Lane splitting now legal in California


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/08/19/lane-splitting-now-legal-in-ca.html


#2

What do you think, @jlw, since you ride? Do you typically lane-split at speeds in excess of 50 mph, all else being equal?

I don’t ride, but I also don’t think I’d lane-split at that speed. If nothing else, I’m not at all confident that neighboring car and truck drivers can be trusted not to encroach, since I don’t think most of them typically would expect a motorcyclist to be lane-splitting when the traffic is actually moving along okay.


#3

This should only be allowed for cyclists who are registered organ donors.


#5

Since when is something only legal if there is a law allowing it? Last I checked, unless something was illegal, it was legal.


#7

There are often catch-all “Dangerous driving” laws.

This law makes clear that lane-splitting safely is not dangerous driving.


#8

I always thought that was legal there.


#9

I think you meant to say “I ride and I don’t like to lane split above 20mph”. As it is, your statement implies certainty over what is, at best, subjective.

And yes, I lane split well above 20mph, and I am comfortable doing so.


#10

The guy taking the video is an utter moron. All it would take is one person changing lanes suddenly, and he’d be paste.


#11

Because the previous law left it to an officer’s discretion. If he decided you were breaking a law, you were. That’s not a good situation for anyone but the cops. Now there are specific guidlines.


#12

If it had ever gone very far in court, that rule would have been struck down on “void of vagueness” grounds. Glad there’s a firmer rule. I don’t ride, I have no interest in riding, but lane-splitting just doesn’t seem to bother me like it does some folks.


#13

I lane split. 50mph would scare me. I don’t think I need to do it in moving traffic, just stand stills.


#15

For me the hazard is more about relative speed. I feel fine passing, say, 50 MPH highway traffic at 60 MPH. The general practice of lane sharing requires additional skill and concentration over riding in general. For example you need to be sensitive to openings in either lane where a driver might be tempted to move over. You look for how people are positioned in each lane, to make sure there is enough space. Splitting for many miles through major Sigalert traffic has been mentally draining but worthwhile to me.

I always feel safer moving gently through traffic rather than maintaining a position. I get more control over my space boundaries. Could be illusory but it feels like better control for me. Stop and go is no-brainier safer to split rather than be rear ended by an inattentive driver. Oh, and I’m riding this way in CA for nearly 30 years now with no impacts while splitting.


#16

Sounds like a prudent approach. I’ve never been bothered by lane-splitters, but I’d be startled (and possibly annoyed) if somebody did it next to me at something approaching freeway speeds.


#17

When I rode, I would almost exclusively lane split when the other cars were essentially stationary; basically when approaching red lights, or when there was a traffic jam.

At the same time, it isn’t hard to imagine a world like Taipei where EVERYONE is on a scooter/bike and suddenly lane splitting takes on an ominous swarm vibe.

Basically, I feel lane splitting is a privelige accorded to motorcyclists by their relative lack of presence on roadways. It would be a shame to screw that up.


#18

Oh jeez one of the worst examples still sticks in my head from a road trip with the family to LA… it was well into the evening and traffic was actually moving at the speed limit or faster and some idiots zoom by splitting lanes at easily 100mph.
As it is I can’t legally do it in WA and the stupid bots dots that are everywhere here would make it annoying.


#19

Indeed.


#20

As a non-rider, I’m not against lane splitting, but on the east coast, around Baltimore/DC, I’d advise against it at any speed. Drivers here don’t give a fuck about other drivers, and motorcycles don’t exist in their eyes. Turn signals are a sign of weakness, and the element of surprise is often the only way to effect a lane change. Cyclists beware.

As a side note, organ recipients generally prefer organs whole and functional, so I’m not sure the organ donor requirement would be all that useful.


#21

California, Schmalifornia, that video was taken on Georgia 400 / US-19, some miles north of Atlanta.


#22

It’s an interesting distinction.

Before the aforementioned law, lane-splitting was “legal” but not “lawful.” This makes it lawful, meaning the law removes the ambiguity.


#23

For me, legalities aside, it depends on terrain. On a flat black-top without much traffic I’ll lane-split up to about 35 mph. In a residential area with a lot of signage and cross-streets, I won’t do it over about 20 mph.

Indeed, it’s often safer for both the rider and the surrounding motorists.

Sometimes this is an argument for lane-splitting, as it allows us to be seen and get ahead of drivers oblivious to us. That said, it should always be done cautiously. That said, so should everything you do on bike.