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The wife has plans to vacation in California this summer. I had planned to haul our Time Out camper with the Wing but she doesn't sound up to riding this time so perhaps we'll take the cage. I had better destinations planned but she says we're going West this summer. Question is are we limited to 55 mph with a trailer in California?

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Yes, Trailers are limited to 55 mph and also only allowed in the far right lane (except for passing, in which case you can go over an additional lane to the left).


Stupidest rule around... very, very dangerous for a motorcycle (much less with a trailer) to be in the right hand lane on (typically) heavily congested freeways.


Enforcement varies, and it's quite common to see trailers use all lanes ...I've never actually seen anyone pulled over for it.
 

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ɹoᴉuǝS ɯoʇsnƆ
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Also, motorcycles are permitted to "split lanes" as long as you don't exceed 10 mph faster than the prevailing traffic. Now, I do not know if that pertains to motorcycles pulling trailers. However, even if you are not participating in that practice, it is something that you need to be aware of when you get caught up in some of that freeway chaos. Don't crowd the dotted lines, you may get a new streak down your side.
 

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personally?

I ignored that rule, I ride my bike where it is the safest while pulling my trailer, and I don't slow down to 55 either. never had a problem. that has to be one of the stupidest rules ever.... especially for trucks, "Hey guys, let's just stack them all up in a row so no one can get around them"
 

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In Germany Europe , the speed limit for motorcycles pulling trailers is 37 Mph(60 Kmh) on all roads :surprise:
Actually the police want us to follow the trucks which is electronical regulated to max 55 Mph.
 

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Ignorance is bliss. We pulled a trailer from one end of California to the other and places in between. I had no idea there was a speed limit. Oh well!
 

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Many years I was in central on my wing and pulling a trailer. I was pulled over by a CHP. I was in the #2 lane of a 4 lane highway. He said trailers are suppose to be in the far right 2 lanes. I said I see the signs that say AUTO WHEN TOWING 55 MPH. I said I'm on a motorcycle not an auto and didn't think it applied to motorcycles. He said it applies to all vehicles, he didn't site me. Now I notice the signs are changed to say VEHICLES instead of AUTO. On a 4 or more lane road you can be in the far 2 right lanes. As long as your not being stupid they will let you be. No one sticks to the 55mph, not even truckers, if your going with the flow of traffic your fine. I don't know where you plan on going but take a few days and ride the coast. Hit the redwoods also. So much beauty in Calif. We have it all, mountains, ocean, desert, and everything you cam imagine. I would stay away from San Francisco, iit is real busy and lots of traffic and hills.
 

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(Rick Sheeley GWRRA)
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...and to their credit, both truck and motorcycle fatalities are eons lower in Germany than here.

And don't forget they have the autobahn.... but again much lower fatalities rates than the US.....
 

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Also, motorcycles are permitted to "split lanes" as long as you don't exceed 10 mph faster than the prevailing traffic. Now, I do not know if that pertains to motorcycles pulling trailers. However, even if you are not participating in that practice, it is something that you need to be aware of when you get caught up in some of that freeway chaos. Don't crowd the dotted lines, you may get a new streak down your side.
No splitting with a trailer!!!!! As posted, trailers are only allowed in the right two lanes. Lane splitting is between the left #1 and #2 lanes.

I lived and have towed trailers in CA at 70 mph, MC, utility, and campers, all the time and have not had any problems. It just depends on where you are and if the officer wants to give you a ticket or not. In high traffic areas on more than two lanes, I just stay in the right two lanes with the flow if traffic. Most of the time, that flow was at 65 mph. In the open areas where it is two lanes, I just run at 70 and do not worry about it much. I have had officers pass me when I was running 70 and keep on going.

In the high traffic areas, I can see the speed limit being lower with a trailer. But on the open two lane controlled roads, it is a joke and should be at least 65 mph. Here in UT on the interstates, we can run 80 mph with a trailer if you want!
 

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I don't know where you plan on going but take a few days and ride the coast. Hit the redwoods also. So much beauty in Calif. We have it all, mountains, ocean, desert, and everything you cam imagine. I would stay away from San Francisco, iit is real busy and lots of traffic and hills.

nothing pretty about San Francisco anymore.
the streets are full of migrants in tents, cardboard boxes, and filth ( human waste ) and trash everywhere.....


My son had to do a job there on a 3 week TDY recently, he sent me back pictures of all that I mentioned.... it is NOT the place that I visited in 1992.
 

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If you plan on being in the LA or Bay Area, you will see that there is a web of freeways. Staying in the far right lane would mean you have to cross over a few lanes of traffic if you want to continue on the same freeway or you'd be forced onto another one. The traffic would be going at least 20 mph faster than you so you would be creating a hell of a mess crossing their path. Even going the posted speed limit for all other traffic, you will find yourself being passed by cops and people pulling boats. Yes, there is a speed limit but it is seldom enforced. They used to have special lanes for vehicles that had two or more passenger. I used to feel safe in these lanes when riding a bike because they were the only lanes people couldn't dart in and out of. However, my son who lives in the Bay Area says that they are making those toll lanes. You can bet your ass they will enforce that one. As Joe says, there are a ton of things to see all over California as long as mudslides and forest fires don't prevent you from getting to them. ;-)
 

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nothing pretty about San Francisco anymore.
the streets are full of migrants in tents, cardboard boxes, and filth ( human waste ) and trash everywhere.....


My son had to do a job there on a 3 week TDY recently, he sent me back pictures of all that I mentioned.... it is NOT the place that I visited in 1992.

stay away from there.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I appreciate the insight, experience and advice provided. Sounds like a lot less of a vacation and more like a stressful endurance run. I think we'll pop in from the north border to the redwoods and then sneak back out that way. My last trip was to SF 6 years ago, that was to be at UCSF hospital and none of that trip was enjoyable. Once I'm actually retired and have nothing but time on my hands I can waste it at 55 but on the back roads and trailer whatever I want and not risk getting rear ended or worse. It was bad on I-80 years ago but I want incumbered by a trailer. All in all probably a better reason to change destinations. Thanks all

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Like anything else- ride reasonably and don't draw attention to yourself / rig and you'll be fine. Cops have a lot more to sweat than chasing down bikes w/ trailers. The best roads probably don't have more than 2 lanes each direction any way- (or less) so find the secondary roads and enjoy California. The options and views are endless .

P.S.- hit Alice's Restaurant on skyline (CA 35) if you make it the bay area. then head down through Big Basin to the coast.
 

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I travel to southern California regularly pulling my Bushtec trailer. I've never had a problem exceeding that 55 limit. While on the interstates I generally keep it around 70 + . Most of the big trailer pulling trucks are at 65+ so really I'm just going with the flow of traffic. On secondary roads (posted 55) I try to keep it around 60, that is if I think there is a possibility of a CHP sneaking around. I have had CHPs pass me up on the interstate when I was at 70 they didn't even look at me. So good luck and don't worry about it.......
 

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Also, motorcycles are permitted to "split lanes" as long as you don't exceed 10 mph faster than the prevailing traffic...

There's no speed limit for splitting lanes in CA... it's up to the officer to decide if you're "Safe" or not.
In practice, CHP on bikes routinely splits lanes MUCH much Much faster than this (relative speed vs surrounding traffic)... 40 mph (relative excess) is not uncommon.
Which is to say, that CHP will not cite you for your speed while splitting lanes ...rather, they will blow your doors off as they pass.
 
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