California bill would legalize motorcycle lane-splitting

Motorcyclists ride along Canada Street during the Americade motorcycle rally on Wednesday, June 5, 2013, in Lake George, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

California may become the first state to explicitly allow motorcycles to weave between stalled cars in traffic.

The Assembly on Thursday approved legislation permitting lane-splitting.

Bikers who navigate congested roads by driving through the middle of lanes are in a legal gray area in California, though law enforcement has permitted the practice. Other states explicitly ban lane-splitting.

Assemblymen Bill Quirk of Hayward and Tom Lackey of Palmdale say the practice should be legal so the state can offer safety guidance.

Their bill, AB51, says motorcycles must drive below 50 miles an hour when splitting lanes.

It is supported by law enforcement groups. The American Motorcyclist Association opposes AB51 in favor of less strict rules.

The bill heads to the Senate after passing on a 53 to 11 vote, without debate.
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