WTF?? - lane sharing illegal - Ducati Monster Forums: Ducati Monster Motorcycle Forum
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post #1 of 54 (permalink) Old 04-18-2008, 10:37 AM Thread Starter

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WTF?? - lane sharing illegal

So I'm on eastbound 80 yesterday in SF heading to the Bay Bridge. Going cautiously between cars as I've always done and all other bikes out there during the morning commute do as well. I pass a moto cop and he instantly signals me to pull over. So we pull up on the curb and he waves me to come up and talk to him. He asks me what I thought I was doing. I explained that it was my understanding that lane sharing is legal in CA. I understand one can't weave in and out between traffic, and I understand that one can't ride more than 20mph difference with the current flow of traffic. He asks me what I was trying to accomplish - I told him that I was just on my way to work and didn't want my bike to overheat (I've heard that's justification for the law) He pulls out the CA motorcycle handbook and points to a highlighted section:

Lane Sharing
Cars and motorcycles each need a full lane to operate safely. Lane sharing is not safe.
Riding between rows of stopped or moving cars in the same lane can leave you vulnerable. A car could turn suddenly or change lanes, a door could open, or a hand could come out of a window. Discourage lane sharing by others. Keep a center position whenever drivers might be tempted to squeeze by you. Drivers are most tempted to do this:
• In heavy, bumper-to-bumper traffic.
• When they want to pass you.
• When you are preparing to turn at an intersection.
• When you are moving into an exit lane or leaving a highway.

I said "OK?" I really didn't understand.

He told me next time he saw me lane sharing on my morning commute he'd write me a ticket instead of showing me the handbook.

So...what gives?
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post #2 of 54 (permalink) Old 04-18-2008, 10:46 AM
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Re: WTF?? - lane sharing illegal

I didn't read anything there about it being illegal...just "unsafe." Whatev. Let him write the ticket. Unless he has something other than personal opinion on his side, you'll get out of it.

p.s. there have been a lot of cops out lately--at the bridge, at random intersections, in quiet neighborhoods. Maybe it's just me. I'll refrain from saying anything else on this topic as it would violate about 47 rules on the DML.
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post #3 of 54 (permalink) Old 04-18-2008, 10:49 AM
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Re: WTF?? - lane sharing illegal

That sounds like the moto equivalent of your mother saying "eat your vegetables". Sure, it's less safe than having a lane all to yourself, but AFAIK, not illegal.

BTW, does the "my bike will overheat" fly if you're riding a water-cooled Monster?

No longer hanging out here, sorry.
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post #4 of 54 (permalink) Old 04-18-2008, 10:57 AM

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Re: WTF?? - lane sharing illegal

From what I understand, it's not specifically illegal in CA but cops have a wide latitude to cite you under CA's basic speed law (essentially, never drive faster than conditions allow, even if you're below the speed limit). I've seen that section of the vehicle handbook, but the CA vehicle code is what's relevant here. I've lane split alongside SFPD and CHP cars without incident, but that was mostly at stoplights so I might have just been lucky

I think the cop was reaching a bit. From your description, it sounds like he didn't have grounds to pull you over. If you weren't driving unreasonably and weren't exceeding posted speed limits, I would have gotten the cop's star number and filed a complaint with the appropriate oversight authority (OCC for SFPD, not sure who for CHP). In any case, I'm glad you didn't get a ticket
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post #5 of 54 (permalink) Old 04-18-2008, 11:03 AM
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Re: WTF?? - lane sharing illegal

Not safe <> illegal
If he writes tickets for lane sharing he's going to be one busy beaver with all his court appearances.
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post #6 of 54 (permalink) Old 04-18-2008, 11:05 AM

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Re: WTF?? - lane sharing illegal

Everything I've checked into on it basically says it's a gray area-I suspect with the amount of motorcycle stupidity going on out there as of late, certain agencies are trying to make a point.

Did he say next time he *saw* you lane splitting or next time he *caught* you?
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post #7 of 54 (permalink) Old 04-18-2008, 11:05 AM

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Re: WTF?? - lane sharing illegal

Originally Posted by B-Rock
Not safe <> illegal
Intuitively, one wouldn't think so...but that's exactly what the basic speed law says:

Basic Speed Law

22350. No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.
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post #8 of 54 (permalink) Old 04-18-2008, 11:16 AM

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Re: WTF?? - lane sharing illegal

This is an excerpt from a thread about lane splitting that I posted in last November.

Two months ago during my National Guard duty (one weekend a month) I was on a mission at Travis AFB. Six of the security force personnel that I was working with are also CHP officers. I ask one of them about lane splitting. He told me that it was kind of a gray area. Being that it is not illegal. However, an officer can write a ticket for "unsafe lane change" or "unsafe speed for conditions". He also stated that if you are in an accident you would most likely be found at fault. Even if hit by a vehicle changing lanes without using a turn signal!

I hope this is helpful.
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post #9 of 54 (permalink) Old 04-18-2008, 11:22 AM

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Re: WTF?? - lane sharing illegal

DQ and PhilJ got it. It's not illegal. You can do it, but they can nail you with other stuff. The fact that he had a highlighted version of the motorcycle handbook says that the guy who pulled you over has a bug up his ass about it. Which some folks do and some don't. It's his prerogative.

If you were ticketed for it, you could probably successfully fight the ticket.
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post #10 of 54 (permalink) Old 04-18-2008, 11:41 AM

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Re: WTF?? - lane sharing illegal

My general rule for lane-splitting is, if I see a cop, I don't do it. That extra time saved is not worth getting pulled over and lectured/ticketed to me.

That being said, it is a gray area in California law.

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