In August 2016, California passed a bill legalizing lane splitting by motorcyclists
when traffic conditions allow for safely doing so. This article will define
lane splitting, discuss the perceived, as well as real world issues a
motorcyclist might face and offer tried and true tips on navigating this
new law and who to turn to if you slip up and violate CA Vehicle Codes
and get ticketed.
How Does Lane Splitting Work?
Lane splitting, also known as lane sharing, white-lining, or filtering,
is not a new practice. Riders all over the world have been doing it for
years. The standard lane width in the United States is twelve feet. The
average car on the road these days comes in around six and a half feet
wide, with an average semi-truck measuring eight feet across at motorcycle
height. This allows for a margin of four to five and a half feet of unused lane.
An experienced biker can safely navigate through this margin, improving
traffic flow, and reducing congestion. Often lane sharing is utilized
when traffic is stopped at a red light or more often in California, a
traffic jam. The motorcyclist uses the extra space alongside stopped traffic
to advance to the front of the line, then proceeds with the normal flow
Impeding Lane Splitting and Safety
As with the operation of any motor vehicle, there is a certain amount of
risk involved, even when done cautiously and legally. Here are a few tips
to keep in mind should you decide lane sharing is a safe and viable option
for current traffic conditions. Take it slow, no more than ten mph above
the cars you are passing and no faster than 30 mph at any time while lane
sharing, regardless of conditions. Be extra vigilant. In most cases the
other drivers will not be expecting you to drive in the lane they are
currently occupying; therefore, you must anticipate what the drivers around
you are most likely to do.
Many drivers will try to squeeze to one side of the lane or another, either
to facilitate your safe passage or to try and block your path. You must
be ready to react instantly while maintaining focus on where you want
to end up, as well as what the drivers surrounding you are doing. You
may have heard stories of drivers opening their car doors to stop or impede
motorcyclists, while such an action is indeed hazardous, it is also illegal
in CA. According to CVC 22517, “No person shall open the door of
a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic…”
Once you begin lane sharing, do not linger in another vehicle’s blind
spot. Either keep moving forward or merge back into the lane and wait
for another opportunity. Never assume the other drivers know what you
are doing. Whenever possible try to make eye contact in the rear-view
mirror with the drivers of the cars you are passing. Do not rely on loud
pipes or bright helmets to announce your presence and always be ready
to move out of the way.
Kern County, CA
If you happen to reside or work in Kern County, home of Edwards Air Force
Base, then you have experienced firsthand the congestion and delays on
I-15 and perhaps I-5 in California. Lane sharing offers a simple solution
to increase traffic flow at no cost to the taxpayers, utilizing resources
already in place. However, many drivers are unfamiliar with the practice
and like anything new, are reluctant to try it. Meanwhile, the residents
of Kern County and the county seat of Bakersfield are fortunate to have
Bigger & Harman, a traffic ticket law firm that provides a free initial
phone consultation, to help navigate these and any other changes to California
In conclusion, remember these three things, lane sharing is legal, only
experienced riders should attempt lane sharing while driving more than
10 or 15 mph, and Bigger & Harman are here to help you with any problems
you might encounter under this new law in Kern, Kings, Tulare, Inyo, Mono,
and other Central Valley counties.
Hire a Kern County Lawyer
Yelp reviews and see what your friends and neighbors are saying about Bigger &
Harman. Such as this: “Got a speeding ticket on a road trip, and
found these guys online, read the reviews and called them. They were very
clear and friendly in their communication and I felt good to take a chance
on fighting the ticket. After the process was over, they got my ticket
dismissed.“ - Geoffrey M., Los Angeles.
When you need assistance with an unsafe lane splitting ticket in Bakersfield,
Bishop, Lamont, Shafter, or another Central Valley county traffic court,
call an expert team of professionals. Call the law office of Bigger &
Harman, 661-349-9300, or email:
firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on this new law read the CHP’s
En español, llame al 661-349-9755.
Happy motoring and stay Safe.