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A reminder about lane splitting in California

It's been more than two years since former California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill defining lane splitting – the practice of motorcyclists driving between automobiles in side-by-side lanes – and directing the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to put out a list of safety tips.

Now, in spring and with summer around the corner, more motorcycles will be on Southern California's roads. It's a good time to summarize and review those CHP tips for motorcyclists.

Remember that these are general tips and not a guarantee that either motorcyclists or vehicle drivers will stay safe. Always use caution on the road.

  1. Look at the environment in which you are splitting lanes. Consider the width, the size of the vehicles on the road and the weather conditions.
  2. Remember the risk of danger increases when your speed increases or when there is a big difference in speed between motorcycles and other vehicles on the road.
  3. Try not to split lanes next to big vehicles, such as buses or motor homes.
  4. Whenever possible, try to split lanes in the far-left lanes.
  5. Do not ride on the shoulder. That is illegal and not lane splitting.
  6. Get out of a driver's blind spots as quickly as possible.
  7. Wear reflective gear, and use your high beams in the daylight.

Vehicle drivers also should be diligent in checking their blind spots and looking in their mirrors, especially as they prepare to make a turn or change lanes.

For motorcyclists, lane splitting in California is legal, but they must remember to be careful when traveling between stopped or slow-moving traffic. Still, there are times that drivers will not exercise equal care, and the motorcyclist could be injured. If that occurs. the motorcyclist should consult with an attorney to discuss ways to be compensated for any injuries.

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