California Moves to Become First State to Legalize Lane-Splitting

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The state assembly has just given us all incentive to invest in a Ducati; a bill passed overwhelmingly on Friday legalizing the practice of freeway lane-splitting, where motorcycles travel in the tight space between cars.

It looks likely that the senate and governor will approve the legislation, making California the first state in the nation to legalize lane-splitting, reports the San Jose Mercury-News. The practice is most common during traffic back-ups, when cars are either slowed or stopped.

Lane-splitting, which irks a significant number of drivers, who either see it as dangerous or are simply envious of motorcycles’ ability to weave around gridlock, has been unofficially allowed by police for decades. Because of the risk of rear-ending, lane-splitting is actually safer than mandating motorcycles stay in lanes, according to a UC-Berkeley study.

The legislation would cap motorcycle speeds at 50 m.p.h., and limit motorcycles from traveling faster than 15 m.p.h. faster than traffic stuck in the lanes.

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