It might frustrate you (and most other drivers) but it is perfectly legal, and a good way to convince drivers there are advantages to using other means of transportation than cars.
A recent survey by the California Office of Traffic Safety found that more than half of all drivers in the state fail to realize that “lane splitting” is perfectly legal. In fact, almost 20 percent of those same drivers admit they have actually tried to prevent motorcyclists from doing it because they believed it was illegal (or at least unfair.)
May is Motorcycle Awareness Month and the California Office of Traffic Safety is focusing on helping all drivers increase their awareness of motorcycles and the laws they must follow. There is room on the road for everyone, but we all have to learn to get along. If not, that’s when accidents happen and nobody wants that.
Lane splitting has been a subject for controversy and confusion for years. The OTS survey showed that only 53 percent of vehicle drivers knew that lane splitting is legal in California. Eighty-seven percent of motorcycle riders say they lane split, while seven percent of vehicle drivers admit to having attempted to prevent it.
The key to legal lane splitting for motorcycle riders is doing so in a safe and prudent manner, being cognizant of overall traffic speeds, speed differences, spacing and lane changing patterns of surrounding traffic. Riding too fast is one of the most common things that motorcyclists do to make lane splitting unsafe.
Motorists and other road users are reminded to safely “share the road” with motorcycles during May, and throughout the year, and to be extra alert to help keep motorcyclists safe. Changing the driving habits of motorists and motorcyclists alike will help decrease the numbers of motorcyclists killed and injured in crashes. Motorcyclists are reminded to make sure that they are visible to motorists, and that they follow the rules of the road. All road users are reminded to never drive, ride, walk or bicycle while distracted or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.