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Discussion Starter #1
Was looking up the whole aspect of motorcycling in USA and as I was aware of the fact that only California allows lane splitting, I wanted to find out how this law came into existence given that no other state adopted this law. I did not find anything from official sources, but apparently this has got to do with Hollywood.
One of my close friends who works for an movie editing company told me that after a movie was shot in the grand ole dame days long before I or possibly my father was born, the film roll would be rushed to the studios for editing. The film rolls would be carried on motorcycles for ease of convenience, lesser traffic, etc, etc. Mostly due to time restrictions, motorcycles cut through traffic and split lanes.This practice stayed on well through the decades before it got ratified by CHP and California law.

The version more known to Californians is that CHP implemented it for their moto-cops so that they could go thru traffic, not idle and fry their legs due to bike heating.

I am sure members on this forum can provide some more sources. :popcorn:
 

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mv4avi said:
Was looking up the whole aspect of motorcycling in USA and as I was aware of the fact that only California allows lane splitting, I wanted to find out how this law came into existence given that no other state adopted this law. I did not find anything from official sources, but apparently this has got to do with Hollywood.
One of my close friends who works for an movie editing company told me that after a movie was shot in the grand ole dame days long before I or possibly my father was born, the film roll would be rushed to the studios for editing. The film rolls would be carried on motorcycles for ease of convenience, lesser traffic, etc, etc. Mostly due to time restrictions, motorcycles cut through traffic and split lanes.This practice stayed on well through the decades before it got ratified by CHP and California law.

The version more known to Californians is that CHP implemented it for their moto-cops so that they could go thru traffic, not idle and fry their legs due to bike heating.

I am sure members on this forum can provide some more sources. :popcorn:
Though commonly practiced and often tolerated by CHP, lane splitting is NOT legal in California.
 

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This is all I could find on the CHP's website:
Can motorcycle riders "split" lanes and ride between other vehicles?

Lane splitting by motorcycles is permissible but must be done in a safe and prudent manner.
My understanding is it was a gray area and if you are involved in an accident, you are at a fault since the primary occupant has a legal right to the legal from dividing line to dividing line.

As for the origins, I couldn't find anything.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hmm,
CHP hand book says "Lane splitting by motorcycles is permissible but must be done in a safe and prudent manner". It used to say before that the max speed for motorcycles was 10 mph more than speed of traffic, but below the speed limit. That writing has been removed.

And lane splitting is legal in California. There has been a study by a USC professor named Harry Hurt. His famous "Hurt Report" showed that lane splitting is safer compared to sandwiched between 2 cars in traffic. CHP also testified against a bill that would have baned lane splitting
 

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It is here! :)
 

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I thought it was techinically called "lane sharing".
In AZ you can ride the right side in stopped traffic to avoid overheating, but I never do, talk about a death wish (though I do lane split occasionally).
 

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I asked a CHP officer about this. He told me lane splitting is permissible if done in a "safe and prudent manner" as stated above. He expanded upon this by adding that there shouldn't be an excessive speed differential and if the traffic is moving at some arbitrary speed (like 30mph or so) the motorcyclist should blend back into traffic. Also, he said never ride to the left of a double yellow line (duh!) and don't attempt to pass on the right shoulder. At stop lights with a line of traffic he said motorcycles can move to the front of the line.

He said the CHP's mandate was to keep the traffic moving in a safe manner; if they can keep motorcycles moving and avoid overheating issues, that is their directive.

Makes a lot of sense to me. I do it when in California and wish I could do it here in AZ. In the summer time a motorcyclist who is prudent enough to wear protective gear (i.e. helmet, boots, jacket and gloves) risks overheating himself as well as his motorcycle.
 

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When it comes to lane-sharing in North America, California is Mecca. In fact, if you want to get anywhere on a motorcycle in the Los Angeles basin, avoiding lane-sharing is not an option. The practice of lane-sharing has been allowed for decades. Yet, contrary to popular belief, there is no California statute permitting the practice. On the other hand, there’s no law stating you can’t lane-share. In other words, lane-sharing is not legal, but rather not illegal in the Golden State.



Perhaps a matter of semantics for some, this is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it allows some flexibility in the use of lane-sharing. On the other hand, it leaves it up to the discretion of the Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) and his/her opinion whether your brand of lane-sharing is “reasonable and prudent“.



The generally “understood” guidelines seem to be:
-Travel no faster than 10 mph faster than the vehicles you’re lane-sharing with.
-Merge back in with the traffic when they reach 30-35 mph.
-Never exceed the speed limit.
-Lane-sharing between lanes #1 and #2 is preferred. (#1 being the “fast” or “inside” lane)
-Stay, more or less, in one lane or the other. Excessive meandering might get you cited. (CA code 21658)


Add to this a few other pointers:
-Be a competent rider before attempting the practice.
-Be prepared to adjust your speed as necessary.
-Cover your brake and clutch to reduce reaction time.
-Avoid lane-sharing between two large trucks.
-Be wary of open spaces inviting a vehicle to change lanes.
-Be vigilant of other vehicle operator’s head movements indicative of an impending lane change.
-Check your mirrors and be prepared to move over for overtaking motorcycles behind you.
-When in doubt, wait for a CHP motor patrol officer and follow him/her.
(You might have to travel a bit faster than 10mph to keep up.)



When an incident occurs between the lane-sharing motorcyclist and another vehicle, it’s not always the motorcyclist who gets cited. It’s up to the LEO to decide who was at fault (back to the double-edged sword). For instance, if the lane-changing vehicle didn’t signal the change properly, that operator could be cited for violating CA code 22107. On the other hand, if the motorcyclist was deemed to be traveling at too great a speed for the situation, CA code 22350 would be used to cite the rider.



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California laws used to govern lane-sharing:


California code 22350
No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.

California code 21658
Whenever any roadway has been divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic in one direction, the following rules apply:
(a) A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practical entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from the lane until such movement can be made with reasonable safety.
(b) Official signs may be erected directing slow-moving traffic to use a designated lane or allocating specified lanes to traffic moving in the same direction, and drivers of vehicles shall obey the directions of the traffic device.

California code 22107
No person shall turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left upon a roadway until such movement can be made with reasonable safety and then only after the giving of an appropriate signal in the manner provided in this chapter in the event any other vehicle may be affected by the movement.
 

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awiner said:
When it comes to lane-sharing in North America, California is Mecca. In fact, if you want to get anywhere on a motorcycle in the Los Angeles basin, avoiding lane-sharing is not an option. The practice of lane-sharing has been allowed for decades. Yet, contrary to popular belief, there is no California statute permitting the practice. On the other hand, there’s no law stating you can’t lane-share. In other words, lane-sharing is not legal, but rather not illegal in the Golden State.



Perhaps a matter of semantics for some, this is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it allows some flexibility in the use of lane-sharing. On the other hand, it leaves it up to the discretion of the Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) and his/her opinion whether your brand of lane-sharing is “reasonable and prudent“.



The generally “understood” guidelines seem to be:
-Travel no faster than 10 mph faster than the vehicles you’re lane-sharing with.
-Merge back in with the traffic when they reach 30-35 mph.
-Never exceed the speed limit.
-Lane-sharing between lanes #1 and #2 is preferred. (#1 being the “fast” or “inside” lane)
-Stay, more or less, in one lane or the other. Excessive meandering might get you cited. (CA code 21658)


Add to this a few other pointers:
-Be a competent rider before attempting the practice.
-Be prepared to adjust your speed as necessary.
-Cover your brake and clutch to reduce reaction time.
-Avoid lane-sharing between two large trucks.
-Be wary of open spaces inviting a vehicle to change lanes.
-Be vigilant of other vehicle operator’s head movements indicative of an impending lane change.
-Check your mirrors and be prepared to move over for overtaking motorcycles behind you.
-When in doubt, wait for a CHP motor patrol officer and follow him/her.
(You might have to travel a bit faster than 10mph to keep up.)



When an incident occurs between the lane-sharing motorcyclist and another vehicle, it’s not always the motorcyclist who gets cited. It’s up to the LEO to decide who was at fault (back to the double-edged sword). For instance, if the lane-changing vehicle didn’t signal the change properly, that operator could be cited for violating CA code 22107. On the other hand, if the motorcyclist was deemed to be traveling at too great a speed for the situation, CA code 22350 would be used to cite the rider.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


California laws used to govern lane-sharing:


California code 22350
No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.

California code 21658
Whenever any roadway has been divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic in one direction, the following rules apply:
(a) A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practical entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from the lane until such movement can be made with reasonable safety.
(b) Official signs may be erected directing slow-moving traffic to use a designated lane or allocating specified lanes to traffic moving in the same direction, and drivers of vehicles shall obey the directions of the traffic device.

California code 22107
No person shall turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left upon a roadway until such movement can be made with reasonable safety and then only after the giving of an appropriate signal in the manner provided in this chapter in the event any other vehicle may be affected by the movement.
Many thanks for an excellent summary of what remains a disturbingly grey area of California law.
 

