Lane-splitting guidelines removed from DMV, CHP materials
State agencies are removing information about lane-splitting, potentially resulting in more motorcycle accidents for riders.
California motorcyclists are very familiar with the concept of lane-splitting. The practice, which is completely legal in the state, allows motorcycle riders to drive through cars that have slowed or stopped due to traffic congestion.
For many years, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offered riders instructions on how they could perform this task safely to avoid being involved in a motorcycle accident. The DMV included these tips in materials provided to motorists, but has recently decided to remove information about lane-splitting in its future publications.
The DMV’s removal of this material is in response to a complaint that was filed against the California Highway Patrol (CHP). The CHP has recommended lane-splitting in the past, and an individual challenged the agency’s authority by making these recommendations. The state Office of Administrative Law agreed with this assertion and required the CHP to remove these materials, and the DMV has subsequently followed suit.
Many California motorists are actually unaware that lane-splitting is legal within the state. In a survey by the California Office of Traffic Safety, nearly 50 percent stated that they did not know the practice was permitted. Additionally, another 66 percent stated that they felt lane-splitting was unsafe, and increased the risk of a motorcycle accident.
Officials believe that removing this language from the safety materials could result in more dangers for motorcyclists. Lane-splitting is still legal, but there is no information on how to perform the action correctly. This could cause both motorcyclists and other motorists to make mistakes when riders are attempting to navigate through slowed or stopped traffic.
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