Motorcycle 'lane splitting' bill sputters in House committee

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  • OlderGreg USA, CA
    Feb. 13, 2014 8:26 p.m.

    I too am an old California biker (ala SCMA Chair). We got to be Old Bikers by realizing (among other things) that motorcycles are invisible, except to ticket-writing LEO's.

    I feel the need to loudly proclaim that, in Utah, a green light does not mean "go". It really means "look in all directions carefully and go if you dare". Actual LEO presence doesn't seem to change the behavior -- I've seen them participate in the red-light-running.

    Utah needs to allow lane splitting as a defensive escape route for bikers, if nothing else.

    I often wonder what % of red-green blindness exists there.

  • AlanSutton Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 10:32 a.m.

    I agree that lane-splitting can work, but I also think that the hesitation on the part of legislators has merit. Most of that hesitation comes from concern for the safety of motorcyclists.

    Drivers often change lanes in slow traffic, and do so quickly and without looking for traffic approaching from behind at a higher rate of speed. A law allowing for lane-splitting will make drivers more responsible under the law for improper lookout, but it won't help the poor motorcyclist who dies or is seriously injured.

    The period from when the law is passed until drivers come to appreciate it, will be a very dangerous time for motorcyclists who are brave enough to lane-split.

  • SCMA Chair Santa Ana, CA
    Feb. 12, 2014 11:37 p.m.

    As a 66 year old long distance motorcyclist and Southern California native, I am convinced that lane splitting is safe--particularly when compared to staying in a lane boxed between two vehicles in stop-and-go traffic. Distracted and bone-headed drivers are hazardous to motorcyclists. I prefer to watch and react to the vehicles beside me and ahead of me rather than being at the mercy of the driver behind me. Lane splitting guidelines of the California Highway Patrol recommend that motorcyclists maintain an overtaking relative speed of no more than 15 mph and that they maintain an absolute speed of no more than 45 mph. Most sensible California motorcyclists practice just that and ride for years with no incidents. Having the option to lane split in heavy traffic makes a lot of sense to those of us that practice it. Tight quarters, rough pavement and areas where drivers tend to change lanes (near transition ramps, for instance) are examples of where lane splitting shouldn't be practiced. You must also ride un-distracted, un-impaired and cool-headed. Lane splitting really does work in California's big cities--as it does in many European and Asian countries.