In Washington, motorcyclists are held to the same laws as every other driver. However, motorcycles are not like every other vehicle on the road. Their small size makes them susceptible to accidents. And, these vehicles offer little protection to the people who ride them. In some cases, treating motorcycles differently can help to save lives.
Recently, state Senator Tim Sheldon has proposed legislation that could affect the safety of motorcyclists in Washington. This legislation, if passed, would allow motorcyclists to ride on the line in between lanes in certain situations. Lane splitting — or stripe riding — would only be allowed when traffic was backing up and cars were traveling under 25 miles-per-hour. This practice, Sheldon argues, would keep motorcyclists safe. Proponents of the bill argue that it is safer for motorcyclists to move between lanes than wait between cars.
Under this legislation, motorcyclists would be limited to traveling no more than 35 mph. Right now, California is the only other state that allows this practice.
There are people that question the bill. State patrol officers, for example, have questioned the effectiveness of this bill. They claim that motorcyclists could be hit by cars and suffer serious injuries. These motorcycle accidents could then further snarl traffic.
The bill must make it out of committee before it will be considered by the full Senate. Until that time, safety officials and motorcyclists will consider the potential effects of the bill.
While it is up for debate whether this bill will help to prevent motorcycle accidents or not, it is known that when drivers fail to notice motorcycles, accidents happen. When driver negligence causes a motorcycle accident, the victims should make sure to understand their legal rights.
Source: KOMO News, “Controversial bill would allow motorcycles to pass between lanes,” Cayle Thompson, Feb. 3, 2015