Making it legal?
Word comes of a bill before the California State Assembly to codify something that’s been going on in the Golden State for years.
Here’s the part of Assembly Bill 51 that matters most:
SECTION 1. Section 21658.1 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:
21658.1. (a) A motorcycle, as defined in Section 400, that has
two wheels in contact with the ground may be driven between rows of
stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane, including both divided
and undivided streets, roads, or highways, if both of the following
conditions are present:
(1) The motorcycle is not driven at a speed of more than 50 miles
(2) The motorcycle is not driven more than 15 miles per hour
faster than the speed of traffic moving in the same direction.
(b) This section does not authorize a motorcycle to be driven in
contravention of other laws relating to the safe operation of a
In California, lane splitting (or if you prefer, filtering) is not presently against the law. That’s because there is no law — California’s Vehicle Code simply doesn’t address the issue.
You’ll notice this bill is very similar to proposed legislation in Washington state, Texas, and elsewhere. There’s a maximum speed, a maximum speed differential and some provision for penalizing idiotic behavior.
AB51 passed the California State Senate Transportation Committee unanimously. Next step is passing the Senate Appropriations Committee (chair Sen. Jim Beall sponsored a lane-splitting bill in 2013).
You know what to do, right? If you live in California, get in touch with your state Senate and Assembly members and let them know this matters to you.