No sooner did the California Highway Patrol attempt to demistify its rulebook for lane-splitting in the Golden State, then did California State Senate Bill 350 get drafted and put on the state’s voting docket. A piece of legislation put forth by Sen. Jim Beall (D-San Jose), S.B. 350 would have put greater restrictions on motorcyclists’ ability to lane-split on Californian highways.
Introduced on February 20th, Senator Beall’s proposed law would have made lane-splitting legal in only certain circumstances: on divided highways with three or more lanes of travel in the same direction, only when traffic is congested, and only at “a safe” speed.
For the time being Californian motorcyclists have dodged a possible bullet, as Senator Beall has since abandoned the proposed piece of legislature. However, Senator Beall’s office said it would reconsider proposing the lane-splitting regulations once the results of UC Berkeley’s safety study have been published.
As I have written before, if there was a single issue that the AMA should be pushing for on the legislative end of its programs, it should be the adoption of pro lane-splitting laws in every state, which makes California’s pro lane-splitting stance a venerable example to use in that debate.
A notable benefit for traveling via two-wheels in California, Europe, and just about everywhere else except the other 49 states of the Union, the ability to flow through congested traffic and stopped vehicle queues is a credible value-added reason to own a motorcycle.