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    Default Unsafe Lane Change in Orange County, California 21658(A) VC

    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: CA

    I would like to know if I would have a realistic chance fighting this citation as I do believe I did everything I could to make a safe lane change. Furthermore, due to the fact that I did not see him I believe he was cutting thru the traffic himself.

    Thank you.

    21658(a)VC - Unsafe Lane Change
    Dash thru Speed, Approx. P.F./Max Spd., Veh Lmt., Safe,


    As I was approaching a red light in a congested intersection I slowed-down and signaled to move into the left turning lane once traffic moved (light turned green). As the the light turned yellow an approaching car slowed-down and waved me into their lane. I completely (slowly) merged into the lane and stopped (light turned red); then I heard a motorcycle cops' horn. I waited thru the light made my left turn and drove out about 50ft before the cop signaled me to pull over.

    The cop approached my car; took my info and told me I nearly sideswiped him. I apologized and explained to him that I did not see him when I looked over my shoulder; he must have been in my blind-spot. He wrote-up the citation and told me to look harder next time and that his heart was still racing. I apologized again and reiterated the fact that I did look over my shoulder and did not see him. He told me "it happens to all of us."

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Unsafe Lane Change in Orange County, California 21658(A) VC

    If I remember correctly, I believe that it is legal for motorcycles to pass between lanes of traffic in CA. I think traffic has to be traveling below a certain speed and the motorcycle cannot be going more than X MPH faster than traffic. If that is true, then a) it would be legal for a cop on a motorcycle to do this and b) drivers would be expected to take this into account when changing lanes. However, you signaled your intent and a driver in the adjacent lane stopped to allow you to move over. That would seem to indicate to a reasonable and prudent cyclist that it was not safe to pass. You might get a sympathetic judge who would dismiss the charge considering the circumstances. However, I'm a little fuzzy on the issue.

    Anyone here know the specific requirements for a motorcycle to pass between lanes of traffic? (I'm lazy tonight and don't feel like doing the research)
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    Default Re: Unsafe Lane Change in Orange County, California 21658(A) VC

    Quote Quoting PTPD22
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    Anyone here know the specific requirements for a motorcycle to pass between lanes of traffic? (I'm lazy tonight and don't feel like doing the research)
    The law in California is vague about this. There's a post from 2009 on this forum that seems to cover the issues pretty well.

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    Default Re: Unsafe Lane Change in Orange County, California 21658(A) VC

    Quote Quoting hetcher2@yahoo.com
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    I do believe I did everything I could to make a safe lane change.

    Except... As you told the officer... You didn't check your blind spot!


    Quote Quoting hetcher2@yahoo.com
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    Furthermore, due to the fact that I did not see him I believe he was cutting thru the traffic himself.

    Actually, based on what you told us about what you told him, there are two things you should "believe"... (1) that you failed to check your blind spot and/or (2) (which may have been an after thought) that he was cutting through traffic himself.


    Quote Quoting hetcher2@yahoo.com
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    21658(a)VC - Unsafe Lane Change
    Dash thru Speed, Approx. P.F./Max Spd., Veh Lmt., Safe,

    Regarding the "Dash thru Speed" comment, is that something he noted on the citation or is that your comment?


    Quote Quoting hetcher2@yahoo.com
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    As I was approaching a red light in a congested intersection I slowed-down and signaled to move into the left turning lane once traffic moved (light turned green). As the the light turned yellow an approaching car slowed-down and waved me into their lane. I completely (slowly) merged into the lane and stopped (light turned red);...
    If I were the judge hearing this part... the first question that popped in my head as I read it is this: You were able to see the driver in the adjacent lane wave you into their lane (meaning you could see as far as the left edge of the adjacent lane) and yet you couldn't see a motorcycle splitting/sharing lanes as it came through on the right edge of the adjacent lane?

    That is assuming that you saw him wave you in through your rear view mirror... Otherwise, he would have had to have been adjacent to you, he then somehow manages to see your blinker, and as he waves you in, he slows down enough not only to let you pass him, but to also allow you full access to his/her lane!


