Anyone who has had the pleasure of filtering their way between lines of slower traffic can attest to the beauty of lane-splitting. Last year, we reported on California Assembly Bill 51, a bill attempting to codify lane-splitting into state law as opposed to keeping it in current unwritten enactment. Well, yesterday, another attempt at drawing attention to the idea of legal lane-splitting nationwide was started on the White House web site. While California motorcyclists have been lucky enough to have filtering between the lanes as one of their urban riding tools for years, we’d like to share it with the rest of the country since it’s impossible to export our year-round riding season. Think of this as a green initiative that can help the environment by freeing motorcycles from wasteful hours of idling away our planet’s precious bodily fluids while waiting for the cars in front of them to move. Think how much happier riders will be after their commute. Songs will spontaneously erupt in the workplace instead of mass shootings. The divorce rate will drop. That barking dog will be given the love it craves from its owner instead of a shout and a kick. Presidential elections will revolve around actual policy discussions instead of merely tapping into voter rage. All because of the breath of fresh air provided by the implementation of national lane-splitting.

So, take a moment out of your busy day and lend your name, email address, and zip code to the cause. Maybe rationality will prevail…this time.

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov//petition/make-it-legal-all-motorcyclists-within-united-states-america-split-lanes-httpsgoogl2t2vul

The Truth About Lane-Splitting

Skidmarks – Splitting Headache

Lane Splitting 101

  • Old MOron

    Done. Thank you, Evans.
    Just a quick request: Please, let’s not even suggest that California’s state law is in semi-legal limbo. Lane splitting is not illegal. Period. Thanks.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      It is not legal either. It is overlooked. A cop in a bad mood can still give you a ticket for unsafe driving or too many lane changes. I speak from experience.

      • Old MOron

        Sure, a ticket for unsafe driving, lane change without signaling, too many lane changes, etc. But not for lane splitting.

        And your scenario applies to any cop in a bad mood, and any hapless victim. You could be in your cage, and the cop could write you up for following too closely, speeding, illegal lane change, etc. etc.

        Lane sharing is not illegal, hence it is legal.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          What is the difference between lane splitting and too many lane changes? Do you have to signal every time you go over the line to the right or the left? Have you lane shared yourself? I have been doing it for 9 years and 144,000 miles.

          • Old MOron

            LOL, the difference is that you can’t be cited for lane sharing! I’ve been doing it since 1991. Never been given a ticket related to splitting.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Never say never. There is always a first time for everything. It has to be a CHP motorcycle that gives you the ticket because patrol cars cannot follow motorcycles that are lane splitting.

          • Vin

            It’s actually lane sharing, and it implies that you are indeed sharing the lane with the car. You’re remaining on one side of the white line, not crossing back and forth it without using your signal.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            That shows how much “lane sharing” you have done! CHP recommends that you split between the left most lane (which is sometimes the car pool lane) and the lane next to it (the no 1 and no 2 lanes). When traffic is moving, vehicles are moving right and left all the time. In order to maintain a safe distance between them, you have to keep crossing the line all the time. That’s why it is called lane splitting in the U.S. and filtering in the U.K. You are not sharing a lane with a car, you are splitting the space between two lanes of traffic.

          • Vin

            This is incorrect. I have done plenty of my fair share. CHP can and has sited people for crossing the line back and forth for failure to signal etc. it actually is called lane sharing.

          • bbradsby

            whatever dude, you’re hair-splitting about lane-splitting. The rider HAS to ignore the stripes while splitting to maintain the greatest side clearance to the ever-sleeping or tweaking or blunt smoking/fiddling/texting/newspaper-reading/nose picking/DVD movie-watching/$ex-gettin’/kid beatin’ a$$hole cagers as you slide past them… and YES I’ve see all these things lane splitting.

            The petition should be for making it illegal for American “drivers” to be in control of anything more powerful than a cup holder in their Google-driven cage.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            You do know that a full size motorcycle and a car cannot fit in the same lane? The only way a bike can fit is in between two cars in two different lanes, and it helps if the cars move away a little, and the bike rides right on the dividing line. This is what the AMA calls it “Lane Splitting – When done responsibly, research shows that lane splitting can reduce motorcycle crashes and fatalities. The AMA supports states’ active involvement in setting out effective regulations for responsible lane splitting.” If the AMA calls it lane splitting, do you know something the AMA doesn’t?

