Is this really legal in Cali?

Mikey D

I have heard over the years that it is legal in California to ride between lanes. (Yes on the dotted white lines!)

Not that it would be smart but...

Is it really legal?
yeah, it's even legal in NY. in the dmv manual, it says that you are allowed to ride on the "oily strip of road" and also on the line so as to give you better grip.

suprafly out........................................
As far as I know still only legal in Cali. It's practiced pretty frequently too. But I believe you have to be between the far left and center lanes only. Not just willy nilly every where... The few times I have been in LA it has taken some getting used to...
Absolutely legal... and not a day passes when riding that I don't do it. It's a way of life for riders out here, I can't imagine not doing it... It can be very dangerous, but those of us who do it have it down to a science..... It's really helpful on those crazy HOT days when you don't want to overheat... (ask the crew that came for Laguna, we were splittin' for real)

I split in long lines waiting for stop lights, freeway traffic, town traffic, and anywhere when I don't feel like waiting.... Most cages out here are used to us and it's not too bad... But there's still some a-holes that get jealous and want to ride the lines or even worse, turn towards you as you go by... (that's why I got custom painted) Got nailed on the bridge by an idiot who just didn't want me to go by.... It ended up costing him quite a bit in the end.... i.e. new left mirror, new left small window, and panel damage... (Big Steel toe Boots do alot of damage)
Something seems awry here. To say that it is legal to utilize the lane marker or "line" if necessary to obtain grip, avoid obstacles or hazards or whatever seems ok to me. But I have a hard time believing that it is legal to ride on the line for the purpose of driving between two other vehicles in their lanes. That can't be right. If it is true then I am certain that is some sort of unintended loophole in the law. That is just a recipe for disaster and at the very least seems unfair and unsafe.

Even if it is "legal" I would never do that for fear of a PO'd motorist seeking revenge on me or even an accidental door openning and WHAM!! Not worth it, I will wait just like everyone else. I was born in Orange, CA but left too young to know anything about this so I defer to you Cali folks, but still, seems funny.
Hey Eak, In California, if a CHP sees you interfearing or heaven forbid doing what that a hole did to Lo, they get a monster ticket.  Yeah so not only is lane splitting legal, it's protected.  Especially on the interstates..

Oh yeah, there are rules regarding when you can lanesplit however, traffic is suppossed to be moving below a certain speed and you are not supposed to be going faster than a certain speed.

Here you Go:

Is lane-splitting legal?
Here's the text (verbatim) from the CHP's site: "Lane splitting by motorcycles is permissible under California law but must done in a safe and prudent manner." The text used to also include "The motorcycle should be traveling no more than 10 mph faster than surrounding traffic (without exceeding the speed limit) and not come close enough to that traffic to cause a collision." but has since been removed. Perhaps they wanted to give cops more latitude to interpret what they thought was safe so they removed it.
Lane splitting on surface streets is probably not addressed in city or county laws so I would do this with caution, as individual cops will decide whether or not they like what they see. I split lanes on surface streets if I don't see any cops, but I stop immediately if I spot one.

Can I lane-split to the front of a metered onramp?
In the magazine "Friction Zone," a reader asked "Is it legal to lane split to a metering light? In some areas there are two to three lanes when taking the onramp to the freeway. I normally lane split right up to the limit line, come to a complete stop, and proceed at the same time (but at a lower speed) as the car I share the lane with and move in behind him. Am I doing anything wrong?"
The answer from Sargeant Price: "Splitting traffic is not specifically addressed in the California Vehicle Code. However, nothing prevents two vehicles from sharing the same traffic lane until it becomes unsafe. Therefore, you can split traffic on an onramp to advance to the front. However, once at the front of the line, there are usually regulatory signs that limit the number of vehicles allowed to enter the freeway on each successive green light. Usually these signs state "One vehicle per green each lane" or "Two (or three) vehicles per green each lane."
"In the first scenario, this means if there are two metered lanes for traffic, then only one vehicle from each lane may enter the freeway when the light turns green. A motorcycle sharing a lane with another vehicle is in violation of the posted provisions of the sign.
"In the second scenario a motorcyclist would not be in violation of the provisoins of the sign since he would be sharing the lane with another vehicle and more than one is allowed for each lane. Be sure to read the signs in your area."
Couple of extra points.......In California we have on-ramps with commuter lanes/ High occupany lanes/ carpool lanes in addition to the regular on-ramp lane. You have to be in a car with 2 or more people OR on a motorcycle to use the Commute lane. They are empty most of the time. Lane splitting in the regular on-ramp lane is unnessesary in most cases.

If a cager opens his door into you as you pass while splitting lanes it is treated as attempted murder. Not so easy to prove when they turn into you. That could be a case of not seeing you in the blind spot as they change lanes. And it does happen a lot. You need to watch their heads to see where they are going. I get pinched at least once a year. No impact so far.

