The State of Oregon will, once again, consider a bill to legalize lane-sharing for mopeds, scooters and motorcycles. Senate Bill 420 had been introduced by Oregon Senator Jeff Kruse. As of 02/24/2015, SB420 has be rewritten as SB0694, reducing the motorcyclist's allowable speed from 35 mph to 20 mph.
The bill would "Allow operators of motorcycles and mopeds to pass vehicles in same lane during traffic jams or slowdowns." If the bill is passed, it would change the law so that "A motorcycle or moped operator does not commit the offense of unlawful passing in a lane with a vehicle if at the time (a) Traffic is stopped or has slowed to a speed of less than 25 mph and (b) The motorcycle or moped operator is traveling at a speed of 35 mph or less."
Everyone is encouraged to weigh-in and share their opinions with the state-senators. Here is their contact information .
Also known as filtering or lane-splitting, motorcycle lane-sharing is done legally in most countries around the world. California is currently the only state which permits lane-sharing. Last year, the American Motorcyclist Association sought to make guidelines for the legality of lane splitting in California public again after a complaint prompted its removal.
Many studies around the world have shown that motorcycle lane-sharing reduces the risks to motorcyclists and reduces traffic-congestion, which reduces fuel-consumption for all drivers and road-users.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rear-enders make up 40 percent of all crashes in the United States. Many of these occur during rush-hour on freeways at slow speeds. While most rear-end crashes cause minor damage to cars and minor injuries to drivers and passengers, motorcyclists are at much greater risk of being severely injured or killed if involved in a rear-end crash.
Car & Driver Magazine wrote that "A recent year-long study by the California Office of Traffic Safety has found motorcycle lane-splitting to be a safe practice on public roads. The study looked at collisions involving 7836 motorcyclists reported by 80 police departments between August 2012 and August 2013." They found that motorcyclists were far less likely to be struck from behind by another vehicle (rear-ended) if they were lane-sharing. The majority of motorcyclists who use lane-sharing did so lawfully and at prudent speeds. Most of those riders wear proper protective gear, as well.
Motorcycle lane-sharing reduces traffic congestion for everyone by reducing the number of vehicles that are stopped or moving slowly in traffic. If I were sitting in my car in a traffic-jam, I might get annoyed seeing motorcycles breeze past me between cars. But, if I consider the other cars and drivers behind me they get to move forward because those motorcycles are no longer in their way. If there were a dozen cars and six motorcycles ahead of me (18 vehicles), and the motorcycles could filter through and move on, now there are only the dozen vehicles ahead of me and I can move forward. Your car might get 25 or 35 miles per gallon when cruising at 55 mph but, while stopped in a traffic jam, you're getting 0 miles per gallon at that particular moment. By keeping traffic moving, motorcycle lane-sharing will reduce fuel consumption for everyone.
There is a Facebook Group for Motorists in Favor of Lane-Sharing in Oregon; This is a great source of information about the pros & cons of lane sharing.
Most of us might remember Oregon Senate Bill 541 of 2013. It died in committee without a hearing because a huge majority of motorcyclists did not act. We have met the government and they are US!
We all need to get off our butts and sit down at our typewriters and computers to mail a real paper letter to the Oregon senators; this is the most effective method of making our opinions count! Spread the word and get our friends to do the same. Your mother worries about you - tell her that you will be at less risk of injury if she writes a letter. Click the above link and get the senators contact info. Ask them to support SB0694 for the safety of motorcyclists, and to reduce congestion and fuel consumption.
The state of Tennessee is also looking into lane-sharing. House Bill 1102, introduced by state Rep. Timothy Hill, would permit lane splitting when traffic is traveling at 45 mph or less and the motorcyclist does not exceed posted speed limits. Lane splitting would not be permitted in marked school zones when a warning flasher or flashers are in operation.