Legalizing Lane Splitting

March 9, 2015

All Posts, News

Momentum is building to legalize lane splitting outside California. The practice of riding between lanes of stopped or slow moving cars is legal in most of the world but not in most of America.

Something called “lane sharing” has always been legal in California. It allowed two motor vehicles to share the same lane. It also allowed bullying cops to cite motorcyclists  for things like driving on the white line or stopping at a light with your tires in one lane and your left foot in another.

The California Highway Patrol put a stop to the madness about two years ago when they issued an official  bulletin titled “Lane Splitting General Guidelines.” The document explained to California bikers when they would and wouldn’t get a ticket for splitting lanes. Then the CHP backed down when a long time state employee named Kenneth Mandler “petitioned the California Office of Administrative Law in 2013, claiming the CHP created an ‘underground regulation’ by formulating and distributing guidelines for safe lane splitting.” Whether Mandler likes it or not, the underground regulation has stuck. In California, at least, everybody now seems to be on the same page about what is legal and what is not.

Other States

Now legislation has been proposed in four other states, Washington, Oregon, Texas and Tennessee that would legalize lane splitting there. The legislation in all four states has been supported and endorsed by the American Motorcyclist Association.

Three days ago the Wall Street Journal ran a feature that reports that. “some traffic-safety officials – and many automobile drivers – see the practice as unsafe.” The Journal also cites research that indicates that “lane splitting, when done in a safe and prudent manner, is no more dangerous than regular motorcycling,” The paper reports that legislation in California may be forthcoming that would formally allow lane splitting when the speed differential is less than ten miles an hour in traffic moving at less than 30 miles an hour.

Washington And Oregon

The legislation to legalize lane splitting in Washington is Senate Bill 5623. It would allow motorcyclists to pass a car in the same lane when traffic is stopped or is moving at 25 miles an hour or less. If you split under the proposed law, you can’t legally go more than ten miles an hour than the flow of traffic. The bi-partisan Washington bill is sponsored by Democrats Tim Sheldon and Steve Conway and Republicans Jan Angel, Mark Miliscia, Randy Becker and Judy Warnick.

There are two bills to legalize lane splitting In Oregon. Senate Bill 172, introduced by Brian Boquist, would permit riders to pass in a lane with traffic if traffic is stopped or has slowed to less than ten miles an hour and the lane-splitting rider is traveling at a speed of 20 miles an hour or less. Senate Bill 420, introduced by Jeff Kruse, would allow lane splitting if traffic is stopped or slowed to 25 miles an hour or less and the motorcycle operator is traveling at 35 miles an hour or slower.

Texas And Tennessee

There are also two bills in Texas. House Bill 813, introduced by Sergio Muñoz, Jr. would allow motorcycle riders to ride between lanes of traffic moving in the same direction, if traffic is traveling 20 miles an hour or slower, and if the motorcyclist is not traveling more than five miles an hour faster than other traffic. Lane splitting would be prohibited in school zones and in areas where the posted speed limit is 20 miles an hour or less. And riders and passengers must wear helmets. A similar bill, Senate Bill 442, introduced by Kirk Watson, omits the helmet provision, but restricts lane splitting to limited-access or controlled-access highways.

Tennessee House Bill 1102, introduced by Timothy Hill, would permit lane splitting when traffic is traveling at 45 miles an hour or less and the motorcyclist does not exceed posted speed limits. Lane splitting would not be permitted in marked school zones when a warning flasher or flashers are in operation.


18 Responses to “Legalizing Lane Splitting”

  1. Asskiller Says:

    Now when we have Constititional carry while lane splitting… that’s nice.

  2. Wookiee Says:

    I have no problem with lane splitting and I hope it will happen in all areas, but beware of dick heads in cages because some of them will cause problems ad create dangerous situations because they are stuck. I remember a incident where my former President was traveling to Chicago from Detroit and got caught in a traffic jam, he decided the best course of action wasto take to the shoulder with his Electraglide and one trucker radioed ahead to another one who pulled onto the shoulder just ahead of him and he was able to stop in time but he almost had to ditch it or kiss a semi trailer. Yes I know that it wasn’t legal in any sense but he was told when he talked to the trucker that if everyone was stuck there then so was he, no other reason. If lane splitting does become legal I would say to keep it to lower speeds for safety

  3. Steel Says:

    I live in the South. Not sure the civilian rednecks are going to like lane splitting. Most already drive like they are in a NASCAR race as it is and will run a bike off the road. No respect at all for a motorcyclist in this part of the world. Ask some who have ridden in the Trail of Tears. They all have stories about the car and truck driving morons.

