California Motorcycle Lane Splitting


California Motorcycle Lane Splitting

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento motorcycle accident injury attorney. California is the only state in the United States that allows motorcycle lane-splitting.  Lane-splitting is considered a gray area in the state by authorities. Assembly Bill 51, will make it legal if carried out in a certain manner.

Assembly Bill 51

Assembly Bill 51 is the assembly bill that grants legality for the preexisting motorcycle lane-splitting law for motorcyclists that safely follow the code of conduct. The bill will allow the California Highway Patrol to create a set of guidelines for motorcyclists, drivers and passengers to abide by to ensure the safety for all motorists on the roadway. The bill will also require the department be in charge of developing educational guidelines with input from other state and safety organizations concerned with motorcyclist behavior and road safety.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics

In a motorcycle accident study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for 2013, 4,668 motorcyclists were fatally injured in traffic accident collisions. Out of those 4,668 motorcyclists, 94% (4,399) were riders and 6% (269) were passengers on the motorcycle. In total for 2013, motorcyclists accounted for approximately 14% of all traffic collision fatalities.

Motorcycle Lane Splitting Violations

Motorcyclists are not the only drivers that can be held accountable for the lane-splitting laws in California. The California Highway Patrol may cite a driver that moves their vehicle to impede a motorcyclist from carrying out a lane-splitting movement. This citation is considered to be a violation for not allowing a motorcyclist to conduct a lane change and it is important to always share the lane with a motorcyclist.

Watch YouTube Video – By: Motorcycle Roads – Splitting Lane Passes in California

The following video thoroughly addresses and explains the topic of motorcycle lane splitting in California.

Motorcycle Safety Tips

The following safety tips have been created by the California Highway Patrol to ensure the safety of all motorcyclists and drivers on the roadway:

  • Always utilize a helmet and other protective gear while riding. The NHTSA has estimated that helmets have helped save the lives of 1,630 motorcyclists in 2013 alone.
  • Never operate a motorcycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Of the 4,399 motorcyclists killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes, 1,232 (28%) were driving under the influence of alcohol with a BAC of .08 or higher and 305 (7%) of those fatally injured motorcylists had a BAC of .01 to 0.7.
  • Monitor your speed. A majority of motorcycle collisions cause injuries or even death. In 2013, 34% of all motorcyclists involved in fatal collisions were speeding.
  • Assume drivers in vehicles do not see you.
  • Refrain from driving in the blind spots of other vehicles, specifically large trucks.

Related Content by Edward A Smith

Sacramento Motorcycle Accident Injury Attorney

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento motorcycle accident injury attorney. If you have suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, please call me at (916) 921-6400 or contact me toll-free at (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice.

I have assisted families throughout Northern California with their personal injury and wrongful death cases for nearly 34 years.

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Sources of Information for California Motorcycle Lane Splitting:

Photograph Source: By Cliff from Arlington, Virginia, USA via Wikimedia Commons


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