    Quote Quoting hetcher2@yahoo.com
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    ... then I heard a motorcycle cops' horn. I waited thru the light made my left turn and drove out about 50ft before the cop signaled me to pull over.
    I've never seen an officer light anyone up at a red light... Typically, and unless this is a "fresh pursuit" or a "police chase", they will wait until a green indication is shown and even then, if you are turning then typically they will wait until you've completed your turn... Obviously, this is to avoid having you panic and either enter the intersection on red or somehow mess up your turn.

    Now, before I get to the next part, let me cite VC 21658(a):


    21658. Whenever any roadway has been divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic in one direction, the following rules apply:
    (a) A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practical entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from the lane until such movement can be made with reasonable safety.


    Quote Quoting hetcher2@yahoo.com
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    The cop approached my car; took my info and told me I nearly sideswiped him. I apologized and explained to him that I did not see him when I looked over my shoulder; he must have been in my blind-spot. He wrote-up the citation and told me to look harder next time and that his heart was still racing. I apologized again and reiterated the fact that I did look over my shoulder and did not see him.

    So you apologized twice and twice "admitted that you may have made the lane change without checking your blind spot" (or if I may use the words from VC 21658(a), you moved out of your lane and moved into another without checking to see if such movement can be made with reasonable safety)... And yet at no time, did you mention to the officer that the other driver waved you into their lane?


    Quote Quoting hetcher2@yahoo.com
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    I would like to know if I would have a realistic chance fighting this citation...
    I'm glad you asked for a "realistic" chance... In my opinion, you actually admitted committing the violation. Normally, an officer will likely make a note of such admission and very likely to mention it as part of his testimony. Second, put yourself on a motorcycle, and go through the experience of someone cutting you off like it sounds here, you too will make it a point to respond to a written declaration, and or appear at a trial!


    Quote Quoting hetcher2@yahoo.com
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    He told me "it happens to all of us."
    Cool, I am glad you included that part simply because my "second" comment above can be easily misconstrued as if to suggest that he's holding a grudge... I doubt it; I only meant that only to suggest that incidents like that one where you were almost laid out on the pavement, are not easily forgotten!

    Good luck!




    Quote Quoting PTPD22
    View Post
    If I remember correctly, I believe that it is legal for motorcycles to pass between lanes of traffic in CA. I think traffic has to be traveling below a certain speed and the motorcycle cannot be going more than X MPH faster than traffic. If that is true, then a) it would be legal for a cop on a motorcycle to do this and b) drivers would be expected to take this into account when changing lanes. However, you signaled your intent and a driver in the adjacent lane stopped to allow you to move over. That would seem to indicate to a reasonable and prudent cyclist that it was not safe to pass. You might get a sympathetic judge who would dismiss the charge considering the circumstances. However, I'm a little fuzzy on the issue.

    Anyone here know the specific requirements for a motorcycle to pass between lanes of traffic? (I'm lazy tonight and don't feel like doing the research)
    There is no restriction whatsoever on speed of either the motorcycle or traffic (with the exception of the posted/statutory speed limits).

    The only requirement I can think of (if you're using the lane "sharing" description) is that there must be more that 1 lane for a M/C to lane share/split -meaning (if only one lane) you cannot pass on the right and you can only pass on the left if/when permitted...

    And actually, now that I think about that one, you obviously could not lane split/share to the right of another vehicle which is in the right-most lane, or to the left of a vehicle which is in the left-most lane on a roadway (either of those are illegal simply because you are using the shoulder to pass).

    I don't think there is a difference between lane sharing or lane splitting... I think the terms are interchangeable as there is no definition for either in the Vehicle Code. In fact, a search on the DMV website for "lane splitting" resulted in the following results, the first of which talks about "sharing a lane"... What it actually talks about is "sharing the road" with any/all types of vehicles including M/Cs and it only mkes a few comments in that regards... The ones I found as relevant are: (note how in the first line it refers to it as "share" and describes it as "not illegal" and in the last one it refers to it as "splitting" and describes it as "legal":


    Quote Quoting CA-DMV @ [url
    http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/hdbk/shr_slow_veh.htm][/url]
    • Allow the motorcycle a full lane width. Although it is not illegal to share lanes with motorcycles, it is unsafe.
    • Never try to pass a motorcycle in the same lane you are sharing with the motorcycle.
    • When you make a turn, check for motorcyclists and gauge their speed before turning.
    • Look carefully for motorcyclists before opening doors next to moving traffic or before turning right.
    • Motorcycles may travel faster than traffic during congested road conditions and can legally travel in the unused space between two lines of moving or stationary vehicles; this is commonly called "lane splitting."

