Which Express Lanes Can a Motorcyclist Use for Free?

Motorcyclists are often intent on reaching their destinations quickly. Express Lanes can help because there’s usually less traffic. The downside is using an Express Lane can be costly, but some are discounted or free for motorcyclists.

motorcyclist on the highway

Are Express Lanes Accessible to Motorcyclists?

Using an express lane is fairly simple. If you have a FasTrak Flex transponder, an overhead antenna at a toll will read it. The device can be mounted on the motorcycle or even placed in your pocket. Just don’t hold the transponder up while driving, as this is breaking the law.

Overhead signs will tell you the toll rates. Some lanes are not free for motorcyclists, so you want to make sure ahead of time. If you try to cross over later, you may get a traffic ticket. It therefore helps to know which lanes you can use and when.

How Do I Know Which Lanes Are Free?

In California, some Express Lanes are free, others are not. The following are free at designated times:

I-10/I-110 Metro Express Lanes – Los Angeles County – Motorcyclists with a standard issued license plate can use these free of charge, without transponders. However, those with personalized motorcycle plates may be ticketed.

State Route 237 – Santa Clara Valley – Properly decaled motorcycles can use these Express Lanes for free during peak commute times. At later times, tolls may be required, while HOV only lanes are free for motorcyclists and carpool vehicles.

Express Lanes are in operation during these hours:

  • 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. – Westbound towards Sunnyvale
  • 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. – Eastbound towards Milpitas

State Route 125 (South Bay Expressway) – San Diego County – Motorcyclists and 2-axle vehicles pay the same toll rates.

I-15 Express Lanes – San Diego County – Motorcyclists can use these toll-free without a FasTrack transponder.

91 Freeway – Orange County – Motorcyclists can receive discounted toll rates and gain permission to use Express Lanes by applying for a Special Access Account.

I-580 – Alameda County – When the transponder is set to 2 or 3 plus people, motorcyclists can drive on the Express Lanes for free.

I-680 Sunol Southbound – Alameda County – No transponder is required for free travel on the Express Lane. With a transponder, motorcyclists who set it to 2 or 3 plus people are exempt from tolls.

I-680 – Contra Costa – Motorcyclists can ride Express Lanes for free if their transponder is set to 2 or 3 plus people.

San Francisco County – Motorcyclists with a transponder can ride Express Lanes throughout the Bay Area toll free. On the Golden Gate Bridge, they must pay the toll. They can also use Carpool Toll Lane #2 at times dedicated to HOV travel, which include:

  • Weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
  • Weekdays from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

And holidays including:

  • New Year’s Day
  • President’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day

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