  4. Whitepride Says:

    Somehow I don’t ever see this becoming legal in any of the New England states.

  5. JohnnyD Says:

    In Arizona we are contemplating lane sharing. I asked members of our COC if they wanted it and most said yes. I grew up riding in San Jose and being caught in traffic there sucks. Riding between cars leads people to throw things at you, like coffee, soda, cigarette butts, trash and the like. Some have cut over to make you stop, opened their doors, or pretended to pull in front of you to scare you. In Arizona, bikers are generally well armed, and do not take kindly to being abused. When I asked what they would if someone threw something at them, almost in unison they shouted “shoot them”. It will be interesting to say the least. It will probably require a year of education to ease any law into place. Here the simplest way would probably be repealing the law that makes it illegal. But then it would allow cars to share the lane with us. We will see what we will see. Brave new world.

  6. Base Says:

    Lane splitting is illegal? Ooops!

  7. 10-Pin Says:

    We pushed this in NV in the last legislative session. Came “that close”. It WILL be revisited. This time, we’re working on reversing the helmet law, which seems to have the best chance in a LONG time. We are getting more “legitimate” supporters in the Senate and Assembly. Helmet freedom and lane sharing… Both CAN get done. It takes involvement, in numbers. If you want it, take a few minutes and let your legislators know!

    BTW: Be POLITE. Be RESPECTFUL. These are suit and tie people. But if they think we have numbers… If they believe that we VOTE… We can get it done!

  8. L-Frame S&W Says:

    Whitepride, I agree with you, too many idiots with the cellphone to the ear, and their head up their ass here in New England.

  9. Tommy Says:

    I commute to work on my harley everyday and lane splitting is a great tool to have. When done correctly it reduces traffic lines and allows the option for motorcyclists to get out of harms way.

  10. VAGO 1%er Says:

    Yeah, I see the nitwits on the Dynas with the SOA fairings and t-bars thinking their so badass doing the 90 mph lane splitting thing. Stupid fucks. Saw the OC Sheriff Deputy splitting lanes on the 241 just last week bounce off a couple cars and go down. LMFAO. Safety folks! Split those lanes but get there in one piece.

  11. The Kraut Says:

    I rode in the LA area for a few years and splitting lanes was the way to keep the engine a bit cooler, as well as to keep moving and make progress towards the roads in the mountains where the cage clowns were absent…usually.

    Spitting lanes at speeds over the traffics flow speed is best done only 3-5mph over what traffics doing.

    My guess is the RUBs and ninnies will simply Darwinize themselves out of existence eventually.

    Motorsickles were more fun when they had kickstarters….kickers tend to weed out the squids who should stick to cages.

    Respect to those who warrant respect


  12. ipsick Says:

    There’s a time and place for lane splitting and sometimes no matter how polite we may be, assholes in cages get jealous.

    I try to wave a “thank you” to those who move their car over so I can pass and I try and re-educate the others that don’t. A broken side mirror costs bucks to replace and can make them think twice the next time a biker comes by.

    But it is also a major pucker factor what with the cell phone, lunch eating, texting, reading, make-up putting on drivers out there.

    But it still beats sitting there stopped in hot weather.

    Ride safe……..

  13. WheresMyBoots Says:

    It’s standard practice in parts of Europe where the exhaust fumes are just as deadly as the kamikaze drivers, trollys, busses, cabs, etc. That and, as mentioned, air cooled gets awful hot during the warm months. They don’t get pissed at you for it though; in the good ‘ol US I’d be doing it damned slow because cagers where I live would *definitely* get pissed and try to cut you off/ram you. Shit, they do it when you’re in a cage yourself. Be safe.
    Respects, Ride Free,

  14. fayettenamhoe Says:

    hahahai been a lane splitter all my life

  15. fayettenamhoe Says:

    ha hahaha, splinter, yes i can, call me slow motion, i fell down, you are the one i can reach out to in the middle of my nitemare, hahahahaha, Lane splitter? i have seen the other side of the road, you can’t catch me, hahahahaha, what is the Amy? i died for your sins, I’m a mutha fuckin lane spitter. one day you too will run me over


  16. fayettenamhoe Says:

    she told me she loves my evil motorcycle, i took her for a ride and split all the lanes, then i took her home and split her in two

  17. fayettenamhoe Says:

    my pussey is all over your fucking head, lane splitter? hahahahahahaha she told me to stop. the better to eat her with, hahaha, call me bad news, call me scum, call me anything and yes I split plenty “O” lanes and i ate plenty O vagina in the middle of the nite

  18. fayettenamhoe Says:


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