Washington Eyeing Pro Lane-Splitting Law
The Washington State Legislature is finally taking the necessary steps to address the legalities of lane-splitting on US roads. As it stands, only California has a law that allows such practices, but if Washington adopts HB 1515, a pro lane-splitting bill, it would become the second state in the US to legalize the traffic maneuvering.
As it stands, the proposed bill carries a number of provisions riders must abide to during lane-splitting, including a 35-mph speed cap and a 10-mph speed differential between the motorcycle and traffic. It’s a moderate approach on the activity, but it’s still better than not having one at all and deeming lane-splitting illegal, right?
Besides, a lot of European and Asian countries have already adopted some form of legislation that allows lane-splitting, or lane-sharing as some other countries describe it.
There’s no reason why America should be left behind when it’s become clear that such an activity, according to the California Highway Patrol, isn’t dangerous when done correctly, as do most other things.
There are a lot of positives that can come out with the legal adoption of lane-splitting. California already allows it and I hope that Washington follows suit. After these two states, maybe it’s finally time for their counterparts to revisit their own laws against it and finally take the steps to make the activity legal.
Click past the jump to read more about Washington’s plan to legalize lane-splitting throughout the state.
Why it matters
I’ve always been an unabashed supporter of lane-splitting. While I do understand the danger it poses to riders who are reckless about the activity, there are a lot of positives that come out of it.
Riders, for one, are free to cut through traffic, which would make it easier for them to reach their destinations sooner. Giving riders the freedom to lane-split in traffic could also help ease up the congestion and in turn, allow cars to move at a faster pace too.
In some ways, you could also make an argument that allowing lane-splitting would encourage more people to buy motorcycles. While I don’t think that there’s a direct correlation to the two, I do understand the point people make about it. If lane-splitting is legalized, there’s a chance that motorcycles becoming more appealing to customers than they already are under the current set-up.
In the end, I think lane-splitting should be legalized throughout the country. There may be some provisions inserted to keep riders from doing anything irresponsible and dangerous on their bikes. But for the most part, lane-splitting really isn’t as dangerous as people make it out to be. It’s only those riders who are dumb enough to think that they can get away with some daring overtaking that puts a smear on the practice.
So come on, Washington! Legalize lane-splitting and join California on this side of the road. Hopefully, other states follow your lead in the future.
Source: Washington State Legislature