California Highway Patrol Spells Out Lane Splitting Guidelines

The California Highway Patrol recently released specific guidelines for motorcycle lane splitting, which refers to the process of a motorcyclist riding between lanes of stopped or slower moving traffic, or moving between lanes to the front of traffic stopped at a traffic light. This practice is not illegal in California when done in a safe and prudent manner.

The CHP and the California Motorcyclist Safety Program say motorcyclists who are competent enough riders to lane split, should follow these general guidelines if choosing to lane split:

1. Travel at a speed that is no more than 10 MPH faster than other traffic – danger increases at higher speed differentials.

2. It is not advisable to lane split when traffic flow is at 30 mph or faster – danger increases as overall speed increases.

3. Typically, it is safer to split between the #1 and #2 lanes than between other lanes.

4. 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.

5. Be alert and anticipate possible movements by other road users.

To see the complete Lane Splitting General Guidelines from the CHP, which include even further details, visit


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