Over 800,000 motorcyclists call California their home. If you are lucky enough to be one of them, you get to enjoy year-round riding as some of the nation’s most beautiful scenery passes you by. From majestic Redwood forests and rolling vineyards to lonely desert roads and narrow ocean highways, motorcyclists from San Diego to Sacramento can ride for days and never see the same scenery twice!
California traffic? What traffic?
To help ease the congestion of that famous California rush hour traffic, which many people in CA will say is 24-7, and to reduce the number of rear end collisions, the state allows motorcycles to lane split. If done properly and safely, lane splitting can protect motorcyclists from injury and can provide them with a safe and easy way to move through heavy congested traffic where the risk of sustaining a rear-end accident is greater.
In CA, lane splitting is also referred to as lane sharing, filtering, or white-lining, and it refers to the process of riding in between lanes of stopped or slower moving traffic. It is important to note, however, that lane splitting should only be done safely and responsibly, and in traffic that is either stopped or moving very slowly. It is not safe to ride in-between faster moving cars.
According to the California Highway Patrol’s website, motorcyclists in CA should follow these guidelines when lane splitting.
· Do not ride faster than 10 mph faster than the traffic around you.
· When traffic is moving at more than 30 mph, lane splitting is not advised, as the overall danger increases.
· Riding between #1 and #2 lanes is safer than splitting other lanes.
· Always consider your environment before choosing to split lanes. If the weather is bad, lighting condition is poor, or the lane widths are too narrow, lane splitting is not advised.
· Always remain alert and anticipate possible lane changes by other drivers. Just because you are allowed to ride between lanes, never assume that other drivers have noticed you.
Another great riding option for CA motorcyclists is the fairly new Metro ExpressLanes. While automobile drivers need a transponder to participate in this program, bikes are FREE and do not need a transponder. The Metro ExpressLanes can help you get through traffic faster on the 110 and 10 freeways and motorcyclists can take advantage of this great feature without paying a toll. This is just another great option for California bikers and will help continue to make motorcycling in the state so unbelievable.
**A few motorcyclists have complained that they have been sent a ticket for using the Metro ExpressLanes – as of the date of this posting and according to the Metro ExpressLanes website motorcycles do not need a transponder and if they receive a ticket to call customer service.**
California lawmakers also emphasize safety and routinely run safety awareness campaigns and offering motorcycle-training programs for interested bikers. In fact, the CA Motorcyclist Safety Program trains more than 65,000 motorcyclists a year at over 120 training sites across the state.
California weather and scenery – tops in the Nation!
Motorcyclists in Northern CA get to ride along Pacific Coast Highway 1, which is pretty much one of the most beautiful drives in the country. From Monterrey, California to Big Sur and down to San Simeon, motorcyclists can ride along the coastline, while baby sea lions splash in the ocean. Or they can choose to ride through the Wine Country and alongside rolling vineyards peppered with grape vines and bistros.Motorcyclists in Central CA can take a day trip through Yosemite National Park or to see the giant Redwoods. There are rolling farmlands and orchards full of ripe fruit lining the roads and local farmers markets to attend. In Southern CA, motorcyclists can beat the heat by heading to the beach for a cruise along the Pacific Ocean or head into the desert to escape the noise and the crowds. Bikers can channel their inner cowboy and head towards Bakersfield and into Death Valley National Park and the Mojave National Preserve.
California riders use BAM when they’re in a jam. BAM, Free Emergency Breakdown and Legal Assistance for Motorcyclists is a volunteer network of fellow riders willing to help out fellow riders in emergency breakdown situations. Available 24-7, all a rider needs to do is call 1-800-4-BIKERS and the BAM network will contact volunteers in that area to see who can come and assist. A great tool to carry with you while you ride the beautiful open road in CA. To learn more about BAM call 1-800-424-5377 or check it out on the web.