The California State Legislature has made amendments to the state’s Vehicle Code regarding the rights of motorcyclists. If passed, the Assembly Bill (AB 51) will endanger Californiaís bikers and certainly shatter the state’s standing as one of the best places to ride a motorbike.
The proposed law is posted on the Official California Legislative Information website. While it is true that lane splitting has been advocated by motorcyclists for years now, and they have been petitioning the government to allow it, the amendments in the Assembly Bill are actually putting bikers at more risk. The proposed amendments permit lane splitting by motorcyclists at a maximum of 50 miles per hour and run at not more than 15 mph faster than the flow of traffic. The existing law provides for a maximum of 30 mph and travel at a limit of 10 miles per hour faster than the flow of traffic.
The bill passed the first stage by a vote of 58 – 14 and is now in the State Senate. But what is missing here is that members of the legislature do not realize that motorcyclists are naturally cautious and it is practice and skill that can prevent accidents, not speed limits.
If laws on lane splitting are determined by political interests rather than actual real time events, bikers become vulnerable to accidents with other drivers who are not as careful. Speed is not always the culprit. Often, it is necessary if one is to avoid collisions and prevent injuries or death.
Under the new lane splitting amendments, protection for riders is not enhanced. It does not lower the possibility for accidents and still exposes them to its risks. Lawyer Michael Ehline can better explain to you about the changes to AB 51. Being a motorcyclist himself, he completely understands the situation and advises a victim or the family to fight for their rights in cases of wrongful death or personal injuries due to a motorcycle accident.
Update : As of August 6, 2015, it has been reported that AB 51 that was passed in May has been put on hold and postponed for 2016 pending further studies.