California Lane Splitting Bill
February 27, 2013 - San Diego, CA
Motorcycle lane splitting in California has been a hot topic as of recent since the California Highway Patrol publically recognized. If you missed that, here's more info: Motorcycle Lane Splitting in California.
Well, it's back in the news as a California lane splitting bill that was in the works to prohibit lane splitting in the golden state comes to a halt. It was confirmed on Tuesday that Senator Jim Beall, the sponsor of S.B. 350, will be pulling funding for the bill, causing it to be withdrawn, pending the results of a California-Berkeley safety study.
Here are the full details from the American Motorcycle Association's press release about the California Lane Splitting Bill being withdrawn:
"An aide to state Sen. Jim Beall (D-San Jose), who sponsored S.B. 350, confirmed in an email to the AMA Tuesday afternoon that the bill would be withdrawn, pending the results of a University of California-Berkeley safety study expected later this year. The bill, introduced Feb. 20, would have allowed lane-splitting only in certain instances: on divided highways with three or more lanes of travel in the same direction, only when traffic is congested and only at "a safe" speed.
Nick Haris, AMA western states representative, noted that lane-splitting has been an accepted custom and necessary strategy to ease traffic congestion in California for years. He noted that Beall's bill proposed a sudden and significant shift in traffic management strategies in the state with respect to motorcycles, which could have had a serious impact on traffic flow.
"We are pleased that Sen. Beall's office is withdrawing the bill, but we remain watchful of any legislative action on lane-splitting that could penalize motorcyclists," Haris said. "Lane-splitting has been done safely in California for decades, so there is really no need to impose new restrictions, especially given the guidelines just released by the California Highway Patrol that make no mention of a three-lane minimum."
According to the California Highway Patrol, lane-splitting occurs when a motorcyclist rides between lanes of stopped or slower-moving traffic or moves between lanes to the front of stopped traffic. The convention is recognized as a benefit to urban traffic flow because it allows motorcycles to make maximum use of roadways when traffic is stopped or significantly slowed. The controlled flow of motorcyclists through stopped traffic also permits more space for other road users.
"Lane-splitting by motorcyclists, when done correctly, helps improve traffic flow for everyone on the road," Haris said. "That helps everybody save time, gas and hassles, and promotes safer roads by mitigating traffic backups. It's important that we work to preserve lane-splitting for the benefit of everyone on the road." "