Finally! California Highway Patrol Issues Lane Splitting Guidelines

California riders have known for a long time that lane splitting is legal in California. Many riders—especially moto commuters—cite lane sharing as one of the big reasons riding is awesome. But many folks have long seen lane splitting as a gray area. No more – the CHP has issued official lane splitting guidelines!

Lane splitting in a safe and prudent manner is not illegal in the state of California. The term lane splitting, sometimes known as lane sharing, filtering or white-lining, refers to the process of a motorcyclist riding between lanes of stopped or slower moving traffic or moving between lanes to the front of traffic stopped at a traffic light.

Motorcyclists who are competent enough riders to lane split, should follow these general guidelines if choosing to lane split.

  1. Travel at a speed that is no more than 10 MPH faster than other traffic – danger increases at higher speed differentials.
  2. It is not advisable to lane split when traffic flow is at 30 mph or faster – danger increases as overall speed increases.
  3. Typically, it is more desirable to split between the #1 and #2 lanes than between other lanes.
  4. Consider the total environment in which you are splitting, including the width of the lanes, size of surrounding vehicles, as well as roadway, weather, and lighting conditions.
  5. Be alert and anticipate possible movements by other road users.

The Four R’s or “Be-Attitudes” of Lane Splitting:
Be Reasonable, be Responsible, be Respectful, be aware of all Roadway and traffic conditions.

The guidelines are similar to those adopted by many moto commuters. Check out the full California lane splitting guidelines (note: this link has been updated by the CHP to a “Motorcycle Safety Information Update” since the guidelines were taken down).

Big thanks to everyone who pushed for so long to make this happen. As noted in the announcement thread on BARF, “Its been a long time coming. Its taken a lot of arm twisting, arguing, and frustration. But we have taken a huge leap forward.”

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One comment on “Finally! California Highway Patrol Issues Lane Splitting Guidelines
  1. Victor Von says:

    These are CHP GUIDELINES only, not state LAW or California Vehicle Code.

13 Pings/Trackbacks for "Finally! California Highway Patrol Issues Lane Splitting Guidelines"
  1. […] the CHP have just now come out and said lane splitting is legal and ok, and of course there were mentions of the practice in driver’s handbooks – but there […]

  2. […] Safety has joined the California Highway Patrol in promoting lane splitting safety, posting the lane sharing guidelines released by the CHP on the home page. It’s great to see this getting more coverage and buy-in from […]

  3. […] rules unveiled” – by far one of the more balanced pieces on lane sharing since the CHP guidelines were […]

  4. […] launched this website in January in response to the newly published CHP lane splitting guidelines. My original idea was that stickers with the URL would “tell the story” that lane […]

  5. […] on the heels of all the recent attention to the CHP lane splitting guidelines, California State Senator Jim Beall introduced Senate Bill 350, a vaguely worded bill which – […]

  6. […] on the heels of their recently released lane splitting guidelines, the California Highway Patrol has posted a lane splitting PSA video, “Lane Splitting – […]

  7. […] summary, the proponents of AB236 are relying on safety points, data, and the example of the California Highway Patrol lane splitting guidelines to make their case. Some of the opposition seems to be very focused on misconceptions about safety […]

  8. […] Program and the CHP spokesperson who’s been quoted in various articles about the recently released CHP lane splitting guidelines, graciously took some time out this week to answer some questions about the guidelines, lane […]

  9. […] Las Vegas Metropolitan PD was again represented by Brian O’Callahan. LVPD is neutral on AB236, although the Nevada Highway Patrol has spoken negatively of the bill in the media – surprising, given the California Highway Patrols’s support of lane splitting. […]

  10. […] However, the AMA endorses the “concept” of lane splitting and applauds the CHP lane splitting guidelines. […]

  11. […] is drivers blocking riders who are lane splitting. This is explicitly mentioned as illegal in the CHP lane splitting guidelines but unfortunately there is not a significant change in drivers blocking […]

  12. […] need to be good ambassadors for lane splitting and motorcycling in general. Pay attention to the CHP lane splitting guidelines: keep your speed differential reasonable, don’t split when traffic is moving too fast, […]

  13. […] still being finalized, and while everyone expected the new guidelines to look a lot like the original CHP lane splitting guidelines, with recommendations for top speed and speed delta, the updated version will probably be very […]

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