PALM DESERT, Calif. - Motorcycle lane-splitting is prohibited in 49 of the 50 states, with the lone exception being California. But two weeks ago, proper safety guidelines from certain government websites were removed regarding lane-splitting. One California man made a complaint to the California Office of Administrative Law, saying the service the CHP and DMV was providing was "underground regulation" rather than a public safety tip to drivers. "Some people interpreted them as laws or rules that would be regulated or enforced by our department, and that was not supposed to be the case," said Officer Mike Radford of the California Highway Patrol. "Basically it was supposed to be just a common sense tips for drivers."
The original information said riders should never lane-split at more than 10 mph faster than the stopped or slowed traffic. Lane-splitting should also never occur at speeds over 30 mph and take extra caution in bad weather or on bad roads. Now, riders who aren't used to the practice have to go elsewhere to find out how to properly do it. Randy Whitten, a Coachella Valley resident, has been an avid motorcyclist for 45 years. He said lane-splitting is a must in the desert. "Well as you can tell here in Palm Springs, it was 115 yesterday, and if you had to sit in traffic you'd just boil the motor to death, it would just stop," said Whitten. "And then what are you going to do then? You just push your bike off the side of the road and look for a tow truck. So it's pretty important in this environment and also, not only for the bike, but for your own safety."
Both Whitten and Radford agree lane-splitting should only be done by experienced riders. The American Motorcyclist Association initiated a petition to reverse the California Office of Administrative Law's decision. They believe the Office of Administrative Law is denying the public vital safety information. To see the petition, go to the website below.