In the last few weeks, a number of states politicians have put motorcycle-friendly bills on the table for consideration. Both Connecticut and Oregon started the year 2019 with the suggestion of making lane splitting officially legal, following in the footsteps of California.There’s seems to be a bit of a domino effect as both Utah and Maryland are now considering adopting rider-friendly measures as well.
According to the AMA, Maryland State Delegate Kathy Szeliga has submitted a bill that would allow riders to lane split as well as establish safety guidelines to add to riders training programs. The Association invites riders to contact their delegate to support the bill as the hearing in front of the House Environment and Transportation Committee has been scheduled for February 28, 2019.
Similarly, in Utah, the House voted to move a lane filtering bill forward for Senate consideration. Should it pass, the motion would allow riders to navigate between lanes, but only on roads with speed limits lower than 50 mph and when traffic is stopped, for example, in the city at stop lights. Rep. Walt Brooks commented that lane filtering could, among other things, help reduce the number of motorcycle-car collisions. He added that between 2011 and 2017 in Utah, 1,288 incidents involving a motorcycle rear-ended by a car have been reported.
Should these bills come to pass, lane filtering or lane splitting would now be made legal in five states—a good start, considering nobody had taken any actions on the matter since California adopted lane splitting in 2016. The Golden State is often cited as an example of the successful integration of the measure.
A University of California at Berkeley study even suggests that “There is evidence (Hurt, 1981) that traveling between lanes of stopped or slow-moving cars (i.e., lane splitting) on multiple-lane roads (such as interstate highways) slightly reduces crash frequency compared with staying within the lane and moving with other traffic.” These results have been cited a number of times by senators and representatives to support their bill.