    Also, there is no restriction or prohibition on two motorcycles riding side-by-side in the same lane... Of course the safe way of doing it is in a staggered formation (the way its done at most M/C meets and ride-alongs), then again I've seen cops doing it side by side and I assume there is a "safe" benefit to doing so as well.


    Quote Quoting themadnorwegian
    View Post
    The law in California is vague about this. There's a post from 2009 on this forum that seems to cover the issues pretty well.
    Thanks for the link, TMN... I enjoy reading older threads especially when they end with as funny story as this one does.. And it goes without saying... But you have to appreciate the accuracy of statistics this guy is referring to (its not 85%, its not 90%... Nope, its 87%) :


    Quote Quoting HarleyRider
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    I have been researching the subject of lane sharing (aka lane splitting/aka whitelining). There is no clear cut law in place.

    Lane splitting by motorcycles is permissible but must be done in a safe and prudent manner.

    That was taken off of the CHP wibsite.

    Now let discuss why Lane sharing is legal!. For those of you who do not ride....here you go. Every hear of overheating? Well motorcycles overheat too, even quicker than cars and trucks. 87% of bikes on the road today are AIR cooled. So you might be scratching your head.....Air cooled bikes need to be moving to stay cool.
    What do we have an overabundance of here in California? TRAFFIC! So lane sharing was made legal to keep the motorcyles from overheated and breaking down on the side of the road.


    Now there is no excuse for people who do it unsafely, and I have to say that the peorson who fisrt brought this question to the forum was being excessive and unsafe. This is coming from a rider of 13 years. Anything more that 10 MPH over what traffic is doing is excessive Also if you are lane splitting at any speed over 35 than you are being unsafe. there is no reason to lane share over that!

    Just wanted to add my piece in on this one!

    I would easily buy his use of "air cooled" if he had simply reasoned that it would be cooler for a motorcycle to wait at the front of a line up of cars at a red light, rather that where it is likely warmer behind all those vehicles with their exhausts pointing towards the rear... Although he may be talking about a congested freeway situation!

    A lesser known misconception, is that the white line painted to the left of the double solid yellow lines along the right side of any HOV lanes/(along the left side of regular lanes of traffic), is a lane dedicated for M/Cs to ride through... Not true...

    The reason that white line is there is simply because VC 21651 can be interpreted to mean that you cannot drive to the left of a double solid yellow lines separating two roadways... At which time, and without the white line, each and every carpool lane driver would be in violation. Well, the white line is painted there to make it legal to drive to the left of the double solid yellow lines simply because you are now driving to the left of the solid white lines, which, as you may already know, is typically used to mark the right edge of a roadway!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Unsafe Lane Change in Orange County, California 21658(A) VC

    I dont have anything new to bring except my own problem. I was cited for 21658 and as the report reads the vehicles passenger tires drifted across the white line from the number two lane and into the number 1 lane and then back again. There was no mention of another vehicle. I was pulled over and asked how much I had to drink. I was arrested for a DUI because I was on the last 6 months of my probation and had a .06 BAC.

    I was just about to stop the car before I was pulled , because I was messing with my phone, I signaled to the right, because I wanted to pull over and adjust my phone to music. It was when I turned my signal light on that I was pulled over, however I was completely in my lane. There's no mention of that in the report. I know there was no car next to me when I signaled however Im waiting on the video to see if there was a vehicle next to me when I went over the dividing line for a sec. However only my passenger tires crossed the line...I wasn't trying to make a lane change..I was messing with my phone.

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