The California Highway Patrol issued these lane splitting tips on September 27th, 2018, as a result of AB 51, the bill that formalized and defined lane splitting in California. The complete PDF is included below—here are pertinent excerpts for riders and drivers.
Lane Splitting Safety Tips for Motorcyclists
- Consider the total environment when you are lane splitting. (this includes the width of lanes, the size of surrounding vehicles, as well as current roadway, weather and lighting conditions).
- Danger increases at higher speed differentials.
- Danger increases as overall speed increases.
- It is typically safer to split between the far left lanes than between the other lanes of traffic.
- Avoid lane splitting next to large vehicles (big rigs, buses, motorhomes, etc.).
- Riding on the shoulder is illegal; it is not considered lane splitting.
- Be visible—Avoid remaining in the blind spots of other vehicles or lingering between vehicles.
- Help drivers see you by wearing brightly colored/reflective protective gear and using high beams during daylight.
Messages for Other Vehicle Drivers
- Lane splitting by motorcyclists is legal in California.
- Intentionally blocking or impeding a motorcyclist in a way that could cause harm to the rider is illegal.
- Opening a vehicle door to impede a motorcyclist is illegal.
- Drivers in the far left lane should move to the left of their lane to give motorcyclists ample room to pass.
Safety Tips for All Motorists
You can help keep yourself and all road users safe by:
- Checking mirrors and blind spots, especially before changing lanes or turning.
- Signaling your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
- Being alert and anticipating possible movements by other motorists.
- Never riding/driving while impaired by drugs, alcohol or fatigue.
- Being courteous and sharing the road.