      • Otto Maddox

        What do you mean “it’s not legal”? Of course it’s legal. Something is legal unless there’s a law making it illegal.
        Can a cop use the thousands and thousands of laws in the vehicle code to screw with you? Sure. But that’s true for everything, not just lane splitting. If a cop has an agenda it’s very easy for him to find something to use against you these days.
        I’ve split lanes for lots of miles and lots of years. So do my friends. None of us have been ticketed for it or something related to it.
        If you’re speeding or changing lanes in an unsafe manner don’t blame it on lane splitting.

      • endinyal

        I live in California and drive a motorcycle just about every day. Been riding for over 30 years. Lane-splitting became legal (officially) in 2013. There is no grey-area here. It is 100% legal.

        That being said… law enforcement will still issue come down hard on lane-splitters that are lane-splitting recklessly. If riders are driving in-between cars at 20-30mph+ above the speed of cars, then they deserve everything the CHP can throw at them.

        Lane-splitting is absolutely a necessity for motorcyclist. On hot days, sitting on top of a scorching motor stuck in traffic with zero airflow is a good way to overheat the motor, and the rider. In addition, it’s safer for the rider to have the ability to legally get out of the way in traffic to prevent being rear-ended by a car. That alone warrants a national change. I’ve had several instances of almost being rear-ended by ignorant auto drivers and would have been seriously injured, if not killed, had I not been able to maneuver away from danger.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          “Lane-splitting became legal (officially) in 2013”. OK, tell me what CVC (California Vehicle Code) it is. If you don’t know the CVC, it is not legal, it is allowed. The legislature tried to make it legal last year but withdrew the bill because there were too many undefined areas and there was no way it was going to be passed. For example how do you determine if you were going more than 15 mph faster than the traffic? The traffic in the left lane, the right lane, or the average speed? How is the CHP going to enforce it? Will they need to add a fleet of 1000 motorcycles throughout the state to follow motorcyclists to see how fast they are lane splitting, because patrol cars certainly cannot follow motorcycles that are lane splitting. When CHP put up lane-splitting guidelines on their website the year before, they had to take them down because someone complained they were trying to redefine the law without going through the legislature. It is not a law until it is passed by the CA legislature.

  • Bruce Steever

    Let’s try!

  • Bradley Lakson

    Voted and shared to every social media platform I have! Fingers crossed!

  • JMDonald

    There is no lane splitting in Comancheria. I miss California. I do not miss the punitive taxes.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      You get what you pay for.

  • Scott

    LOL, many people may be dumb enough to not understand that lack of helmets actually does affect them (monetarily) and not just the poor dead guy with the cracked skull.
    But there are few who are dumb enough to open themselves to unlimited liability so some guy on a bike can get to work faster by slipping blindly between moving vehicles in established lanes. For most of us, traffic may suck but it ain’t THAT bad.

    • Evans Brasfield

      No one’s saying you have to lane-split. Rather, making it easier for those who want to do it.

      I’m wondering, are you basing your opinion on a dangerous incident or is your comment based on truthiness and inexperience?

      • Scott

        LOL I had to look up “truthiness”. I suppose that since it is only tolerated in one state (with ridiculous traffic problems), then the only truthiness here is the notion that it’s a good idea. Insurance rates are bad enough for a lot of families, especially those who have teenage drivers. When people understand they may be liable for hitting a motorcycle that’s slipping up blindly in the same lane as them, this will be DOA (no pun intended). It might be good for a relative few, but it’s just not a good trade for everyone else. I’m a motorcyclist, and I would be against it.

        • kenneth_moore

          You’re creating objections out of thin air. There’s no reason to believe there’s be a negative impact on insurance rates. I’d argue that it’s less dangerous for a motorcycle to be advancing slowly through stopped or slow moving traffic than sitting still waiting to get clobbered. And your comment that lane splitters are “slipping up blindly behind them” is a great image, (Stealth Ninja motorcycles stealing asphalt) but totally false. I can assure you that the surrounding traffic sees lane splitters just fine. I know this because they frequently move over to cut me off when I’m doing it.

          You’re right about one thing: people do need to know they’re liable for hitting a motorcyclist, or anyone else, if they aren’t paying attention to the traffic around them.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      I have been lane sharing for 9 years and 144,000 miles without any problem, and have saved countless of my hours for sleeping in and going for a walk after dinner while it is still light, instead of sitting in traffic sucking fumes. Either you do not have the traffic problems CA has, or like sitting in traffic behind cars while you have a perfectly capable vehicle that can easily go between cars and does not have to stop.

