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Oregon ponders lane-splitting for motorcycles: What do you think?

Posted by on November 16th, 2010 at 2:31 pm

A traffic sign from the U.K.
(Photo: ODOT)

The state of Oregon is looking for public feedback on an idea that could impact people who use bicycles. This Friday, the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Motorcycle Safety will meet in North Portland to discuss lane-splitting by motorcycles. Lane-sharing or lane-splitting would allow motorcycle operators to filter up through slower moving and/or stopped traffic by using unused roadway space. The practice is currently illegal in Oregon (as per ORS 814.240) and California is the only state in the U.S. where it has been legalized.

Motorcycles using the road in this manner could impact bicycling in several ways. Motorcycles coming around slower traffic would be another thing to watch for when trying to cross busy streets. There’s also the question of what roadway spaces this might put motorcycles in. Would they be more likely to use bike-only lanes and bike boxes if lane-sharing was legal? How would having motorcycles — which accelerate faster than cars — at the front of the traffic queue impact bicycle movements at intersections with bike boxes?

At Friday’s meeting (details below) the committee will discuss the possibility of conducting a statewide public opinion survey on the topic. ODOT says they want to hear from other road users about this issue and about whether not to conduct such a survey.

Back in June, ODOT’s research division completed a literature review of motorcycle lane-splitting (PDF here). It’s not yet clear (at least to me) where the impetus for this issue comes from. Even in California where it’s legal, the DMV and police warn people that it carries many risks. In 2005, an effort to legalize motorcycle lane splitting failed in part because of opposition by state police officers.

If you are interested to weigh in about this topic, here are details on Friday’s meeting:

    Governor’s Advisory Committee on Motorcycle Safety
    6:30 p.m. on Fri., Nov. 19
    Kaiser Permanente Town Hall Ballroom (3704 N. Interstate Ave.)

If you can’t make it, email your comments to Michele O’Leary, Motorcycle Program Manager in ODOT’s Transportation Safety Division at Michele.a.Oleary@odot.state.or.us.

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Comments
  • Paul November 16, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    I think it’s fine when traffic is stopped. It really makes no sense for a skinny vehicle, motorcycle or bike, to wait behind the vehicles that cause congestion in the first place. Having lived a good portion of my life in California I never saw a problem, but I can see where it may cause some concern for pedestrians crossing a street.

    On a related note, I think there should be a bike box across all lanes on SW Columbia @ Naito so bikes can filter to the front in order to access Waterfront Park easier.

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  • Chris November 16, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    I don’t think lane splitting can be made safe in any circumstance. In the summer, I see lane splitting all the time from motorcycles when Hwy 217 is backed up.

    We should be looking at the reasons why they want to consider allowing lane splitting and address those needs. Maybe allow the right shoulder to be allowed to take immediate off-ramps, instead of waiting for the proper exit?

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    • Paul Cone November 16, 2010 at 3:53 pm

      What happens when a vehicle using the right shoulder (otherwise known as the EMERGENCY LANE) stalls out, and then emergency vehicles can’t get through? Not a good idea.

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  • Chris 2 November 16, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    “Oregon ponders lane-splitting for motorcycles: What do you think?”

    I think I am buying a motorcycle if it passes.

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  • Nick November 16, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    If it’s safe then it makes sense. It sure doesn’t seem safe, but intuition can be deceiving. Motorcycles in general, however, are quite dangerous, and I’m not sure we should encourage more people to drive them. Then again, they’re more fuel efficient, and I bet the whole safety in numbers thing applies to them too… so I’m torn on this one.

    In any case, even if lane splitting were to be allowed, they should not be able to infringe on bike lanes.

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    • James N November 16, 2010 at 3:43 pm

      For the US, we definitely would save tone of oil and redude a lot of pollution if more people use motorcycles or scooters or bicycles for daily transportation. Look around and you can see how many car transport just one person where as a motorcycle, or a scooter would get that same person to his destination with much less energy and pollution.

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      • sabernar November 16, 2010 at 8:06 pm

        It depends on the scooter. Those old unconverted Vespas spew at least 100x the pollutants than the average car.

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      • mo November 16, 2010 at 8:44 pm

        Motorcycles don’t need to meet the same stringent emissions laws that cars do. From the LA Times: Inconvenient truths about motorcycles and smog
        June 11, 2008|SUSAN CARPENTER
        “In California, such bikes make up 3.6% of registered vehicles and 1% of vehicle miles traveled, yet they account for 10% of passenger vehicles’ smog-forming emissions in the state. In fact, the average motorbike is about 10 times more polluting per mile than a passenger car, light truck or SUV, according to a California Air Resources Board comparison of emissions-compliant vehicles.”

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        • Glenn Cunningham November 18, 2010 at 9:51 pm

          This L.A. times article has many factual errors and has been entirely debunked. See Dexter Fords article.

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  • Dave November 16, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    I think the shoulder idea is terrible, no offense. You could never limit to motorcycles, so you’d essentially turn the shoulder into an extended exit lane. Now you’ve lost the space to pull over a disabled vehicle, or allow an emergency vehicle through.

    I’m not sold on lane splitting either, but I’m not dead set against it. I commute by motorcycle every day, and there are times it would be very handy. But I’ve also watched it done a lot in California, and it makes me nervous every time, both for the motorcyclist and the cars around them.

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  • sam November 16, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Man, it scared the hell out of me the first time I saw it on a freeway in California. Seems like a terrible idea to me. Imagine all the angry drivers of tiny cars who could fit between the other cars, given the law and the chance. I’m looking at you, you cute little Mini Coopers…

    Also, love the new threaded comments.

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  • beelnite November 16, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    If motorcycle advocates use the same strategy bicycle advocates used for rolling, Idaho stops at stop signs… this idea is toast.

