cars?
yes
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Old 07-26-2013, 02:51 PM   #12
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I got a ticket for splitting lanes to the front of a line of cars at red light several years ago. (CHP in a car)

I challenged it in court because it's something most of us have been doing for a couple decades.

The cop swore that he'd never seen it and that he had a motorcycle license and never done it.

I mentioned to the judge that everyone had seen it and it's a common action by bikes that is intended to get vulnerable bikes away from the threatening situation of being surrounded by cars.

I lost...but I think the judge knew that the cop was full of shit.

Which I considered worth the effort.
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Old 07-26-2013, 02:57 PM   #13
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The new guidelines recommend you go between the two fastest lanes.
So which lanes are the fastest when all of the cars are stopped at a traffic light?

Nearly all of my lane splitting is at traffic lights to get to the front. If you can't get across the intersection before the cars, you probably have no business riding a motorcycle. I watch the traffic signals for the other directions so that I know when my direction is about to turn green, then I make sure nobody is coming through on a stale yellow. If it's safe, then I take off and am usually crossing the far crosswalk before any of the cars have even made it to the middle of the intersection.

When pulling to the front, I'll only pull up until the front of my front wheel is even with the crosswalk stripe. No point in blocking the crosswalk. And as long as nobody in the cars next to me is talking on a cell phone are playing loud music, I keep the bike at idle until I get a green light. No point in annoying innocent cagers. However, those guilty of illegally talking on cell phones might get the full annoying engine revving treatment.

It's generally frowned upon to split where there is a solid while line, like between two turn lanes, but I'll do it once in a while for special cases, like yesterday when I passed about 10 total cars to not be stuck behind them all in a section of roadway where the car drivers often seem confused. Some guy on a Harley wearing a Yankees sweatshirt and playing loud music split up the outside at the same time (I would never do that). I ended up way ahead of him until he started riding on the shoulder, then went down the center turn lane for half a block. I at least try to follow the rules for the most part.

Anyway, at traffic lights I pick the lane that looks like it has the most room, go up to the front, try not to annoy anybody, then move out ahead of traffic once I determine that it's safe to do so. You should be able to do that pretty much anywhere in California without worrying about being stopped for doing it.
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:08 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stinez View Post
I got a ticket for splitting lanes to the front of a line of cars at red light several years ago. (CHP in a car)

I challenged it in court because it's something most of us have been doing for a couple decades.

The cop swore that he'd never seen it and that he had a motorcycle license and never done it.

I mentioned to the judge that everyone had seen it and it's a common action by bikes that is intended to get vulnerable bikes away from the threatening situation of being surrounded by cars.

I lost...but I think the judge knew that the cop was full of shit.

Which I considered worth the effort.
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Old 07-26-2013, 04:00 PM   #15
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We were nearing the end of our Arctic Circle ride back to AZ and my clutch was starting to fail. We were hitting the superslab through California and came upon miles of stopped traffic. Stop and go traffic was not something I wanted to see. I then remembered it was legal to split lanes in Kalifornia

What a relief!,... and what a RUSH it was splitting miles and miles of traffic on my fully loaded 990 with the Gobi hard bags.

It has to be legal there or there is no way I would ever ride a bike on the slabs.
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