Motorcycle lane sharing is legal in California, here’s why – Daily News

Question: Mike Garcia of Homeland asked why motorcycle lane splitting is legal in California but not in any other state in the country.

A: California is indeed the only state where motorcycle lane splitting is legal. Why? California recognizes lane sharing as a tool to reduce congestion, and the volume of highway traffic is higher than in most other states. The reason: If you are riding a motorcycle and dividing the lanes, your motorcycle does not take up space on the freeway because you are driving between the lanes or sharing a lane with another vehicle. In other words, allowing motorcycles to divide lanes reduces the number of vehicles in a freeway lane, which in turn reduces traffic jams for all drivers. In states with less freeway traffic, lane splitting does not need to be legal.

Supporters of legal lane splitting also note a 2015 study by UC Berkeley that found that lane splitting is not as dangerous for motorcyclists as people think under certain conditions. “An analysis by researchers at UC Berkeley’s Safe Transportation Research and Education Center found that lane splitting is relatively safe if done in traffic at 50 mph or less, and if motorcyclists do not exceed the speed of other vehicles over 15 mph. UC Berkeley News reported. The study also found that, compared to other motorcyclists, those who used the lane were more likely to ride on weekdays and during commuting hours, to use better helmets and to drive slower, and they were less likely. from drinking alcohol. Thus, these lane dividing motorcyclists are generally the safest riders among their peers.

In the interest of safety, the California Highway Patrol drafted educational safety guidelines for lane splitting after the passage of Assembly Bill 51, which became law on Jan. 1, 2017 and officially defined splitting. legal tracks in California. Drivers of vehicles should be aware that it is illegal to intentionally block or impede a motorcyclist in any way that could injure the rider, and that opening a vehicle door to interfere with a motorcyclist is also illegal.

CHP’s safety tips for dividing lanes are available on their website at

Resident concerned

On the Road would like to share some thoughtful observations from Bryan Anderson, a Riverside resident who read with interest our recent article on how traffic on the 91 suburban lanes is now exceeding pre-pandemic levels, and whose feelings are likely shared by many commuters and followers. . Anderson said he hoped policymakers in the Inland Empire would take note:

“During the pandemic, I hate to say it, but it was the best time to drive in Southern California, maybe in the history of the state. When the restrictions started to be lifted and more people moved from “working from home” to returning to the office, things started to change. I would say in the middle of summer (around July-August) I started to see the traffic getting more and more especially at peak times.

“With rising house prices, rents and properties, you would think there would be a mass exodus of people leaving Southern California / Inland Empire, but it seems the other way around. I’ve noticed more housing development, more people moving into apartments, and the one demographic that no one seems to be talking about, the increase in the number of seniors moving into senior apartments.

“What I don’t understand is why is there not more emphasis on infrastructure, especially road maintenance, road expansion and other means of transport? All I see are more and more homes and warehouses being built without the compensation of a solid foundation for infrastructure, especially roads and highways.

“The number of commercial / industrial trucks on the roads / highways is obscene. It seems there are warehouses everywhere now, which now defines the Empire from within. We have become the stockpile of all goods, products and supplies for all of Southern California. Unless politicians, local / state government, and business come together and tackle this, the Inland Empire will become a giant parking lot for cars. We thank our reader for sharing his comments.

Finally, if you celebrate the holidays in the coming weeks at Riverside, be aware that until New Years Day, the Riverside Police Department will have additional patrols looking for drivers suspected of being under the influence of alcohol, drugs and prescription drugs. This extra enforcement effort is part of a national campaign called “Drive Sober or Get Arrested.” Plan ahead for the holidays if you are attending parties or gatherings and have a designated driver, or use a car service like Lyft or Uber to stay safe.

Are you going to work in the Inland Empire? Do you spend a lot of time in your vehicle? Have questions about driving, highways, toll roads or parking? If so, write or call On the Road and we’ll try to answer your questions. Please include your question or problem, name, city of residence, phone number, and email address. Write to [email protected] or call 951-368-9670.

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