splitting lanes when another motorcycle rider is splitting between other nearby lanes as cars may make additional room for one rider and accidentally reduce space for another.

4) Consider the total environment in which you are splitting, including the width of the lanes, size of surrounding vehicles, as well as roadway, weather, and lighting conditions. - Some lanes are narrower than others, leaving little room to pass safely.  If you can’t fit, don't split.  - Some vehicles are wider than others -- it is not advisable to split near wide trucks. If you can't fit, don't split.  - Know the limitations of your motorcycle --- wide bars, fairing and bags require more space between vehicles. If you can’t fit, don't split.  - Avoid splitting on unfamiliar roads to avoid surprises such as poor road surfaces.  - Seams in the pavement or concrete between lanes can be hazardous if they are wide or uneven.  - Poor visibility, due to darkness or weather conditions, makes it difficult for riders to see road hazards and makes it more difficult for drivers to see you.  - Help drivers see you by wearing brightly colored protective gear and using high beams during daylight.

5) Be alert and anticipate possible movements by other road users. - Be very aware of what the cars around you are doing.  If a space, or gap, opens up next to your lane, be prepared react accordingly. - Always be prepared to take evasive action if a vehicle changes lanes. - Account for inattentive or distracted drivers. - Riders should not weave back and forth between lanes or ride on top of the line. - Riders should avoid lingering in blind spots. - Never ride while impaired by drugs, alcohol or fatigue. - Constantly scan for changing conditions.

The Four R's or “Be-Attitudes” of Lane Splitting: Be Reasonable, be Responsible, be Respectful, be aware of all Roadway and traffic conditions.

- Reasonable means not more than 10 MPH faster than traffic flow and not over 39 MPH. - You are Responsible for your own safety and decisions.  • Don’t put yourself in dangerous positions.  • If you can’t fit, don't split.


Dear Fellow Blue Knights,

A 59 year old motorcyclist was lane splitting on a freeway at unknown speeds when he struck with the rear of a Toyota Corolla. The collision threw him from the motorcycle onto the pavement. This caused a chain reaction of drivers trying to avoid the downed motorcyclist and his bike. Within minutes several vehicles were involved and several injured. The motorcyclist died at the hospital. This unfortunate incident impacted several families as a result of the collision.  

Lane Splitting, although recognized by the state as an allowed practice, has increased risk factors to consider. Most risk factors can be controlled.

I’ve included the CMSP Guidelines for Lane Splitting

Lane Splitting General Guidelines Lane splitting in a safe and prudent manner is not illegal in the state of California. The term lane splitting, sometimes known as lane sharing, filtering or white-lining, refers to the process of a motorcyclist riding between lanes of stopped or slower moving traffic or moving between lanes to the front of traffic stopped at a traffic light.

 Motorcyclists who are competent enough riders  to  lane split, should follow these general guidelines if  choosing to lane split:

1) Travel at a speed that is no more than 10 MPH faster than other traffic – danger increases at higher speed differentials. - A speed differential of 10 miles per hour or less allows an alert, competent rider enough time to identify and react to  most  dangerous situations  that can occur.  - The greater the speed differential, the less time  a rider has to identify and react to a hazard.

2) It is not advisable to lane split when traffic flow is at 30 mph or faster --- danger increases as overall speed increases. - At just 20 mph, in the 1 or 2 seconds it takes a  rider to identify a hazard, that rider will travel approximately 30 to 60 feet before even starting  to take evasive action.   Actual reaction (braking or swerving) will take additional time and distance, - Braking and stopping distance varies greatly based on a multitude of factors (rider, machine and environment). - As speed increases, crash severity increases.

 3) Typically, it is safer to split between  the #1 and #2 lanes than between other lanes. - Other road users are more accustomed to motorcycles splitting between the #1 and #2(furthest left) lanes. Avoid splitting in lanes near freeway on-ramps and exits. - Avoid


Chapter Safety Officer

September, 2017

Rob Doty


Lane Splitting

Your Choice

Page 7