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Mainly, california didn't enact a law to ALLOW it, they just didn't ban it :)

It's mainly not splitting, but lane SHARING. You are allowed to share a lane with a vehicle on the left or right side, etc. Cars have the responsibility to make lane changes and such in a safe manner, and therefore must look out for riders and bicyclists on either side!

Love california..
 

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Lane sharing is pretty much mandatory in the UK. In fact as I recall I was taught to actively split lanes by my instructor (who was a bike cop). If you don't then you're not considered to be making orderly progress, (or something like that), and can be marked against in the test.

Perhaps State legislators should consider the green angle when it comes to lane splitting? In the UK we're all encouraged to find more economical ways to commute, and while the government would rather we take the train or bus (yeah, right..) scooters and motorcycles are encouraged in many cities as an alternative to cars.

While the fuel economy, tyre usage, etc. of a sportsbike versus a car are debatable when taken at face value, when you consider the amount of time that you're not stuck in queuing traffic, and are able to filter between it, your journey time and petrol consumed is appreciably less. Perhaps some motorcycle lobby groups in the US (if there are any, we have MAG and the BMF in the UK) should start campaigning for lane splitting on this ground.

What I think would take longer to implement than a change in law though, would be a change in attitude of car drivers to motorcycles doing this. While most of the traffic in the UK will pull over slightly to allow a filtering bike to get through, you still see the occasional git trying instead to block your path, (and actually intentionally hindering the flow of traffic, which has dubious legality). I suspect many North American drivers might react similarly (or more aggressivle) for a good few years before public perception of the practice had matured.

Si
 

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I unfortunately feel that it may take more than a few years. The best example is shown when over half the people will not pull to the right when a car traveling faster approaches from behind. In the US you get the finger or a brake check and through most of the parts of Europe I have driven, people hastily get out of your way. Heck even in the the ghostrider video, the people who saw him quickly enough pulled over for that lunatic!!!!
 

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mvcorse said:
I unfortunately feel that it may take more than a few years. The best example is shown when over half the people will not pull to the right when a car traveling faster approaches from behind. In the US you get the finger or a brake check and through most of the parts of Europe I have driven, people hastily get out of your way. Heck even in the the ghostrider video, the people who saw him quickly enough pulled over for that lunatic!!!!

John you make a good point. I just don't know what it is about American drivers and their sense of oblivion as to what's occurring behind them or their outright need to hinder your progression. I like to call it the "champion of small victories syndrome"
I was first exposed to the European style of driving while on the autoroute in France with my father-in-law. He traveled at higher speeds in the fast left lane and was never obstructed. Occasionally he had to flash the high-beams. He would NEVER have to pass on the right. Back in the states, I had the opportunity to show him our style...passing on the right, frequent lane changes, etc. He was extremely uncomfortable with my driving to say the least. Daily encounters with champs of small victories. Another beautiful thing about my travel experience in France is right lane usage by 16 wheelers at a reasonable speed. In the States, it's not uncommon to see a 16 wheeler barreling down the highway in the left lane at 90 mph.
In New York and New Jersey lane splitting is illegal, I believe. However, nearly all of us do it. Making it legal would certainly make the commute less stressful.
 

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Heh, champs of small victories, that's a perfect way to put it! Since I'm driving my diesel truck back and forth these days, mostly I'm just cruising so I don't notice much of this (other than the "fast lane" occupiers).

On the bike I see it all the time though, people getting in front of you, not letting you around, etc.

I lived in California a few years, and forgot that lane splitting is illegal in Arizona and I did it and got stopped. That was before I changed my California plates and the officer was on a bike and was nice enough to explain the rules to me after seeing the CA plate. No ticket.

If I remember it right, the only thing we have in Arizona that is similar is the right lane turn thing as was previously mentioned, but I think we have another law that states you can't pass a stationary vehicle in a travel lane at some speed higher than 15 or 25 mph or something. So you have to go slow. Which is a good idea because rarely you'll get a door opening from the "champs of small victories".

I don't know. I don't do it. If the bike is getting hot sometimes I will use the right lane exit thing just to get some air moving, but otherwise I'm pretty patient.
 

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I wonder how difficult it would be to get this law passed in Florida, with the Hurt report, and other various statistics showing it's safer to lane split/share than be stuck between two cars in traffic. Seeing as how this is the only state, besides AZ and CA where you can pretty much ride year round, I wouldn't see why it would be difficult to get it allowed with the right person at the helm fighting for it..
 
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