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Which Express Lanes Can a Motorcyclist Use for Free?

Los angeles 101 freeway view from a far

Free Motorcycle Express Lanes in California

As a motorcyclist, you want to reach your destination quickly and safely. Express Lanes help with this because they typically have less traffic on them, but the can be costly to use.

Here’s some good news: motorcyclists may not have to pay the toll fees! Motorcyclists, carpools, and vanpools are afforded discounted or, oftentimes, free rates. This is a method that one cannot always rely on, though. While some Express Lanes are free, others are not.

Before your next trip, take a moment to learn more about how you can use Express Lanes for free.

How Do You Use an Express Lane?

First things first, make sure to have a FasTrak Flex transponder mounted on your motorcycle where an overhead antenna can read it. Have no room to do so? No problem! An antenna can read your transponder through your pocket. Just make sure it is in a secure place. Please note that it is illegal to hold up a transponder while driving through a toll point.

Check the toll rates on the overhead signs, especially for lanes that are not free to use for motorcyclists. You must decide whether or not you want to use the lane before the dashed line disappears and becomes a double line. To cross afterwards can result in a ticket.

Each lane has a variety of entry points. Choose one to enter and ride in that lane until you need to exit.

It’s as simple as that!

Which Express Lanes are Free for Motorcyclists in California?

Life would be much simpler if all of California’s Express Lanes were regulated in the same way. Unfortunately, this is not the case. While some lanes are free to use, others may require that you pay the toll.

Here’s a breakdown of what lanes you can use for free and which ones you need to pay for:

Interstate 10 and Interstate 110 Metro Express Lanes, Los Angeles CountyMotorcyclists can use Express Lanes on I-110 and I-10 free of charge and without transponders or a FasTrak account if they have a standard issued license plate. Personalized motorcycle plates may be registered as a vehicle unlawfully using the express lane. This can result in you getting ticketed!
State Route 237 Express Lanes, Santa Clara ValleySR-237 is free during peak commute periods for motorcycles as long as they have the proper decals. Be aware that tolls may be required for carpool vehicles (which include motorcyclists) at later times.If Express Lane says “HOV only,” any carpool vehicles and motorcyclists may use it for free.Express Lanes are in operation Westbound (towards Sunnyvale), from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.Express Lanes are in operation Eastbound (toward Milpitas) from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.Outside of these posted hours, these lanes are free to use.
State Route 125 South Bay Expressway, San Diego CountyUnfortunately, there is no free pass on State Route 125! This route requires motorcycles to pay the same toll rates as 2-axle vehicles.
Interstate 15 Express Lanes, San Diego CountyIt’s toll-free for motorcyclists. You don’t need a FasTrak transponder.
91 Freeway Express Lanes, Orange CountyYou must apply for a [Special Access Account](https://www.91expresslanes.com/specapp.pdf) for discounted toll rates as a motorcyclist traveling on the 91 Freeway Express Lane.
Interstate 580 Express Lanes, Alameda CountyMotorcyclists are allowed to drive on I-580 Express Lanes for free but are required to have their FasTrak transponder set to 2 or 3 plus people.
Interstate 680 Sunol Southbound Express Lane, Alameda CountyMotorcycles can travel for free without a FasTrak transponder. If a motorcyclist has a transponder, they can set it to 2 or 3 plus people to avoid paying the toll.
Interstate 680 Express Lanes, Contra CostaMotorcyclists are allowed to drive on I-680 Express Lanes for free but are required to set their FasTrak transponder to 2 or 3 plus people.
Bay Area Bridges, San Francisco CountyMotorcyclists are allowed to ride in Bay Area Express Lanes toll-free, but are still required to own a FasTrak Flex transponder.
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco CountyMotorcyclists must pay the toll but they may also use Carpool Toll Lane #2 on the right side of the Toll Plaza during HOV dedicated times which are: 5 am to 9 am (weekdays)4pm to 6pm (weekdays)New Year’s DayPresidents’ DayMemorial DayIndependence DayLabor DayThanksgiving DayChristmas DayAlways have your transponder mounted somewhere where it can be clearly read.

Express Lanes are a great option when you need to get to where you’re going quickly and without having to resort to lane splitting techniques.

When in doubt as to which lanes you can use for free, keep a FasTrak transponder on your windshield or somewhere where it can be read to ensure that you won’t receive a ticket. It’s better to pay a few dollars than to receive $300 or $400 ticket.

While Express Lanes allow for more breathing room as you ride your motorcycle, accidents can still occur. If you have been hit by another driver while riding your motorcycle, call a Wilshire Law Firm motorcycle accident lawyer for a free case consultation at 1-800-522-7274.