Oregon Contemplating Allowing Lane Splitting
Friday, November 19, 2010
OK, Oregon is a state known for meeting environmental issues head-on and we may hug a tree or two, but it's so sparsely populated and most of its towns are so small there's not a pressing need for lane splitting.
The Governor’s Advisory Committee on Motorcycle Safety of Oregon will convene today to discuss the possibility of conducting a statewide public opinion poll on lane sharing, lane splitting and lane filtering by motorcyclists. The committee would like to hear from motorcyclists, motorists, commercial vehicle drivers and other road users about whether or not to conduct the survey. The meeting will be held tonight at the Kaiser Permanente Town Hall Ballroom in Portland.
The press release on the meeting issued by Oregon’s Department of Transportation (ODOT) defines lane sharing, splitting and filtering as thus:
“ Lane sharing is when a motorcyclist travels through lanes of stopped or slower moving vehicles.”
“Lane splitting is when a motorcyclist passes between lanes of traffic in motion.”
“Lane filtering is when a motorcyclist passes between lanes of stationary traffic.”
ODOT cited a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and congestion as possible benefits of allowing the practice in the state.
Being a resident of Oregon, the only places I can see the practice of lane splitting being beneficial is the Portland metro area and maybe Salem. Otherwise, towns are small or rural enough that it isn’t really necessary. In fact, I’d almost be afraid to do it in the town where I live. There are too many old people whose driving already scares me to death. They don’t pay enough attention as it is. And there would be an adjustment period for people to acclimate to the practice that would almost certainly result in casualties.
This coming from a rider who admittedly takes advantage of lane splitting laws when I ride in LA or the Bay Area. But drivers there are accustomed to motorcycles whizzing by in gridlock. And if you’ve ever been stuck in San Bernardino on a blistering summer day with the heat of an air-cooled V-Twin roasting your thighs, you’d do it too. So I’m not against the practice. I just don’t think enacting it in my home state is necessary. Its enactment would benefit a very limited area of the state and it’d only make the cronies here vindictive.
Here’s the function of the Governor’s Advisory Committee according to the ODOT press release:
The Governor appoints members representing all areas of the state to the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Motorcycle Safety. The committee is charged with the responsibility to advise the Governor and the ODOT’s Transportation Safety Division regarding motorcycle safety. The committee reviews, proposes, and makes recommendations concerning motorcycle-related legislation as well as serving as a public forum for motorcyclists and promoting motorcycle safety to the public.
Meetings of the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Motorcycle Safety are open to the public.
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