      • Scott

        Man, I hate sitting in traffic on a motorcycle, especially when I had a Harley. But I chose to purchase a vehicle with a 170-200 degree motor between my legs (or more in the case of the Harley). I don’t expect everyone else to have their taxes and insurance go up to accommodate me, though. And I don’t think that the size or the capability of the machine has anything to do with it. I would not be in favor of 4x4s taking to the sidewalks or medians so they can go around either.
        Your CA problems are a result of overpopulation, poor planning, whatever…they are not a result of motorcycle laws, and in fact exist in spite of lane-splittling being legal.

        • john burns

          you’re a moron, Scott. (not a MOron)

        • Vin

          So bicycles should get in line then, too? How about skateboarders and pedestrians? Let’s all just wait in line and be inefficient, because fair.

        • Prakasit

          Hey Scott, how about you sit inline in traffic, and I will choose to lane split. I can give you all kind of reasons why your argument about insurance doesn’t hold water. But I have a feeling that you will plain ignore them.
          And what’s with all this CA is a bad bad place sentiments. CA has a lot to offer and more diverse in every respect than people made it out to be.

          Anyway, enjoy your ride dude!

    • Ian Parkes

      “Open[ing] themselves to unlimited liability” How does that even follow?

  • Sayyed Bashir

    98,329 signatures needed. Only 1,671 so far. Less than 4 weeks left. Doesn’t look like it will make it.

  • Gungalagunga

    Done. But I’m not optimistic, Mr and Mrs America are vitriolic haters.

  • http://www.themotorcycleobsession.com/ Chris Cope

    Certainly lane splitting is an important issue but I’m not sure this petition is an effective means of seeing it decriminalized/legalized in all 50 states.

    Firstly because it’s a petition to the White House. Since the president has no legislative power, petitioning him/her to institute a change in law/code is a roundabout way of getting things done. Especially in this case.

    Secondly, traffic law/code is determined by the individual states. Appealing to the federal government is unlikely to achieve anything.

    So, what we should really be doing is writing to our state representatives.

    Still, I signed the petition. Because why not?

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Chris, you signed it even though you do not live here? The federal government has a lot of power over the states. All highway funds come from the federal government. National speed limits are enforced by the federal government. The feds can withhold funds from states that do not comply with its mandate. It is a good place to start, to increase national awareness of the issue. The White House has to respond to any petition that gets 100,000 votes. The Secretary of Transportation reports to the President.

      • http://www.themotorcycleobsession.com/ Chris Cope

        I’m a US citizen, born and raised. I vote in elections, so I see no problem with signing petitions.

        Speed limits aren’t set by the US government; they’re set by individual states. But you’re correct that the presidential office can be used as a bully pulpit, which is why I signed.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          See this July 16, 2014 article in National Journal / Atlantic Monthly: “Four Times the Government Held Highway Funding Hostage”. 1. Drinking Age. 2. Speed Limits. 3. Motorcycle Helmets. 4. Texting While Driving. So motorcycles and speed limits have already been on the agenda. Time to do something good for motorcyclists for a change.

    • Otto Maddox

      The Feds dictate a lot of traffic law actually.
      They mandate speed limits. Think of Montana. They finally caved in when they needed federal funds for highway maintenance.
      Same for “carpool lanes”. The reason motorcycles get to use the carpool lanes is there’s a Federal law.
      Just a couple examples. I live in California and lane splitting is one of the few cool things this terrible state hasn’t banned. I’ve sat in traffic in other states wishing I could just cruise down the middle of the lane.

  • Ian Parkes

    Lane-splitting or filtering is not just something those kooks in California turn a blind eye to, it’s legal and practiced widely among 60 million people in the UK and here in New Zealand – and possibly others around the world, but those are two places where I’ve lived and done it. The New Zealand Transport Agency includes assessments on filtering (through stopped traffic) and lane-splitting (through moving traffic) in its competency-based motorcycle training syllabus. I imagine it’s part of the UK’s CBT too. There’s also plenty of evidence to show it’s safer overall, as it means fewer motorcyclists get rear-ended in queues. Like cycling, it makes the existing infrastructure go much further and a lot more people get to work on time. And it’s simply not as dangerous as people imagine, even if car drivers aren’t watching. If you filter at a handful of mph above what the cars are doing, you either see cars changing lanes ahead of you and can roll off or touch the brakes, and if they start to move when you are alongside, you have slipped past before they get to the space you were in.

    • Burd Mann

      Do everyone a favor, don’t use roads in the UK or other parts of the world. That chaotic mess will only serve to fuel the online petitions to outright ban motorcycles.

