Is Lane Splitting Legal for Motorcycle Riders in California?

November 11, 2022

Is Lane Splitting Legal for Motorcycle Riders in California?

Motorcycle Lane Splitting in Traffic


It’s undeniable that weather and frequent sunshine brings many motorcycle riders to California. However, there is great responsibility one must take when riding. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 5,579 motorcyclists killed in 2020.  

With such a staggering rate across the nation, there are different laws in effect for California motorcyclists, including lane splitting.

Motorcyclists can split lanes in the Golden State.  It is defined by California Vehicle Code Section 21658.1 as driving a motorcycle, as defined in Section 400, that has two wheels in contact with the ground, between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane, including on both divided and undivided streets, roads, or highways.

To help ensure safety, the California Highway Patrol offers a list of tips for motorcycle riders  –

  • Consider the environment when you are lane splitting.  Be sure to think about the width of lanes, the size of surrounding vehicles, and weather conditions.
  • Danger will increase if you drive at a higher speed. 
  • Danger will also increase as the overall traffic flow speed increases.
  • It’s generally safer to split lanes between the far left than between other lanes.
  • Try avoiding lane splitting next to large vehicles such as big trucks, school buses, etc.
  • Riding your motorcycle on the shoulder is illegal. It is not lane splitting.
  • Always remain visible to other drivers around you. Stay out of blind spots.
  • Wear brightly colored or reflective clothing, and use high beams during daylight.  This can help other drivers see you on the road.

Drivers of other vehicles must be aware that lane splitting is legal, and they should take precautions to help the safety of others on motorcycles.

Other things to remember – 

  • Intentionally blocking or stopping a motorcyclist in a way that could cause harm to the rider is illegal. 
  • Opening a vehicle door to impede a motorcyclist is illegal.
  • Drivers in the far left lane should move to the left of their lane to give motorcyclists ample room to pass.

The ramifications of a motorcycle accident can be devastating. Injuries ranging from back and neck pain to scarring, or even death, are extremely common.

Recently involved in a motorcycle accident?

The Los Angeles Motorcycle Attorneys at C&B Law Group are here to help. Our LA Attorneys will explore every avenue to help with compensation for damages you may face, including:

  • Current and future medical expenses
  • Loss of wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages

We’ve recovered millions for thousands of clients.  Contact us today for a free consultation.

Get Started Now

Schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers today by filling out the form below, or call us at (866) 747-7333

    or call us at

    (866) 747-7333

    Hablamos Español

    • img
    • img
    • img
    • img
    • img
    • img
    • img
    • img
    • img

    Recent Blog Posts

    view all blog posts