CA Lane-Splitting Bill Stalled Because They’re Not Sure How To Apply It

Illustration for article titled CA Lane-Splitting Bill Stalled Because They’re Not Sure How To Apply It

A law that would finally make lane-splitting in explicitly legal in California has been put on the back burner because the lawmakers behind the bill aren’t exactly sure how they would make it work.


Assembly Bill 51 was authored by Bill Quirk of Hayward and passed the state Assembly with bipartisan support. It was due to land in the Senate policy committee on July 17, but that’s not going to happen now.

“There were some concerns of how the bill would be implemented in real-life,” a Quirk spokeswoman told Lanesplitter, but wouldn’t elaborate on exactly what those implementation issues were.


California is the only state in the U.S. that doesn’t explicitly outlaw lane-splitting, and motorcyclist groups – including the AMA – have voiced concerns about regulating the practice.

Quirk’s office says the bill will be brought back later this year and discussions will continue this fall.

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rb1971 ARGQF+CayenneTurbo+E9+328GTS+R90S

Assuming it shouldn’t be automatically illegal (and after 10 years driving in CA I am used to motorcycles lane splitting and in fact move over in the lane so they can get by - even if I’d never do it myself unless traffic were stopped), isn’t the easiest fix to limit the maximum speed delta to 10MPH and make any accidents or injuries that occur while splitting presumptively the fault of the splitter?

After I wrote this but before I hit submit I followed the link to the earlier article which noted that: “Assembly Bill 51 adds a section to the CA vehicle code that includes text saying motorcyclists can split lanes as long as traffic isn’t moving faster than 50 MPH and that the rider isn’t traveling at more than 15 MPH above the speed of traffic.”

Jesus, this is a lot more lenient that I would have been, and the AMA still doesn’t like it. Who do they think they are, the NRA?