AB-51 is on the books

Hello Terry,

A couple of weeks ago I wrote to you about the “Lane splitting Guide Lines” being proposed. If you were thinking of running that letter, It’s all over it’s been passed and there was not much fan fair about it. The vote was 69* to 0, I believe . It’s on the books and most people think it’s good thing. I disagree. If you read the excerpt below, which I copied from the CHP program “California Motorcyclist Safety Program,” you will see it has some teeth to it if needed. Such as “No more than 10 mph faster than other traffic.” Also if you read at the bottom we are back to the CHP determination of if we are doing it right or not. Kind of like the helmet law. I know a couple of motorcycle groups were backing this and that’s

Also if you read at the bottom we are back to the CHP determination of if we are doing it right or not. Kind of like the helmet law. I know a couple of motorcycle groups were backing this and that’s their right to do so. I just feel we are in the beginning of having our lives impacted by someone else’s opinion. When I say opinion, If you read the guidelines it is clear that an officer of the law will make a decision after the fact If an accident occurs who’s at fault me on the bike traveling 15 mph when traffic is moving at two mph. Or the car that said, “I put on my turn signal looked in my mirror then started to change lanes when he hit me.”? Or what I saw was the car seeing an opening in the lane next to him just turning the wheel with out looking. I also believe insurance companies are going to have a field day with this guideline also. What do you think?

The Duck, Orange County, CA

*The correct number is 74 to 0.

Lane Splitting General 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.- A speed differential of 10 miles per hour or less allows an alert, competent rider enough time to identify and react to most dangerous situations that can occur.
– The greater the speed differential, the less time a rider has to identify and react to a hazard.

2) It is not advisable to lane split when traffic flow is at 30 mph or faster — danger increases as overall speed increases.
– At just 20 mph, in the 1 or 2 seconds it takes a rider to identify a hazard, that rider will travel approximately 30 to 60 feet before even starting to take evasive action. Actual reaction (braking or swerving) will take additional time and distance.
– Braking and stopping distance varies greatly based on a multitude of factors(rider, machine and environment).
– As speed increases, crash severity increases.

Risk of getting a ticket: Motorcyclists who lane split are not relieved of the responsibility to obey all existing traffic laws. With respect to possible law enforcement action, keep in mind that it will be up to the discretion of the Law Enforcement Officer to determine if riding behavior while lane splitting is or was safe and prudent.

When is it NOT OK to split?

You should NOT lane split:
– If you can’t fit.
– At a toll booth.
– If traffic is moving too fast or unpredictably.
– If dangerous road conditions exist—examples include water or grit on the road, slippery road markings, road construction, uneven pavement, metal grates, etc.
– If you cannot clearly see a way out of the space you’re going into (for example, if a van or SUV is blocking your view).
– Between trucks, buses, RVs, and other wide vehicles.
– Around or through curves.
– If you are not fully alert and aware of your surroundings.
– If you are unable to react to changing conditions instantaneously.
– If you don’t feel comfortable with the situation.

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