Riding in Honor of America's Heroes

California State Law - Patriot Rider Info:

 State of California Rules on Protesters at Military Funerals

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KABC) -- California now bans protests near funerals. Gov. Jerry Brown has approved a bill in response to demonstrations by a small Kansas church.

Members routinely picket military funerals, calling America's war deaths "God's punishment" for society's tolerance of homosexuality.

SB661 by Democratic Assemblyman Ted Lieu of Torrance says protesters will now have to stay at least 300 feet away from funerals. Violators face fines up to $1,000 and six months in jail starting Jan. 1.

Brown vetoed a similar bill last year, citing a potential conflict with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing protests outside military funerals. The previous bill said demonstrators had to stay 1,000 feet way.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 (Copyright ©2012 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

 Read here:  http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news%2Fstate&id=8814878



Carpool Lanes vs Splitting Lanes vs the Law


Reviewing the many sources for this answer, CA law is in compliance with Federal Law as concerns motorcycles in the carpool lanes.  Many states allow this.  


The following website states:  http://www.dsa.csupomona.edu/parking/questions.asp#52

Motorcycles are permitted by federal law to use HOV lanes, even though they typically carry only one passenger.  The reason is that allowing motorcycles to use HOV lanes keeps them moving, and it is considered safer to keep two-wheel vehicles moving than it is to have them traveling in start-and-stop traffic conditions.  The federal law allowed individual states to override this provision, if they determine that there is an inherent safety risk by allowing motorcycles to use HOV lanes.  Initially, the State of California did not allow motorcycles in HOV lanes.  That changed with legislation passed in 1998, permitting motorcycles to use HOV lanes.

While most motorcycles may use less fuel, they actually produce more air pollution than many passenger vehicles.  The California Air Resources Board (CARB) reports that motorcycles now produce up to 15 times the emissions per mile as the average new car or light-duty truck.  CARB has enacted a two-tier emission standard that is to be met by manufacturers in 2004 and 2008.  The EPA reports that motorcycles produce more harmful emissions per mile than driving a car or even a large sport utility vehicle (SUV) and adopted, in December 2003, national standards for motorcycle exhaust emissions.

Simply put, motorcycles are allowed to use HOV lanes for safety, not because they are less polluting.

 Is there a proposed change in CA?  Well, it certainly is possible as the Federal Law leaves the right to allow motorcycles into the lane up to California.   Even the current law provides for CA to POST the lane and refuse the right to all motorcycles.  Could you be seeing this in the future?  Better get your phone or email out and start writing/dialing/typing or you may see this happening.   A change to one universal law like this could be the first step in a major set of new rules limiting motorcycles on our freeways.


Why motorcycles in HOV lanes?

I listened to a report that motorcycle emissions are much worse than cars, despite better mileage/less weight.  That got me thinking about why we are allowing our motorcycles in HOV lanes.  After investigation, here are the facts.
California's Air Resources Board has recently imposed standards [1] that cut emissions of motorcycles closer to car emission standards.  Indeed, without these standards, "motorcycles now produce up to 15 times the emissions per mile as the average new car or light-duty truck" (also in [1]), despite getting better mileage.  The EPA has followed suit in 2005 with similar NOx and HC restrictions [2] starting in 2006 and lowering again in 2010.
According to US DOT Federal Highway Program's website, the "primary purpose of an HOV lane is to increase the total number of people moved through a congested corridor ", and they are also an "environmentally friendly option" [3].  However, motorcyles are neither environmentally friendly due to the worse emissions, nor do they move more people through congested traffic per unit time, as motorcycles need as much or more space between vehicles as carpools due to the difficulty of executing panic-brakes, and they do so with only one passenger.
A natural question is: why are we allowing motorcycles in our HOV Lanes when they do not help in achieving HOV lane goals? 
I got the answer from the WS DOT website [4].  Washington State is not the only state that allows motorcycles in HOV lanes.  All states must in order to get federal aid [5].  No reasoning is given in [5], although [4] states that "it is safer to keep two-wheeled vehicles moving than to have them in start-and-stop traffic conditions".  Thus, although motorcycles may not contribute to HOV goals, disallowing them in HOV lanes would be unsafe.
What does all this mean?  It means that if you drive a motorcycle during rush hour, you are driving a vehicle that the federal government needs to make special ad-hoc accomodations for in order to preserve your safety, despite such accomodations undermining HOV lane goals.  You are also most likely driving a vehicle, even if it is new and subject to new standards, that has per-person emissions standards grossly incommensurate with cars.
I won't pass judgment on any side of this issue, but I hope that providing the facts will be insightful for motorcycle enthusiasts, carpoolers, environmentalists, and in general, good citizens.

As printed in http://travis-krick.spaces.live.com/blog/cns%21B560E6E349C6DE41%21233.entry 


  1. FWIW, lane splitting is not definitively legal in California, it’s merely not specifically outlawed. The CHP allows it, because they do it so much, but even they’ll write you if you’re being an idiot. A motor CHP I talked to in a 7-11 years ago said that splitting anywhere near the speed limit, or splitting more than 10mph faster than car traffic and he’d find something to write you for, probably unsafe lane change.

    And local cops in some cities are seriously zero tolerance on splitting. At the very least they can almost always find justification for “unsafe lane change” or “lane change without signalling”. Which surprises many bikers accustomed to freeway splitting.

    This guy gets bonus deathwish points for the black jacket and black helmet.

  2. I-95, U-405, on February 9th, 2007 at 8:50 pm Said:

  3. Hey Roger, thanks for the post. After reading what you wrote, I dug around for a bit more information. You were pretty dead on….here’s what I found:

    —>Is lane-splitting legal?
    Here’s the text (verbatim) from the CHP’s site: “Lane splitting by motorcycles is permissible under California law but must done in a safe and prudent manner.” The text used to also include “The motorcycle should be traveling no more than 10 mph faster than surrounding traffic (without exceeding the speed limit) and not come close enough to that traffic to cause a collision.” but has since been removed. Perhaps they wanted to give cops more latitude to interpret what they thought was safe so they removed it.

    If you lane split, avoid weaving between the two lanes and don’t exceed traffic speed by more than 10 mph. The former could get you a ticket for changing lanes without signaling while the latter could get you a ticket for reckless driving.

    Your odds of getting ticketed also increase if you lane split between the carpool and fast lane. [Which is what this guy was doing] A double yellow line divides the two lanes and those are illegal to cross (with rare exceptions that would never occur on the freeway); I know of riders who have been specifically ticketed for crossing the double yellow while lane splitting between those lanes.

    Lane splitting on surface streets is probably not addressed in city or county laws so I would do this with caution, as individual cops will decide whether or not they like what they see. I split lanes on surface streets if I don’t see any cops, but I stop immediately if I spot one.

    There’s a little bit of information on “lane sharing” in the DMV Motorcycle handbook. They say to discourage its practice, but never say it’s illegal.< ---

    The CHP site is vague, as stated: http://www.chp.ca.gov/html/answers.html