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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    8

    Question California Lane Sharing ticket CVC 21658(a)

    I've researched lane sharing (or splitting, as some erroneously call it), and all information mentions that it's legal to share a lane with a vehicle as long as you're completely within your lane, don't exceed the speed limit, and signal 100' before changing lanes.

    What I haven't found is how to fight a ticket received while performing this legal behavior. Anybody have any tips?

    The situation in question was back in October when I was coming back from the beach (gotta love CA weather). I was in the typical beach traffic going north on 17 in the straights between Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley, a wide two lane on a side divided highway. The posted speed limit is 65MPH, traffic was going 55MPH, and I was going between 60 and 65MPH. I was very careful to stay on one side of the line or other, only switch lanes after sufficient signaling, and to not exceed 65MPH. As I've mentioned, I've read on this and know exactly what the law is and was fully complying at the time.

    I was pulled over by an officer who coincidentally had pulled me over before for lanesharing. His position is that lane sharing is only legal if traffic is stopped or moving very slowly. He is very wrong. This time, he wrote me a ticket for CVC 21658(a) and wrote "unsafe lane change" next to it. He never said I wasn't using my turn signal (because I was), only that it was illegal to split lanes. He said (and I quote) "Show me what law allows lane sharing."

    This officer has an obvious misunderstanding of the law, but that hasn't prevented him from pulling me over twice. The first time he circumvented the issue by pacing me once the road was clear (at 60 in a 50). I lost that ticket. This time, however, I'm up against 21658 and could use some help.

    Thanks in advance...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    15,106

    Default Re: California Lane Sharing ticket CVC 21658(a)

    First, the section:

    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.
    (b) Official signs may be erected directing slow-moving traffic to
    use a designated lane or allocating specified lanes to traffic
    moving in the same direction, and drivers of vehicles shall obey the
    directions of the traffic device.


    So ... what exactly did he say you did? It sounds like he is accusing you of straddling the line. If so, and this was not part of an active and safe turning movement, then the violation as cited would seem to be appropriate appropriate. You cannot straddle the lane.

    This concept of "lane sharing" (whatever that is) would seem to be irrelevant. If, by that, you think that it is lawful for two vehicles to be in the same lane of traffic effectively side by side, you are likely to be incorrect ... depending on the circumstances. There are laws that govern the lawful passing of other vehicles and where a vehicle is to be within the lane. But, without seeing the stretch of road or the circumstances, and since it is not the issue here, the question is moot.

    Question: Are you driving an auto? Or are you driving a motorcycle?

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Behind a Desk
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    74,996

    Default Re: California Lane Sharing ticket CVC 21658(a)

    I suspect he's a motorcycle rider who, when traffic gets congested, "shares lanes" with cars so he can pass.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    15,106

    Default Re: California Lane Sharing ticket CVC 21658(a)

    After researching the term, I saw that it's a M/C thing (I like four wheels on the ground, so I never rode). From what I read, it seems to be open to individual interpretation by officers and the courts. There appears to be no bright line rule for motorcycles when it comes to this.

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: California Lane Sharing ticket CVC 21658(a)

    Yep, yep! I was riding a motorcycle at the time. Sorry, I'm used to asking motorcycle legal things on motorcycle sites!

    So yes, he stopped me for lanesharing, claimed it's illegal, yet wrote me a ticket for 21658(a) and wrote on the ticket "Unsafe Lane Change". This would imply that he's going to try and claim that I was switching lanes (not simply sharing the one I was in) in an unsafe manner.

    I hadn't really changed more than a handful of times in the few miles and when I did, always signalled properly. I'm sure he'll say I was weaving through traffic (which I wasn't) so any suggestions before tomorrow @ 1pm on how to counter that without having to resort to "he-said, she-said" stuff would be invaluable.

    Thanks folks!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    196

    Default Re: California Lane Sharing ticket CVC 21658(a)

    Quote Quoting synthesis77
    View Post
    Yep, yep! I was riding a motorcycle at the time. Sorry, I'm used to asking motorcycle legal things on motorcycle sites!

    So yes, he stopped me for lanesharing, claimed it's illegal, yet wrote me a ticket for 21658(a) and wrote on the ticket "Unsafe Lane Change". This would imply that he's going to try and claim that I was switching lanes (not simply sharing the one I was in) in an unsafe manner.

    I hadn't really changed more than a handful of times in the few miles and when I did, always signalled properly. I'm sure he'll say I was weaving through traffic (which I wasn't) so any suggestions before tomorrow @ 1pm on how to counter that without having to resort to "he-said, she-said" stuff would be invaluable.

    Thanks folks!

    According to what I've found in the California DMV handbook, it's stated that while 'lane sharing' is not illegal it is not recommended.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    15,106

    Default Re: California Lane Sharing ticket CVC 21658(a)

    It's also not entirely legal. The law is vague on interpretation and would appear to grant a lot of wiggle room to local officers, agencies, and courts to interpret potentially unsafe movements as they see fit.

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    5,438

    Default Re: California Lane Sharing ticket CVC 21658(a)

    Lane sharing sounds terribly unsafe to me.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    15,106

    Default Re: California Lane Sharing ticket CVC 21658(a)

    Quote Quoting seniorjudge
    Lane sharing sounds terribly unsafe to me.
    To me as well.

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    1,206

    Default Re: California Lane Sharing ticket CVC 21658(a)

    There's a big difference between 'lane sharing' and 'lane splitting'. I practice 'lane splitting' when it seems prudent and I agree 'lane sharing' is a bad idea. I see CHP officers doing it, often, and wonder why they don't know better.

    If they had much experience, I don't think they'd do it. Training is one thing...experience is quite another.

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