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Motorcyclists and Lane Splitting

If you ride your motorcycle on the highways of California, you likely understand lane splitting well. It allows you to navigate heavy, stop-and-go traffic without the danger of a fatal rear-end accident. Although illegal in other states, California law allows this maneuver. 

According to KQED, the California Highway Patrol has issued safety tips for motorcyclists and other vehicles to help reduce the dangers of lane splitting and improve traffic flow. 

  1. Dangers of lane splitting

Higher speed differentials and higher overall speeds put you in more danger as you ride between lanes. Lane splitting alongside a tractor-trailer, a bus or an RV also increases your risk. As with any trip, the weather, light and road conditions affect your safety. 

  1. Tips for riders

You can counter some of these dangers by wearing bright colors, keeping your high beams on at all times and avoiding riding along in a driver’s blind spot. 

Choose to ride between the far left lanes whenever possible, rather than between the other lanes of traffic. Keep in mind that riding on the shoulder is not lane splitting, and it is illegal. 

  1. Tips for motorists

One of the factors that makes lane splitting dangerous is motorists’ lack of awareness. They may not know it is legal, so it may contribute to road rage maneuvers such as moving close to the center of the lane or intentionally blocking your motorcycle. This is illegal as well as dangerous. 

To increase riders’ safety, drivers should move to the left side of their lane and give you more space. As with any lane change, before they make a move drivers should first check mirrors and blind spots, and then use their turn signal to alert everyone around, but especially lane splitting motorcyclists.