Survey Reveals Drivers Opinions of California’s Motorcycle ‘Lane Splitting’ Law

Imagine this scenario: You are stuck in your car in bumper to bumper traffic and a motorcycle comes whizzing past you by splitting the lane between your car and the lane next to you. Is the motorcyclist committing an illegal traffic maneuver by driving between lanes? Well, the answer is no!

This answer may surprise you and as revealed in a survey conducted by the California Office of Traffic Safety, you were not alone. The survey revealed that only 53 percent of people thought that lane-splitting by motorcyclists was legal. Why did more than half of the people surveyed think that it was illegal? Well, interesting enough, California is the ONLY state to legalize lane-splitting by motorcyclists. While there is not an explicit code section in the California Vehicle Code that allows for lane-splitting, motorcyclists must still follow the basic speed rule that requires all persons to act reasonably in the operation of their vehicles. Specifically, it states that is unlawful to operate a vehicle at a speed which is unreasonable for the given traffic and roadway conditions. [California Law, Vehicle Code Section 22350]

The survey, which was released yesterday, is also part of a larger effort by the Office of Traffic Safety to highlight May as “Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month”. The survey also showed that 87 percent of motorcyclists have attempted lane splitting, while also seven percent of motor vehicle drivers admitted they have attempted to prevent it.

Motorcyclists should be reminded that the key to safe lane splitting is driving in a “safe and prudent manner, being cognizant of overall traffic speeds, speed differences, spacing and lane changing patterns of surrounding traffic.” Thanks for reading Slice of Appel PI today. We hope you have a wonderful weekend and we hope you continue to read and share our blog with others.

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