It’s a new year, and guess what that means… New laws are coming into effect. All across the U.S. new laws are being rolled out, but for motorcyclists all over the country, the spotlight is falling on California. That’s because a new law legalizing lane-splitting is taking effect, but will it help motorcycle safety or hurt it?
Legal Lane-Splitting in California: Will It Work?
AB 51 rolled out on January 1st, and it marks a very special moment in motorcycle history. It makes lane-splitting legal in California, which makes Cali the first and only state to do so. Though measures to make lane-splitting legal has popped up in many states—including here in Colorado—none have taken the leap yet. Some law enforcement agencies worry that lane-splitting could endanger public safety, but the California Highway Patrol (CHP) disagrees.
CHP believes that responsible lane-splitting will improve traffic, and it will increase the safety of riders and drivers. However, they warn that this will only happen if riders share lanes properly. CHP is expected to suggest regulations to ensure safe lane-splitting soon. Experts expect those suggestions to include:
- Motorcyclists shouldn’t split lanes near merge points.
- Motorcyclists shouldn’t split lanes if traffic is going faster than 30 mph.
- Motorcyclists shouldn’t go 10 mph faster than the flow of traffic.
- Motorcyclists need to watch carefully for distant cars when they split lanes.
How Will California Enforce this Law?
CHP also says it will not pull over motorcyclists for violating these regulations, but they will still pull them over for speeding and unsafe riding. Highway patrol officers also warn drivers that preventing a motorcyclist from lane-splitting is a violation. If you use your car to impede a motorcycle splitting lanes, you will get a ticket.
Do you think this new lane-splitting law will save lives? Do you think an initiative like this could work here in Colorado? Head over to our Facebook and Twitter to voice your opinion, and keep following our motorcycling attorneys.