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Resident: ‘Lane-splitting’ not a good idea for Maryland motorists

As a 25-year California resident (1984-2008) and a motorcycle rider, I was intrigued by the piece by Colin Campbell in the March 1 issue, "Bill would allow motorcycle riding between lanes of traffic" referring to Del. Kathy Szeliga's proposed legislation. The piece implies that California has (specifically) legalized lane-splitting by motorcycles. In actuality this is not quite correct, as there is no motor vehicle law in California that does this. Reality is that there is no specific law in the California vehicle code that prohibits more than one vehicle from occupying a single space in a traffic lane. Since two vehicles in one lane is not prohibited, two motorcycles or one motorcycle and one car can legally occupy the same lane. To me, legalizing "lane-splitting" implies that the motorcycle can ride on the lane divider, but under the California laws, this would be a violation since vehicles are required to "stay in lane" as well.

But the most interesting aspect is that the vast majority (if not all!) of motorcylists in California are unaware of the real law; they think that they (and only they) are specifically allowed to "split lanes.” Just watch what happens if a car tries to "split the lane" with a motorcycle — which is just as legal under the statute — the cyclist will react in a very negative and angry manner.

I am not sure that this is a very good piece of legislation for Maryland.

Robert C. Rassa, Fallston

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