Thanks for ruining our fun! Some guy in California complained that the California DMV's website Lane Splitting General Guidelines were wrong. So naturally, California merely removes it from the site, after only the one complaint. AMA has stepped up to fight back.
Lane-splitting is legal here in California and the California Motorcycle Safety Program issued guidelines on how to safely split lanes on the California Highway Patrol’s website. But, this one guy didn't like it so he complained and the DMV removed the online language on July 7th, 2014.
According to the LA Times, the California DMV will also be removing the literature from its 2015 handbooks. "The DMV will not be including lane splitting language in the next revisions of handbooks in the next revision of 2015," said DMV Information Officer Jaime Garza.
A rear-ender in a car isn’t often life threatening, but on a bike, it’s deadly. Lane splitting allows you the motorcyclist, to get ahead of traffic. It’s not for careless riders who just don’t like stopping, but it keeps motorcycles from being the last in line at a stop light or highway stand-still. This greatly reduces the chances of being rear-ended and for California it’s worked.
The direction to remove the guidelines came from the California Office of Administrative Law forcing the California Highway Patrol to take them down. The CHP released a statement saying, "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."
But some didn’t understand that this was common sense. Below are the removed guidelines which are helpful for anyone that rides in congested cities like LA and San Francisco. Here is the list of bullet points which are further expanded upon in the guidelines. Click here to read all of the removed guidelines.
1) Travel at a speed that is no more than 10 MPH faster than other traffic – danger increases at higher speed differentials.
2) It is not advisable to lane split when traffic flow is at 30 mph or faster --- danger increases as overall speed increases.
3) Typically, it is safer to split between the #1 and #2 lanes than between other lanes.
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.
5) Be alert and anticipate possible movements by other road users.
The Four R's or “Be-Attitudes” of Lane Splitting:
Be Reasonable, be Responsible, be Respectful, be aware of all Roadway and traffic conditions.
The guidelines go on to list disclaimers: "These general guidelines are not guaranteed to keep you safe." and "Lane splitting should not be performed by inexperienced riders. These guidelines assume a high level of riding competency and experience." This still wasn’t good enough for the person who made the complaint.
California’s removal of these guidelines not only takes away vital information from riders, but more importantly it has potential to lead to more extreme steps against lane splitting. So, if you have the time and believe in it, fill out the petition.
Do you believe lane-splitting is safe? Do you wish it were legal in all states? Do you disagree with us and think the guidelines were out of line and should have been removed? Comment below.