CHP Motorcycle Safety Information

chp motorcycle safety

Motorcyclists are over-represented in traffic fatalities in California. While significant gains have been made in other areas relating to traffic safety in recent years, there has been an unfortunate increase in motorcyclist deaths. To reduce the number of motorcycle fatalities, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has a webpage full of motorcycle safety information aimed at riders and other vehicle operators.

Lane Splitting - It's Legal, but It's Also Dangerous

Lane splitting in California has been legal since January 1, 2017. The practice allows motorcyclists to move between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane. This is legal on divided and undivided roads, streets, or highways. 

Because lane splitting can be very dangerous, extreme caution should be used when performing the activity and not be attempted by inexperienced riders. The risk of severe injury or death during a lane-splitting accident increases as vehicle speeds increase. The CHP issues the following safety tips to keep in mind when lane-splitting. The agency points out that these tips are not guaranteed to keep riders safe. Each rider is ultimately responsible for their own decisions and safety.

Lane Splitting: Safety Tips for the Motorcyclist
  • Consider the entire traffic environment before lane splitting, including lane width, the size of other vehicles, roadway conditions, weather, and visibility.
  • Remember that danger increases with greater speed and speed differentials.
  • Splitting the farthest left lane is usually safer than any other lane.
  • Do not lane-split next to large buses, recreational vehicles, or semis.
  • Riding on the road's shoulder is not defined as lane splitting and is illegal.
  • Do not remain in other vehicles' blind spots.
  • Wear reflective or bright-colored gear and use high-beam headlights even in daylight to increase visibility.
Lane Splitting Facts Other Vehicle Operators Need to Keep in Mind
  • Lane splitting by motorcycle riders is legal in California.
  • It is illegal to intentionally block a lane-splitting motorcyclist in a way that could result in harm, including opening a vehicle door to block the rider.
  • Motorists in the far left lane must give motorcyclists room to pass by moving to the left of their lane.

Watch the YouTube video. Ultimate Motorcycling offers 17 tips for expert lane splitting.

Safety Tips For All Motorists That Could Reduce Motorcycle Collisions
  • Check blind spots and mirrors, particularly before turning or changing lanes.
  • Use your turn signal before changing lanes or merging.
  • Be alert and remain anticipatory of possible movements by other vehicle operators.
  • Never drive or ride while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or fatigue.
  • Be courteous and share the road.
A Few Other Safety Reminders Specifically for Motorcyclists
  • Wear a helmet - always. Since 1992 it has been the law in California, and despite numerous efforts to repeal it, statistics support helmet laws.  
  • Ride at a safe speed. A motorcycle accident at higher speeds will likely cause severe injuries or death.
  • Be aware of and avoid lingering in the blind spot of other vehicles, especially large trucks.
  • Always assume that people driving other vehicles cannot see you and ride defensively.
Fair Oaks Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Motorcycle riders are often injured due to the negligence of other drivers. While motorcyclists have the same legal rights as everyone else on the road, they are often the victims of limited visibility and inattention by other motorists. When a collision between a passenger vehicle and a motorcycle occurs, the rider is frequently left with serious injuries. When that collision is caused by another's negligence, the rider is entitled to compensation for their medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. For compassionate, free, and friendly advice from one of our injury lawyers, call (916) 921-6400 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400. You may also choose to use our online contact form.

Our law office is dedicated to assisting injured Fair Oaks residents. Our team of attorneys has handled cases of all types, including wrongful death claims, traffic crashes, and client injuries ranging from spinal cord trauma to traumatic brain injuries.

See our past cases of Settlements and Verdicts.

Editor's Note: updated [cha 7.10.23] Image by Mabel Amber from Pixabay mm [cs 689] cha

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