Lane-splitting, the practice of motorcyclists passing slower-moving vehicles by riding in between them, may soon become legal in California. Currently, the practice lies in a legal gray area in the state with lane-splitting not officially being made legal or illegal in the state’s statutes. That may soon change, however, if a bill passes and is signed into law by the governor. If the bill passes, California will become the first state in which lane-splitting is made formally legal.
Bill AB 51 and guidelines for lane-splitting
The bill, AB 51, was prompted by a citizen complaint after the California Highway Patrol issued safety guidelines for lane-splitting in 2015. Prior to that, law enforcement agencies had treated lane-splitting as tacitly allowed. The CHP’s guidelines gave suggestions for how motorcyclists could safely engage in the practice, prompting the citizen complaint about the CHP making public policy, prompting the CHP to remove the guidelines.