Is There A Law Against Holding Up Traffic In The Left Lane?

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By John Burns

Dear MOby,

So, I just read in my local paper, the Orange County Register, that you’re legally within your rights if you’re tooling along in the left lane of the freeway with traffic backing up behind you, as long as you’re doing the speed limit. Which I think is mostly 65 mph around here. Is this true? I thought there was a law in California against impeding the flow or something like that? I know it makes it even more dangerous for me on my Street Glide when people make sudden moves to go around drivers going slow in the left lane. Please advise.

Slow Simmer
Brea, California


Right you are, SS, and it’s been on the books long enough you’d think people would know about it, wouldn’t you? Especially people whose job is to investigate things for dissemination to the public. I wrote a column about it in 2002 for Motorcycle.com, and here it is again:

California Vehicle Code 21654
Daily Diatribe
Mar. 20, 2002

Heck, there just isn’t much pissing me off to write about these days, unfortunately. The race season’s started, the wife hired a gardener, the hole in the boat is fixed, spring is here. If not for George Bush wanting to issue nuclear hand grenades to our troops, I’d be a reasonably content hominid, if I hadn’t been flipping through my new Road & Track and read this letter from one Bob Tindel of beautiful Redlands, California.

The topic–and pardon me for coming back to it again–is deadshits holding up traffic in the left lane of the freeway. Take it away Bob… “I recently retired from 32 years with the California Highway Patrol and have written many tickets for these violations. Unfortunately, a driver moving at the speed limit on a multi-lane freeway is not in violation and …read more

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