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Motorcycle 'lane splitting' bill sputters in House committee

Published: Tuesday, June 30 2015 2:49 a.m. MDT

Tony Morrey looks at motorcycles with his son Miles at Plaza Cycle in Salt Lake City, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. (Ravell Call, Deseret News) Tony Morrey looks at motorcycles with his son Miles at Plaza Cycle in Salt Lake City, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill aimed at allowing motorcycles to ride between vehicles in stopped or slow-moving traffic stalled in a legislative committee Wednesday.

Several members of the House Transportation Committee said they had safety concerns about HB281, and they voted 7-1 to table the measure until more study is done.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Craig Hall, R-West Valley City, would have amended motorcycle provisions of the current state traffic code to authorize the operation of a motorcycle between lanes of traffic, as well as adjacent lines or rows of vehicles, pursuant to rules made by the Utah Department of Public Safety.

Lawmakers voiced concern about potential safety hazards posed by motorcycles moving between vehicles on highways or slow-moving traffic on surface streets.

Tony Morrey looks at motorcycles with his son Miles at Plaza Cycle in Salt Lake City, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. (Ravell Call, Deseret News) Tony Morrey looks at motorcycles with his son Miles at Plaza Cycle in Salt Lake City, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

Supporters said so-called “lane splitting” already works safely and legally in California and on many European roadways and could help alleviate congestion in Utah, as long as drivers and riders are properly educated.

Hall said he will work with public safety officials and motorcycle safety advocates to craft a new bill for next year’s legislative session and address concerns raised by the committee.

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