  • OldTimeBiker

    I’m sorry but, I must advise you that this petition is a waste of effort. It won’t even be looked at by anyone other than a glorified phone operator! The federal government (all branches) has absolutely NO jurisdiction over traffic laws that don’t deal with interstate commerce. If you want lane splitting / filtering in your state you have to get it passed in your state legislature. The ONLY way to get it done is to get a bill drafted, find a legislator who will introduce a bill for you and then work it. The AMA will help with education on how it’s done, information and alerts to members in your state but, ultimately ONLY grassroots local riders have the clout and standing to get a bill to make lane splitting legal in your state passed. If you want it bad enough you have to be willing to work for it!

    • Sayyed Bashir

      The AMA has done zilch about it so far. The federal government hands out highway funds to the states and withholds them if they do not comply with its mandates. It establishes national maximum speeds limits, seat belt laws and other safety standards. The Secretary of Transportation reports to the President. At the least this will increase national awareness of the issue (if it gets 100,000 votes and the White House has to respond to it). Grass roots efforts have not worked yet because motorcyclists do not have enough clout in state legislatures.

      • OldTimeBiker

        The AMA has an official position statement on lane splitting that states very clearly that the AMA endorses lane splitting and filtering when done responsibly and will assist groups & individuals working to bring legal lane splitting and/or filtering to their states. Five lane splitting bills were introduced in 4 states in 2015 and the AMA backed 4 of them. The fifth bill, one of 2 in Texas had a “poison pill” the AMA and all other motorcycle advocacy organizations couldn’t back. The 4 remaining bills came very close to passing, especially in Tennessee. All might have passed had they gotten MORE grassroots support from the local riders who want the provision!

        Your info on the the highway jurisdiction is inaccurate. For instance…they do not set speed limits. That was ONLY done once because of the “national emergency” brought on by the oil embargo of the 1970’s…That’s why the max limit changes from state to state AND… every time the feds have blackmailed the states with highway funds they have been shot down eventually because the funds come from our fuel taxes and they can’t withhold them from those who pay them!. Seat belt laws are ALSO state statute NOT federal…check your facts…The REAL facts are that an internet petition to the White house on a strictly state issue will NEVER even be heard of by the Sec. of Transportation OR the President…it won’t even get to any of their aides AND it will NEVER get to the point of making anyone more aware of the issue! You want lane splitting/filtering YOU MUST do it at the state level!

  • john burns

    signed and shared hah!

  • SRMark

    I won’t hold my breath. I wish you all well. I voted long ago with my wallet and decided to live in an area with little traffic. I ride in areas with little traffic. I do have to drive in the Baltimore/DC area on a semi-regular basis and despise every single trip. Remember, you are only as locked-in to a situation as you choose to be. GTFO. Or give up and write your petitions. The fool on the hill isn’t necessarily foolish. Just thought I’d look at the problem from another direction. Happy St. Paddy’s Day.

  • Otto Maddox

    God I wish this would become legal in the whole country. I’ve sat in traffic in other states just wishing, for once, they’d be more like California.
    And that’s saying a lot since California has way too many rules and horrible politics. I think lane splitting might be the only thing left that is cool about California now that I think about it.
    But non-riders (and even some riders) just can’t stand the idea of people not waiting in line with the cars. They use excuses talking about it being unsafe but if you probe they’re just mad when someone gets to cut through traffic while they have to sit in it.

    • bbradsby

      By their logic, all bicyclists and pedestrians should also not be able to slip through, but must “get in line and wait their turn.” Tell all your cage-bound friends that every bike that is forced to needlessly sit idling in lines of car traffic makes THEIR time in traffic that much longer, more gas wasted and more pollution from their cars and the bikes which are now sitting idling. It discourages enough bikers to not get on their bikes and drive a cage instead – making traffic even worse. They need to be shown it helps THEM get there faster if we are a separate stream from their traffic.

      • Otto Maddox

        Hey, you’re preaching to the choir on this one. I’ve said exactly those things to car drivers (less cars on the road means less traffic) and been met with blank stares.

        People against lane splitting have two problems with it. One they are open about which is “It’s dangerous!”

        Of course the only anecdotal danger they provide is to the rider. How about letting the rider decide if it’s dangerous or not?

        The other reason only some openly admit to (but I’d bet most share) is “you’re cutting in line!” and “if I have to wait, so do they!”

  • Philip Natale

    I enjoy opening the door of my truck on lane splitters. This would make my life happy, too. Knock another more of those dumbasses out on a regular basis. Motorcycles shouldn’t even be allowed on the road. Much less, driving between traffic.

    • Mark Cross

      Philip Natale
      Please leave your address and plate number here #___________________________
      #___________________________

  • Joe LaPadula

    Wow, as of today, still only 7,313 signatures out of the 100,000 we need. =[