Motorcycle Lane Splitting: Is It Legal?
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Motorcycle riders often dart between lanes trying to beat heavy traffic, but are such maneuvers legal?
According to the California Highway Patrol, the answer is yes -- but it's not necessarily safe.
"It is legal for a motorcycle to share a lane in between other vehicles," CHP spokesman Don Oxley said. "If someone is going to lane split what we want to do is make sure traffic is going no more than 15 to 20 mph."
KCRA 3's Walt Gray strapped a camera to his helmet to capture what motorcyclists see and headed on out Highway 99.
Traffic was slow and Gray watched for cars quickly changing lanes or someone who might fling a door open to dump out some coffee. At times there was not enough room for him to get through comfortably and it was a judgement call for him to either try it anyway or wait.
"You see people zipping in and out of traffic and it really makes me nervous. You don't know where they are coming from ... sometimes I have seen them hit something," motorist Rachel Alexander said.
"People that buzz through there when traffic is 10 mph and they are going 30, 40, 50, 60 mph ... that's dangerous and they shouldn't do it," motorist Paul Brown said.
Ed Berrios, of Extreme Motorsports, has been riding for 30 years. He said he's seen some bad things happen when agressive motorcyclists go too fast while sharing lanes.
"They'll shoot up between the lanes ... something will happen where they'll clip somebody's rear view mirror and bounce off another car ... it's really bad," Berrios said.
"If you see a motorcycle coming up between lanes, move over a little bit and give them some room and let them go by. They're allowed to pass between lanes and we want it done safely," Oxley said.
The CHP adds that if traffic is moving at more than 20 mph, motorcyclists are expected to follow normal traffic and not split lanes.