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Oregon lawmakers consider allowing lane-splitting for motorcyclists

House Bill 2314 gained support from local representative John Lively from District 12 in Springfield.

Posted: Feb. 19, 2019 6:07 PM
Updated: Feb. 19, 2019 6:14 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Oregon lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow motorcyclists to lane-split, which lets them ride between lanes of traffic when the highway becomes congested.

House Bill 2314 gained support from local representative John Lively from District 12 in Springfield.

Bill Chatwin, a manager at European Motorcycles of Western Oregon, said lane-splitting mostly helps riders in big cities with immense amounts of traffic.

Chatwin said we probably wouldn't notice a difference in this part of the state.

"I think that there's some positives to it, but there's also drawbacks," he said. "When you're talking about freeways, unless there's a traffic jam, I don't really see that being a huge benefit."

Under this bill, lane-splitting would only be allowed on roads with a speed limit higher than 50 mph, and motorcyclists would only be allowed to do it when traffic is going slower than 10 mph.

The catch? Riders would only be allowed to go 10 miles per hour faster than the flow of traffic.

Some opponents of the bill worry that riders will "zig" and "zag" too fast through traffic, but Chatwin says that shouldn't be an issue.

"If people are following the law -- should it become a law -- if they're following the law as written, that wouldn't be an issue."'

One Eugene resident said he's concerned for his safety and the safety of others if this bill were to pass.

"I know I wouldn't be expecting a motorcycle to come by on my right and if I was changing lanes or something," they said. "I would just be afraid to hit and hurt someone else."

A similar version of this bill was introduced in 2015, but it didn’t move through legislature.

Do you think motorcyclists should be allowed to lane-split? Let us know in the comments below.

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