California Highway Patrol Takes Down Lane-Splitting Guidelines from Own Website

It looks like lane splitting is still a tad controversial in California, as the local Highway Patrol was forced to drop the specific guidelines from its own website after a citizen filed a complaint. The reason invoked by the plaintiff was that the way these guidelines were displayed made it look like they were an actual text of the law, emerging from the California Highway Patrol, a body with no legislative powers.
Bike splitting lanes 1 photo
In late February 2013, a bill which was aimed at forbidding lane splitting has been finally dropped, while the CHP published and upheld the basic guidelines for such maneuvers. According to the police, these guidelines were somewhat summed to the following pieces of advice:

1. If you split lanes, make sure you ride no more than 10 mph faster than the traffic (16 km/h)
2. If traffic moves at more than 30 mph (48 km/h), you should not split lanes
3. It's safer to split lanes 1 and 2
4. Look around you carefully before deciding to split lanes
5. Keep in mind that other road users might not be aware of you coming between the lanes.

More detailed info was present at the CHP website, but the address now returns a 404 error. With lane splitting not specifically forbidden by the law, motorcycle riders are obviously free to split and share lanes, and filter ahead of traffic, as long as they operate their vehicles in a “safe and prudent” manner. While the “safe and prudent” used in the California Vehicle Code was too much of a generic notion, the CHP thought to add more nuances to it, thus helping both riders and other road users understand these maneuvers better and make the road a safer place.

Yet it looks like the CHP’s mission is upholding the law and not making it, and to some these guidelines sounded like the law, even though they were only a piece of advice. Riders have also complained for the (now) missing information, and asked that it should be back online, but it looks like the road is far longer than they believe.

Instead of asking the CHP to do once more a thing which is still questionable from a legal point of view, they’d be much more efficient bombarding the AMA and the state senators with messages, trying to create, sponsor and pass a clear bill in favor of lane splitting, with legal details on the procedures, advices and all the rest of the lawmaking fuss that goes with this.

In the absence of such a specific bill, lane splitting remains in the “legal no man’s land”, and this doesn’t help anyone. Speaking about the guideline’s removal, CHP officials quoted by A&R added: “Some have interpreted the recently published Motorcycle Lane Splitting Guidelines as rules, laws or regulations that could or would be enforced by the department. The guidelines were never intended for this purpose and were prepared simply as common sense traffic safety tips and to raise public awareness.”
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram X (Twitter)

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories