Lane Splitting Is Legal in California

Lane Splitting / Lane Sharing - Legal in California - Road Sign

On August 19th, 2016, the California Legislature passed AB 51, formally defining lane splitting in the California vehicle code and explicitly authorizing the CHP to develop educational guidelines relating to lane splitting. Those guidelines, now called Lane Splitting Safety Tips, were released by the CHP on September 27th, 2018, and contain guidance for both riders and drivers:

Lane Splitting Safety Tips for Motorcyclists

  • Consider the total environment when you are lane splitting. (this includes the width of lanes, the size of surrounding vehicles, as well as current roadway, weather and lighting conditions).
  • Danger increases at higher speed differentials.
  • Danger increases as overall speed increases.
  • It is typically safer to split between the far left lanes than between the other lanes of traffic.
  • Avoid lane splitting next to large vehicles (big rigs, buses, motorhomes, etc.).
  • Riding on the shoulder is illegal; it is not considered lane splitting.
  • Be visible—Avoid remaining in the blind spots of other vehicles or lingering between vehicles.
  • Help drivers see you by wearing brightly colored/reflective protective gear and using high beams during daylight.

Messages for Other Vehicle Drivers

  • Lane splitting by motorcyclists is legal in California.
  • Intentionally blocking or impeding a motorcyclist in a way that could cause harm to the rider is illegal.
  • Opening a vehicle door to impede a motorcyclist is illegal.
  • Drivers in the far left lane should move to the left of their lane to give motorcyclists ample room to pass.

Read the complete CHP Lane Splitting Safety Tips here, and for more information, take a look at our lane splitting resources & links page.

Want to support our efforts? Buy some ‘Share the Lane’ stickers!