In large part, California motorcyclists have to follow the same traffic rules as everyone else. They have to obey traffic lights and posted signs. They need to follow the speed limit and signal when they intend to slow down or turn.
However, motorcycles are inherently different than four-wheeled motor vehicles. They are smaller, more efficient and more agile. California traffic laws actually permit motorcyclists to make use of their vehicles’ ability to maneuver and compact size by allowing a traffic maneuver that is illegal in most other states.
California motorcycles can split lanes
When motorcycles split lanes, that means there are two vehicles in one section of a lane of traffic. One common example of lane splitting occurs during traffic gridlock. The bigger vehicles stay stopped, but a motorcycle can slowly move between lanes and around the stopped vehicles.
Motorcyclists in California can split lanes with other vehicles, but doing so might increase the risk that other drivers don’t notice them in traffic. Safety, not speed, should be the top priority for motorcycle riders.
Making use of better maneuverability on a motorcycle is a reasonable thing to do, but getting through traffic quickly should not come at the expense of your safety. Although the maneuver may be legal, other drivers will have a harder time noticing you as you approach them while lane sharing.
Watching the area around you carefully and indicating each maneuver before you attempt it could reduce your risk of getting hit by someone in a four-wheeled vehicle. Learning and following California traffic laws will help you reduce your chances of getting into a motorcycle wreck on your next ride.