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Lane Splitting in California: Legal and Safe


Some of the severest traffic-related injuries on California roads arise out of motorcycle accidents. Motorcyclists do not have any of the protections afforded by a traditional car and are often at the mercy of inattentive drivers.

Many Los Angeles motorcycle crashes occur during lane splitting, which happens when a motorcyclist shares a lane with a passenger vehicle. Lane splitting, also known as white-lining, typically occurs when cars are stopped at a traffic light and a motorcyclist rides between vehicles to the front of the line.

Motorists often express annoyance at lane splitting, but this practice is actually legal for experienced motorcyclists.

Lane Splitting Guidelines for Motorcyclists

  • Avoid lane splitting above 30mph
  • Travel at a speed no more than 10mph faster than other cars
  • It is often safer to split lanes between the first and second lanes of traffic.
  • Consider road conditions before lane splitting such as lane width and the weather
  • Watch out for erratic lane movements from other cars

Intentionally blocking a motorcyclist from lane splitting is illegal under the California Vehicle Code. It is important for motorists to remain safe at all times and share the road with pedestrians and vehicles of all types.

Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP handles motorcycle crash cases across Southern California. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, call us at (866) 634-4525 or contact us online.