California has more motorcyclists than any other state. It is also the only state in the country that allows its motorcyclists to split lanes. Lane splitting is the practice of riding your motorcycle past cars and trucks by using the empty space between lanes when traffic is congested. This has been proven to be safer for the motorcyclist than riding with traffic, but other states are still reluctant to allow this maneuver—that is until now.
Sharing Lanes in States Other than California
Oregon, Washington, and Montana have all started their own lane splitting legislation. The bills in Montana and Oregon hope to allow motorcyclists to share lanes (another term for lane splitting) if traffic is moving slower than 10 mph. However, those lane splitters cannot exceed 20 mph. The Washington bill works in a similar fashion, but it has a 25-mph speed limit for lane sharing, and it also has a July 31, 2019 expiration date.
These bills could be a huge leap forward in motorcycle safety all across the country, but there are still several hurdles to get past. In Washington, their efforts to pass a lane splitting bill have stalled out as the Washington State Patrol insists that lane splitting will increase crashes. However, before passing the bill that legalized lane splitting in California, the state’s highway patrol commissioned a study. UC Berkeley carried out the research and found that lane splitting, when done in a safe manner, actually reduced the chances of a motorcyclist getting into a fatal crash.
This study only verifies what motorcyclists all over the country have been trying to explain to the non-riding public. Lane splitting isn’t merely a means to jump the line when it comes to traffic, it is a safety measure that can help you stay safe on your motorcycle, and the attorneys that ride are all about your safety while riding.