Has anyone seen the new advisory they've posted?
from the CHP CMSP front page (chp.ca.gov/programs/motorcycle.html):
Information regarding "lane splitting general guidelines" is no longer available.
A petitioner complained to the Office of Administrative Law that there was no formal rulemaking process for the guidelines, and raised other objections. The CHP discussed the issue with the Office of Administrative Law and chose not to issue, use or enforce guidelines and thus removed them from the website.
The underlying purpose of the guidelines was to provide common-sense traffic safety information.
California law does not allow or prohibit motorcycles from passing other vehicles proceeding in the same direction within the same lane, a practice often called "lane splitting," "lane sharing" or "filtering."
[unrelated safety tips fill out the rest of the post]
Creating a safer highway environment is the shared responsibility of drivers and motorcyclists alike. This is achieved by staying alert and using common sense and courtesy while on the road. It is also important for motorcyclists to minimize their risks by riding responsibly, always wearing a helmet and other protective gear and to never ride under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants. Here are other important safety reminders:
Watch your speed-a motorcycle collision is highly likely to cause injury or death
Assume people in cars do not see you.
Avoid blind spots in other vehicles, particularly large trucks
The California Highway Patrol also strongly encourages all motorcycle riders to sign up for the California Motorcyclist Safety Program, which is administered by the CHP as California's official motorcycle safety and training program. The Program offers courses for new and experiences riders. Find out more about the California Motorcyclist Safety Program.
Looks to me like they've had the legality challenged; can't tell if that's because of busybodies with too much time on their hands or if there was a court case involved; neither would surprise me, and either way I can understand why the CHP is trying to backtrack and cover their asses.
It leaves us in a very confusing state, though--"...law does not prohibit or allow..." means officer discretion, which is actually not such a bad deal so long as you're not being a dick--stick to the guidelines and you shouldn't be any more likely to get a ticket than you were before.
It really helps if you know what the cops you'll be riding past think about the issue, though. I've had some success talking to local (city-level) police/county sheriff's officers about non-functioning traffic signals on my commute (left turns late at night, you know the drill), but CHP's phone people were pretty evasive about any and all questions that had anything to do with policy (on that issue, anyhow.) Anyone know another good way to meet CHP officers in a specific area and ask questions?