Lane-splitting officially legal in California now

Photo: Roland Dobbins

Earlier this month, we told you California was about to legalize lane-splitting. Now it’s happened, and the next move belongs to the police.

On Friday, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 51, giving it the final stamp of approval. The bill says that lane-splitting (or filtering, as it’s also known) is a legal practice. Before, it was commonly done in California, but not officially legal or illegal — the law was silent on its legitimacy, but police tolerated it.

Now, those same police forces are required to meet with motorcycling groups to draw up a set of guidelines for lane-splitting. The California Highway Patrol had already done that, back in 2012, but removed them from their website in 2014 after people complained that was lawmakers’ job, not police. At this point, the lawmakers have officially passed that job back to the police.

What next? Several other US states have considered their own lane-splitting bills, but there has been no real progress yet in the States, and certainly none in Canada. But if California can pull it off, maybe there’s hope for the rest of us yet. But for now, California is the only jurisdiction here that seems to take the idea seriously, leaving most of North America behind the rest of the world, which has no problem with the idea, as you can see from the photo above.


  1. The pictures tells it all, in Europe it’s like that in thousands of intersections in all cities. Just imagine if all those two wheelers did take the space of one car, traffic would be paralyzed, everywhere, so much time lost and all those stopped vehicles would pollute that much more..

    That’s why lane splitting is good, and we should call it lane sharing.

  2. Good picture, now take all those scooters and have them take up a single vehicle lane. Now how long will it take all the cagers to get through the light? Lane filtering is good for everyone.

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