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I bet you thought lane splitting was fully legal in California. You are sort of right... and sort of wrong. The legal ability for the two-wheeled riders of California's roads to split lanes has been a gray area. You could say the right to do so was splitting the lanes of legality. There wasn't a law on the books allowing bikers to run between lanes of traffic, but there also wasn't one saying they couldn't do that. Now we're a step closer to having a law saying motorcyclists can legally run between cars and trucks.
According to the LA Times, California has passed the first bill in the nation thats moves closer to full guidelines on the practice of lane splitting. The bill passed easily with a vote of 69-0, and it now moves on to the Governor to receive his John Hancock.
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This bill doesn't fully legalize the practice, mind you. Instead, it allows for the formulation of rules and guidelines for motorcyclists as they split the lanes. Those guidelines will be created by the California Highway Patrol to ensure that road safety is maintained and both drivers and riders remain safe.
There was a prior bill that would have bikes running at no more than 15 miles per hour faster than the traffic around it. This would also see splitting speeds capped at 50 miles per hour. A number of motorcycling groups disagreed with these limits, and the revised bill will see the CHP handling the establishment of the official rules.
It's a great move for motorcyclists, as there's no question that allowing them to split lanes eases up congestion just that much more. Southern California is a crowded place, and that means there's a whole lot of traffic. If you hop on your two-wheeled machine you've got a better chance of making it anywhere in a timely manner.
And soon you can do so in full compliance with the law.