I got a ticket for splitting lanes. In California.

The day started out very badly.  In my way in to work this morning, I stopped at Albertson’s for some snacks for the day.  This Albertsons is located on the main way in to the military installation where I work.  On one side of the road, it’s two lanes that merge into a single lane.  It is always full of cars, and they are mainly stopped due to the excessive traffic going into the base.

As I reached the entrance to the road from the parking lot, I saw a CHP motor cop almost directly in front of me. I stopped at the edge of the exit from the parking lot, looked to my left to see if any motorcycles were coming up the side of the lane–as hundreds do every day on this stretch of road, since the traffic is always backed up about a block back. Seeing no one coming I turned into the lane, and followed the path shown below  by the pale blue arrow.

Traffic Diagram
Traffic Diagram

The CHP cop pulled out of his lane and lit me up.  I stopped and asked whyt he stopped me, and he said it was for illegal passing. To make a long story short, an argument about lane-splitting ensued, in which the CHP officer denied that the California Vehicle Code allowed lane-sharing in California, and demanded I cite the CVC section that allowed it.  I had my smartphone with me, and punched up the CHP official web site, and showed him the FAQ on lane sharing that is on the CHP’s FAQ page.  His response was to say, “Well, I don’t know why they put that on there.”

In other words, a CHP motorcycle officer denied that California allows lane sharing for motorcycles, and had no knowledge of why the CHP’s official web site said it was legal.

He cited me for unsafe passing on the shoulder, despite the fact that at no time did I cross the white shoulder line, and stayed entirely in the traffic lane. Moreover, it should be obvious from the diagram above that, with the traffic stopped as it was, it would have been physically impossible for him to observe whether or not I crossed the shoulder, as a line of stopped vehicles completely obscured any possible line of sight to the roadway.

In the 12 years I’ve used this gate into the installation, the common practice is for motorcycles to share the #2 lane. It is done constantly.

But what really burned me up was that after he had cited me, and handed me the yellow copy, he then proceeded to question me about my usual route to work, times, etc. From his tone and demeanor, I inferred that to be a threat to single me out for special attention on my morning commute, solely because I had the temerity to argue with him over the legality of lane sharing, and informing him that I would be fighting the ticket in court. When I asked him why he was questioning me in this manner, he said, “I’m just asking questions.” So, I told him that I had been a police officer for ten years, so I knew exactly what the import of those questions was.

I respond poorly to threats, so, as soon as it opened, I called the Oceanside CHP office and lodged an official complaint against the officer for this.

And, yes, I will contest this in court.