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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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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. ;D
 

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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? ;)
 

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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 ;D
 

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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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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? >:D
 

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B-Rock said:
Not safe <> illegal
Intuitively, one wouldn't think so...but that's exactly what the basic speed law says:
http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc22350.htm

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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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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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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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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I would like to know what handbook he used. The handbook I had did not mention lane sharing at all, and I took the test last August. I asked at the MSF class and was told it isn't legal or illegal. It's a risk because you can get a jerk cop or CHP with PMS who decides it's unsafe >:D + :police:. Also, if something happens, your fault or not, it WILL be your fault for splitting lanes. I don't do it that often, but it comes in handy when the traffic is thick and slow. I'm sure as I get more experience, I'll do it more often.
 

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MBalmer said:
I would like to know what handbook he used. The handbook I had did not mention lane sharing at all, and I took the test last August. I asked at the MSF class and was told it isn't legal or illegal. It's a risk because you can get a jerk cop or CHP with PMS who decides it's unsafe >:D + :police:. Also, if something happens, your fault or not, it WILL be your fault for splitting lanes. I don't do it that often, but it comes in handy when the traffic is thick and slow. I'm sure as I get more experience, I'll do it more often.
Well-said [thumbsup] There are times when I think it's safer to split lanes and other times when I don't. I generally only do it at stoplights, and almost never on the freeway.

Oh, and one of the handbooks (motorcycle or general license) definitely has that statement on lane sharing. I remember seeing it when BikerGoddess was studying for her permit.
 

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Ya all that. +1 I've blown past many cops who didn't bat an eye. I simply try to 'look' extra careful and serious. Keep it to 10MPH > traffic which is what I read. Let's face it, if you look half asleep or you've got something to prove (not saying you do anyone), you probably look like food to cops. [laugh]

:police: related note: :police:
It seems to be that time of the month, as one officer explained to me as he wrote me a ticket. 'once a month ever officer available is out writing tickets to everything that moves...' they're making quota right now. North of Potrero yesterday 3 cops all lined up nabbing one vehicle after another for cross-walk/stop signs technicalities. 3 more motorcycle cops at another intersection. 2 had prey with lights on as I passed. wow. no-foolling


Mostrobelle said:
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. ;D
 

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It would nice to have that section fo the handbook, as well as the law, clarified. Hello, AMA? Better yet, LEO's should train for and enforce a consistent interpretation of the law. It only confuses the matter to have multiple interpretations on the street, especially when one realizes the advantages of safety and convenience that lane sharing offers.

*conspiracy hat*

If SF just lost a ****-ton of federal grant money for public safety/homeland security/whatever, where do you think they'll make it up?
 

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enzo said:
consistent interpretation of the law.
HU?!!!

Dude you're clearly missing the whole point of having laws. If it wasn't next to impossible to understand, there'd be no lawyers. (Sorry Spidey) + they couldn't throw your arse in jail when they decided you were a pain in their agenda.

At least they could be more honest and drive gray cars instead of black and whites as if there was a well defined line ha ha [laugh]
 

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enzo said:
It would nice to have that section fo the handbook, as well as the law, clarified. Hello, AMA? Better yet, LEO's should train for and enforce a consistent interpretation of the law.
Actually, I suspect any "clarification" of the law would result in an outright ban on lane splitting. Given the power of the insurance lobby in Sacramento (lane split ban-->more violations-->higher premiums), I'm not sure I'd want to take on that fight right now.
 

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desmoquattro said:
Actually, I suspect any "clarification" of the law would result in an outright ban on lane splitting. Given the power of the insurance lobby in Sacramento (lane split ban-->more violations-->higher premiums), I'm not sure I'd want to take on that fight right now.
I hate insurance companies, except when I need them to buy me a new vehicle when I wreck mine. Then I love them. :-\ It's confusing. I lovehate them. :mad: :)

I think they are the reason people are getting stupider and dumber. "Guard-rails" and automatic safety devices on everything means people don't think anymore. Evolution is curtailed and stupid f*kers bread when they would otherwise have just fallen off of a cliff or something. (I have a nasty mouth this morning :-X ) That means its more dangerous for us to ride in traffic in the first place because its almost safe to drive asleep now knowing you have a big pillow to save you in your steering wheel.
 

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Thing is... I was on the Bay Bridge 2 days ago, Westbound, Western span, lanesharing between lanes 1/2, 35mph, probably about +10 to traffic flow. Despite me checking mirrors pretty frequently, quite suddenly a moto CHP appears and swings into an open space to my left and around me, and recommences lanesharing in my path ahead of me. For once I thought I might have risked a ticket for being too damn slow. [laugh]

The fact this guy gave you that roadside CVC tutorial baffles me.
 

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I was also told once, after being pulled over for riding my motorcycle on the sidewalk (traffic was really bad,) that perhaps I should "laneshare" in the street instead... [laugh]
 

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B-Rock said:
Not safe <> illegal
If he writes tickets for lane sharing he's going to be one busy beaver with all his court appearances.
I think its like this. {Not Safe >_ illegal}

(Can't make the underscore go under the greater than sign) there is probably no point to this......

And it should be more like this.

{Not Safe | Not Safe >_ illegal}

In which we say the set of all Not safe's are greater than illegal, up to and including, Not Safe.
 
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