Legitimate lane splitting in California reached another milestone yesterday, as AB 51 passed the full California State Senate 38 to 0. It passed the Senate Transportation Committee 11 to 0 in June.
The bill aims to legitimize and codify the practice of lane sharing, or lane splitting, paving the way for the CHP and other organizations to make it a part of standard driver/rider education. Currently, lane sharing exists in a “if it’s not illegal, it’s legal” space in California, where riders are allowed to filter through traffic in a “reasonable” manner.
AB 51 will now go back to the California State Assembly, where it originated, for concurrence, a necessary step since it was amended from its original version. However, given that it was amended with heavy involvement from all involved parties, the bill is likely to pass. The final step is a signature from the Governor.
Supporters of the bill hope that it will not only open the door to legitimacy and, most importantly, driver/rider education, but that it will also lead other states to follow suit. Currently, California is the only U.S. state that allows lane splitting.
For more information on AB 51, visit lanesplittingislegal.com.
(Note: I am referring to actual language of Calfornia AB 51 as it stands today and the analysis at http://lanesplittingislegal.com/lane-splitting-news/ab-51-california-lane-splitting-bill-to-be-updated referenced above in the article.)
I’m confused. If everything “not illegal is therefore legal” then what is the point of defining lane-splitting if you aren’t going to explicitly state that it is LEGAL? Fine, so they can’t yet agree to pass a bill containing boundaries for lanesplitting (e.g. no faster than 50 mph and no more than 15 mph faster than the speed of the vehicles in the lanes they are riding between) but why not explicitly state it is legal, remove all doubt from the 4- and more-wheeled vehicle crowd (and even some motorcyclists) and fill in that information later? You still can’t go over the speed limit, you still have to signal lane changes, you still can only make lane changes when safe, etc. I don’t quite understand how this is “progress” in codifying lanesplitting as legal. There might as well be a bill defining what is a pastrami sandwich…
Mark my words, this will give the cagers more reason to crowd us. If we can share the lane with another vehicle, then that means another vehicle will try to share the lane with us. A month doesn’t go by that I don’t have a cager attempting to pass me within my lane, pass me on the right on a two lane road, or try to pull up beside me in my lane to turn at a red light.