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Lane splitting and helmet use bills are being floated by the WA Senate

Discussion in 'Motorcycle Talk' started by nominally, Jan 22, 2015.

  1. Washington Senate (House) has, as of Jan 22nd, heard two bills on progressive legislation around motorcycle operation:

    Lane splitting

    TLDR- you can split at 10 MPH over the speed of traffic flow ONLY IF TRAFFIC IS GOING 25 MPH OR SLOWER (which is every f@#$ing day in Seattle).

    Motorcycle helmet use

    TLDR- you don't have to wear a helmet if you're over 18.

    Right now, only CA has legalized lane splitting. In MI, ID, and FL (I believe), helmet use is not enforced.

    Regardless of how you feel, you probably have some opinions on the subject so write to your senators (Representatives).

    Personally I endorse allowing lane splitting but maintaining mandatory helmet usage. This is what I'm writing to the Senator (Representative):

    As a King Country resident, I wholeheartedly endorse HB 1515. This bill will have several positive impacts in the rising tides of traffic dilemmas in Seattle and surrounding regions. I do not endorse HB 5198.

    Lane splitting (or lane sharing) primarily increases safety for motorcyclists by minimizing the chance of a rear-ending in congested roadways, the most common cause of death in motorcycle-vehicle accidents according to the HURT report (1981). It further provides legal maneuverable escape avenues when responding to life-threatening situations such as loss of traction or near collisions. Most models of bikes still do not have anti-lock braking systems (ABS). In general, motorcycles and scooters have better control and, thus, are more safe when moving forward. These principles and results are consistent with the findings in The California Lane-Sharing Safety Guide (2014).

    Lane splitting reduces overall traffic congestion substantially, which in turn increases productivity for commuting riders, such as myself, through hours of work time spent in unexpected traffic. It also eliminates overall congestion on the roadways by allowing for a more tightly condensed traffic flow in slow-moving or gridlocked traffic situations. Air cooled motorcycles are still widely in production. On hot days with temperatures as high as 85, motorcycle engines may fail due to overheating whilst idling for extended periods. This leads to breakdowns and stalls on the roadway, further contributing to congestion without a lane sharing option.

    Lastly, lane-splitting serves as a study of the feasibility of an extension of California's existing law into another setting with unique ridership, weather conditions, and traffic situations. These results, under the supervision of Washington Injury Prevention Research based out of Harborview Medical Center, will serve to answer pertinent questions for national legislature on the subject. Lane-sharing is relevant to the entire nation. It is legal virtually everywhere else, even in countries with very low automobile fatality rates.

    Helmet use, however, is proven to be efficacious in prevention of serious injury and death. The law may not be easy to enforce, as use of novelty helmets is on the rise, but maintaining its nominal enforcement conveys the correct sentiment to riders in Washington. Helmets are affordable relative to tabs and the cost of maintaining and purchasing a bike itself. ​
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
  2. More freedom is good, less freedom is not. If someone kills themselves because they're too dumb to put on a helmet, so be it.

    I'm in favor of lane splitting, and in favor of no helmet laws. I'll continue to wear mine.

  3. +1

    I'd rather have the option than be forced to wear the helmet. It should be every adult's right to decide how much risk they are willing to accept. Hell, I accept the risk of being ejected form my motorcycle just by riding it.
  4. Correct. It's not my job to perform a risk-assessment for someone else.
  5. Texasl

    Texasl Totally Charming Retired Moderator Staff Member

    For the record, the lane sharing bill (HB 1515) is a house bill.
  6. PeteN95

    PeteN95 Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks, Larry, emails sent to my reps.
  7. Sorry, helmet laws save lives and money for everyone, common good trumps your "freedom" on this one. Don't underestimate the cost to you, the taxpayer, of a fatal accident investigation and emergency services.

    all for lane splitting though!
  8. Sweet... lane splitting is good, the butthurt it will cause, eh... remains to be seen.

    No lid laws... umm.. whatever, not applicable because ATGATT.
  9. We should only have more freedoms if it's cost effective? That doesn't sound like how Washington runs. We routinely lose freedoms while having to pay more as tax payers. :stir:
  10. Unlike many people, I'm willing to put my money were my mouth is and pay more, even for other people's freedom (regardless of how dumb I personally think they are).

    I wonder how much they would have to budget for the advertising/safety campaign if they made lane splitting legal. keep all the self appointed traffic enforcers from cutting off, intentionally opening car doors, or otherwise trying to kill motorcyclists who 'aren't following the rules'....?

    Also, AZ doesn't require helmets for riders over 18.
  11. Ad has been assigned to the House Transportation Committee.

    Judy Clibborn is the committee chairman.
    It will be up to her if/when the bill gets a hearing.

    Her email addy:
  12. Well, son-of-a-...
  13. Lots of flinging the "freedom" word around because it sounds nice and patriotic without really giving it a definition.

    My line of thinking that I'm sure no one on this forum will agree with:

    Motorcycling isn't a freedom, it's a privilege. You don't need a license to exercise free speech. You don't need one to purchase a firearm. The simple act of requiring a license to ride a motorcycle implies it's not a freedom, but a privilege (the same as driving a car, or a semi-truck, or flying an airplane).

    Therefore, anything associated with said privilege is also not a "freedom" by association.

    I'm not arguing for or against helmet laws, just that using personal freedom as the basis for one side isn't the best way to go.
    OOk and Avboden like this.
  14. Good. I'm far right so I don't think the gov needs to protect me from myself. If people don't want to wear a helmet that's on them. Lane spotting I don't really care about either way. I lived in Cali a while it was nice but cars always try to squeeze you. I hope they both pass.
  15. You need a license to carry said firearm concealed or loaded in a car. You need one to buy said firearm in several states. You need one to carry one at all in several states.

    You need a permit for some protests, rallies and marches.

    Now that that's out there, a freedom isn't just what's in the bill of rights. A freedom is simply a freedom. Removing a restriction technically grants more freedom.

    As for the definition

  16. Although I am personally ATGATT I learned some time ago that gear is a personal choice.

    We all make personal choices in how we ride.

    Some people say you should not be allowed to ride without a helmet.

    Some people say you should not be allowed to have a 200-HP crotch rocket that can go 180 mph.

    Some people say motorcycles are dangerous and you should not be allowed to ride them at all.

    Funny how everyone is smarter than everyone else. :roll:
  17. I heard the word "Freedom" being passed around, that's why I showed up...

    sure would be nice to see this passed...

    as for Helmets, personal choice, I personally would wear one even if I had the right not to.
  18. Same. I choose to wear my helmet, gloves, boots, jacket and sometimes my riding pants. I am guilty of not always wanting to squeeze my ass into those leathers, though so I sometimes go out with just jeans.
  19. redacted, off topic
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2015
  20. :thumbrig:
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