Is Lane Splitting Legal in California? [2024]

Is Lane Splitting Legal in California?

 Lane splitting is pretty much driving between two lanes of traffic, and it can be a controversial topic, with both supporters and critics voicing their opinions. 

Advocates argue that it can help reduce traffic congestion, improve overall traffic flow, and provide motorcyclists with a safer alternative to sitting in traffic. Critics, on the other hand, raise concerns about potential safety risks, such as increased accidents or conflicts with other drivers.

Is Lane Splitting Legal in California

Yes, lane splitting in California is indeed legal. If anything, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has provided some tips for safe and responsible lane splitting to ensure the well-being of both motorcyclists and other road users.

For example, it’s advised to travel at a safe and prudent speed while lane splitting, typically no more than 10 mph faster than the surrounding traffic. Motorcyclists should also be cautious of drivers who might not anticipate their presence and should avoid lane splitting in certain situations, such as when traffic is moving at high speeds.

California Lane Splitting Law

In 2016, California became the first state in America to formally legalize lane splitting. The California Vehicle Code Section 21658.1(a) permits motorcycle riders to split lanes in a responsible and safe manner.

However, it’s important to note that the law does not provide specific details on what constitutes safe and prudent lane splitting. For instance, motorcyclists are advised to lane split, preferably when the traffic is moving at speeds of 30 mph or below.

Read Is Lane Splitting Legal In Montana?

Is Motorcycle Lane Splitting Legal in California

Is Lane Splitting Legal in California?

Here’s the deal with motorcycle lane splitting in California. It’s actually legal, which means motorcyclists are allowed to do it under certain circumstances. According to the legislation, lane splitting is permitted as long as it is done safely and sensibly.

The thing is, they don’t give you an exact definition of what “safe and smart” means, so it’s a bit open to interpretation.

Tip: It’s also a good idea to stick to the two leftmost lanes and stay alert for any potential hazards.

Why is Lane Splitting Only Legal in California?

The huge number of motorbikes on California’s highways, particularly in crowded metropolitan areas, is one of the primary causes of legalized lane splitting in California. Policymakers intended to solve traffic congestion, lower the chance of motorcycle rear-end crashes, and improve traffic flow efficiency by enabling lane splitting.

In fact, lane splitting by motorcycles has been linked to a decreased chance of being rear-ended by other cars, according to a study from the University of California, Berkeley.

Can You Lane Split at a Red Light in California?

Is Lane Splitting Legal in California?

Lane splitting at a red light is prohibited in California. Whether you’re driving a vehicle or a motorbike, the same laws apply when you come across a red light. So, just like everyone else, you must completely stop as you approach a red light. In California, it’s against the law to lane split and accelerate past a red light.

When the traffic has begun to move, and the light has turned green, you can resume lane splitting if it is safe to do so. However, everyone must wait their turn at thered lights. The key focus is on keeping things organized and making sure that everyone is on the same page. So, remember to follow the rules of the road, stop at red lights, and wait for that green light before you start lane splitting again.

JD Lipton