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Is there a way for motorcyclists to split lanes safely?

California is the first, and so far only, state to legalize lane splitting, which refers to the act of riding a motorcycle between lanes or rows of slow moving traffic. The reason California is the only state to have legalized the maneuver, which many also call "white lining," "lane sharing" and "filtering," is because many motorists and lawmakers alike consider the practice unsafe. Since the Golden State legalized lane sharing back in 2017, however, the California Highway Patrol has been hard at work coming up with tips for safe lane splitting. At the end of 2018, the agency finally presented them.

The CHP prefaces the tips by saying that although white lining is legal in California, motorcycle operators should still exercise extreme caution when traveling between rows of traffic, stopped or not. At the end of the day, every rider is responsible for his or her own safety. The CHP further clarifies that they provided the tips to assist motorcycle operators but that they are not guaranteed to keep them safe.

The first tip the CHP recommends is to consider the entire environment before you choose to share lanes. This means taking into account the width of the lanes, the current weather, lighting and roadway conditions and the size of the surrounding vehicles.

The CHP also warns that danger increases as overall speed increases, as well as at greater speed differentials. It encourages riders to lane share the far-left lanes rather than the other lanes and to avoid splitting next to larger vehicles. The agency then reminds riders that riding on the shoulder is illegal.

Finally, the CHP advises rider to always remain visible. This means avoiding blind spots or lingering between vehicles and wearing brightly colored or even protective gear, even during daylight hours.

This content is for your learning purposes only. You should not consider it legal advice. 

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