In February of 2013 the California CHP finally officially released guidelines regarding the practice of lane splitting or filtering here in California.
The reason was to promote awareness to drivers of the practice by motorcycles as well as to promote how to safely split lanes. There has long been confusion over the practice by drivers and riders alike as to the legality of it. It is not illegal, but nor does it have a single law allowing it. It is governed by three vehicle codes. Speed, Passing on the right, and Lane Changing.
The Guidelines were as follows:
- Travel at a speed that is no more than 10 MPH faster than other traffic – danger increases at higher speed differentials.
- It is not advisable to lane split when traffic flow is at 30 mph or faster – danger increases as overall speed increases.
- Typically, it is more desirable to split between the #1 and #2 lanes than between other lanes.
- Consider the total environment in which you are splitting, including the width of the lanes, size of surrounding vehicles, as well as roadway, weather, and lighting conditions.
- Be alert and anticipate possible movements by other road users.
Today I received an email form the AMA (American Motorcycle Association) that the CHP has backed off and are no longer promoting the guidelines. They have removed ALL of their PSA’s ,written material and information from their websites in reference to lane sharing, once again leaving drivers in the dark about the reality of lane sharing in California.
This is due to a single complaint! According to the AMA e-mail I received.
“A 2013 complaint from just one individual to the California Office of Administrative Law has forced the California Highway Patrol and other state government agencies to remove information from their websites that was intended to help motorcyclists safely execute the allowed lane-splitting maneuver.”
One person gets to decide for an entire community? Over the past few days I had been wondering why I could not find a certain PSA that was on TV just a few months ago or anything official…, now I know. Here is where YOU get to help!
Please follow the link to the AMA page and sign the petition requesting that the guidelines be returned!
Drivers need to be more educated on the practice and more educated on the real statistics of motorcycle accidents, lane sharing and fatalities. Sitting in a lane of commuter traffic is far more dangerous than lane sharing and personally I feel like a sitting duck waiting to get taken out by a distracted driver that just dripped mustard on her pants or trying to break up a fight in the back seat.
Please share this with your friends, riders or not. Education and Motorcycle awareness is the answer, not turning a blind eye over one individuals ignorance or distaste for motorcycles.
If you do not know how lane sharing is supposed to work go here for more information
If anyone has a download of the CHP’s Lane sharing PSA I would sure like to have it.
Until then, share the road!