In October 2012, the CHP clarified its position on the legality of lane splitting in California, issuing official lane splitting guidelines for riders and messages for drivers. Here’s what the CHP says to motorists:
- Lane splitting by motorcycles is not illegal in California when done in a safe and prudent manner.
- Motorists should not take it upon themselves to discourage motorcyclists from lane splitting.
- 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).
- Never drive while distracted.
- You can help keep motorcyclists and all road users safe by:
- Checking mirrors and blind spots, especially before changing lanes or turning
- Signaling your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
- Allowing more following distance, three or four seconds, when behind a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
In simple terms – pay attention while you’re driving, don’t be a jerk and keep an eye out for motorcyclists and other vehicles. Oh, and please stop texting while driving before you kill someone.
- CHP lane splitting quick guide.
- Lane Splitting General Guidelines (Expanded Version) or download the PDF version.