The basis for the law is that air cooled bikes need forward motion to keep from overheating. Newer bikes and sportbikees are less sensitive to this because most have a small fan. Cruisers have to keep moving and we get to tag along. In California, they are notorious about air pollution. Another arguement in favor of splitting lanes is:the less bikes sit in traffic the less emissions go into the air.

You can share a lane with a car, but you can't ride the line and bounce back and forth between lanes. You have to pick a side of the line and stay there. until clear of the car. Bouncing will get you an "unsafe lane change" ticket.....if they can catch you.
I still can't believe this (of course I believe you guys are not lying to me). I just can't imagine in my wildest dreams that such a practice could be legal. Heck they might as well allow little old ladies to walk down the interstate and protect their right to do so too. It's just as unsafe. Seems like a blatent traffic hazard and an unfair advantage given to cyclists. At least our bikes get better gas mileage and give off fewer polutants so maybe we deserve it.

I guess if I still lived in Cali I would be used to it and would like it. But geez, that seems unsafe to say the least. In VA we also have so called commuter or HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lanes on bigger stretches of interstates but as far as I know a motorcycle is not allowed in them (unless maybe you have a passenger?).
One item should be noted, at least for me, I do not lane split unless in stopped or vey slow traffic (stop and go).
Most riders I know will stay in line if the traffic is flowing at a decent rate of speed. If the cars are stopped or moving slow and you really watch out, it is usually not a problem.

It does take a bit of getting use to, but once you get there it is not so bad. When my daughter rides with me she loves to lane split and wave "thanks" to all the cars that do pull over abit.

BTW there are many cars that do get over a bit, maybe a frustrated biker or one who had to take the car that day.


Ride safe  
if i remember right.. in the dmv manual its called "sharing lanes" and yep its a way of life out here.. ive heard of people taking off a cages mirror and wave and keep on cruising.. sometimes they have their heads up their ass so loud pipes come in handy.. inline 4 at 10000 revs usually gets their attention and sometimes scares the crap out of them away from u.. the scariest part of it for me somebody changing lanes real qwik without a turn signal.. u should see the cops do it out here they'll haul ass between them.. another trick is get a harley with loud pipes to clear the way for ya.. theres a video of it.. ill talk to my bro and see if he still has it if so ill send the link to it.. unless somebody else knows of it. (its a riders view of splitting lanes on one of the LA freeways) its pretty crazy if ur not accustomed to splitting lanes... i also did it in iowa once just to see what kind of reaction i would get.. a cages remark "PRICK!" LOLOLOL
Lane Sharing is legal in CA and it is safer than sitting in traffic waiting to get rear ended by a car behind you.  A study called the Hurt Report proved this fact.  It was also personally proven to me on several occasions.  I was coming up on slower traffic and I could hear screeching tires from the car behind me.  I had no choice but to hit the gas and split the lane.  You can split any lane, but it's not smart, people expect a bike splitting the "fast lane" but not other lanes.  You have to be VERY CAREFUL.  People drift back and forth in the lane, if there's a tiny spot for them to change lanes, expect them to take it, which means cutting you off.  I go only as fast as I know I could stop if somone cuts me off or swerves over, and have done it many times.  You have cover both brakes, move your eyes constantly, ready to accelerate, ready to stop, you have to judge every pair of cars you split, quickly, will my mirrors make it?  Sometimes one mirror will go over a Honda mirror on one side and under and truck mirror on the other.  
after doing it for a week when I went to Laguna in July,
riding back home up through Oregon, found myself doing it there.
It is harder to stop doing it, than it is to start. :D
Here is a web site that teaches lane splitting and has a short video of splitting on the 405 during rush hour.

Lane Splitting

I split when traffic is stopped or less then 20 mph. I tried it when traffic was 30 on the highway, but the pucker factor and a few close calls stopped that.
I split when traffic is bad. I would rather not get rear-ended. I know it isn't legal here, but, as Rev said, it is addicting. Most people are COo.oOL about it, but you get the occassional guy in a pick-em-up truck that will have none of that! Friends of mine have been spit on and even had bottles thrown at them. I love the world.
Well my friends, what it boils down to is what you are accustom to. In California, that's how we do it. When you start riding a motorcycle you've already seen tons of bikes splitting lanes while you were riding around in a cage so you know it's okay.

There are states that don't have helmet laws and the thought of riding a motorcycle without a helmet makes me cringe. But those of you in those states are accustom to not HAVING to wear a helmet and it's no big deal.... When I travel through different states and see guys on bikes without helmets I freak out and point and stare like he's some circus freak.... I'm just not used to seeing that. Just as those of you without the law permitting lanesplitting trip off of the thought of riding in between cars....

That's my opinion and that's all I have to say about that. (In my best Forrest Gump voice)