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Motorcycle Safety: Lane Splitting in California

Each state has its own regulations regarding motorcycle lane splitting. Lane splitting, sometimes known as “filtering” or “white-lining”, refers to instances when motorcyclists ride between lanes of stopped or slower moving motorists or more between lanes to the front of traffic stopped at a traffic light.

California allows lane splitting by motorcycles when done in a safe manner. However, cyclists can be at fault for accidents caused by lane splitting if they are shown to be negligent. Be aware of the general guidelines to avoid accidents in which you could be at fault!

  1. Travel at a maximum of 10 MPH faster than other traffic – accident rates increase at higher speed differences.
    • The greater the speed difference, the less time a rider has to identify and react to a hazard.
  2. It is ill-advised to lane split when traffic flow is 30 mph or faster.
    • As traffic speed increases, crash severity also increases.
  3. Generally, it is safer to split between #1 and #2 lanes.
    • Other road users are more accustomed to motorcyclists splitting between these two furthest left lanes.
  4. Consider these environmental factors before splitting: width of the lanes, the size of surrounding vehicles, and roadway, weather, and lighting conditions.
    • Avoid splitting on unfamiliar roads to avoid surprises such as poor road surfaces.
  5. Be alert and anticipate possible movements by other road users.
    • While you may be experienced at lane splitting, other drivers may not be as aware of avoiding motorcycle accidents due to lane splitting.
If you or a family member has been injured while riding a motorcycle, call BD&J’s Motorcycle accident division: California Motorcycle Attorneys at (855) 906-3699!