    So far what we hear in support is predicated on two things: 1) why restrict the agile in traffic and 2) motorcyclists are really responsible and aware and can think for themselves.

    That’s pretty much the main thrust we had with Idaho Stops and people just wouldn’t budge.

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  • Paulie November 16, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    I hate this idea. It startles me every time when a motorcycle does this next to me when I’m in Cali. What’s wrong with waiting in the queue like everyone else? If you’re in that big of a hurry you should have left earlier.

    And is this legal in Oregon for bicycles to do? I’ve always assumed it isn’t, since it’s not legal for motorcycles, but I’ve seen others do it. I’ll stick to the lane — the middle of the lane when downtown.

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    • Pete November 16, 2010 at 3:47 pm

      If I remember from Ray’s class it’s technically illegal for bicycles to do in Oregon. I say ‘technically’ because I still see it as common practice in Oregon, and especially here in California where I now live. When I first moved here I asked that same question (about CA laws) on bikesiliconvalley.org but never received an answer.

      Incidentally, I never did it when I lived and rode in Oregon (once I learned it was illegal), but I’ve come to do it frequently here in CA and it seems expected by both cyclists and drivers.

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  • Dan November 16, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Yeah, it does seem pretty dangerous. I could see it on the freeway when traffic is stopped, but not in any other circumstance (i.e., not in town). If I rode a motorcycle, I’d be worried about getting squeezed when traffic started moving again…anyone know how it’s gone from a safety aspect in California?

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    • Glenn Cunningham November 19, 2010 at 10:06 am

      Please see my posts below (I live & ride in the S.F. Bay Area)

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  • Greg November 16, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    I don’t know whether it is a good idea, or bad. I do know that it is legal in some of the European nations that are considered by some as models for bicycle transportation efficiency. Perhaps a bit of research on how it works over there might be instructive.

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  • jonno November 16, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    The PDF linked in the article has some good information. Interestingly, one reference it contains points out that allowing a motorcycle to filter frees up space in that lane for a car, in effect allowing the bike to travel faster while reducing overall congestion for everyone else. This actually led to bikes being excluded from the London congestion charge. It also references a study that found a motorcycle allowed to filter was the fastest possible travel mode in city traffic.

    I ride motor and pedal-powered bikes. They both have their place in city traffic and I’m a fan of each mode for different reasons. Plus, bikes filtering in traffic is just so Euro — that ought to count for something in Portland, right? Can we get a fact-finding trip together please, maybe London and Paris?

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  • Oliver November 16, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    My brief experience with streetbikes ended nearly 20 years ago, so I am apparently ignorant to the fact that this isn’t already legal (in this state).

    I support the idea wholeheartedly.

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  • Kt November 16, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    I really loathe this idea. How does it make the roads any safer?

    I agree with Paulie, wait your turn like an adult, or leave earlier.

    (I also like the threaded comments, but miss the numbering from the old comment. And, how do you get a picture next to your name?? That’s pretty neat.)

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  • otis November 16, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    1) This is terribly unsafe. Share the road, not the lane.
    2) This represents a diversion from the more important legislative issue of bolstering non-motorized transportation.

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    • pat h November 16, 2010 at 4:51 pm

      1) Your opinion isn’t support by data.
      2) That’s just, like, your opinion, man. It is important for others and overall furthers the agenda of having more options than cars.

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  • resopmok November 16, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    if allowed i would say only on highways and roads where non-motorized vehicles and pedestrians are prohibited. the primary risk for this obviously dangerous riding would then be mostly to the operator. unpredictable, unsignaled lane changes are the obvious problem here. speed limits still apply – there is no reason to go flying between two cars at 90 mph unless you have a death wish. city surface streets are far too narrow and slow to allow anything like this. and on that note, it’s a horrific idea to do this on a bike too. if you could walk faster than being stuck behind cars, then get off your bike and onto the sidewalk. i’m sure we all wish we could ride like lucas brunelle, but it’s a recipe for disaster and potentially dangerous for pedestrians as well.

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    • pat h November 16, 2010 at 4:53 pm

      A prudent speed is always required.

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    • John Lascurettes November 16, 2010 at 8:28 pm

      The california law IIRC is that you cannot exceed 15 MPH while splitting the lane (not that most motorcyclists heeded that limit).

      Regarding someone talking about bikes splitting the lane: We probably cannot “split” multiple lanes, but the same law that allows cars to pass us on the left while we ride as far right as practicable is the same law that allows us to pass on the right if safe.

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      • Dan November 17, 2010 at 5:58 am

        Actually, there is no CA law that dictates anything about Lane splitting, be it speed or otherwise. It’s legal in that there are no laws prohibiting it.

        It is, however, up to the LEO’s discretion to stop and cite a cyclist for a myriad of other violations if the LEO has an issue with the cyclist’s technique, including unsafe speed, unsafe passing, unsafe lane change etc.

        Anecdotally, in my 8+ years commuting in Los Angeles on motorcycle, I never had any incidents while lane splitting, only while on surface streets with cross traffic, on coming drivers turning left in front of me, etc.

        Like anything, Lane splitting is as safe as the operator.

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        • John Lascurettes November 17, 2010 at 10:19 am

          Indeed. I looked it up. Thanks for the clarification. I was always jealous of the lane-spliting motos when I was stuck in bumper to bumper on my 50 mile commute in California. I also always moved over just a little to give them more room when I saw them coming. Who am I to deny them free movement when they have the ability? I see nothing wrong with the practice when done in a prudent and safe manner.

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  • mello yello November 16, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    During the naked bike ride the motorcycle cops gunned it on sidewalks to get to the front. One caught some hefty air jumping off the curb — like Terminator into a canal.

    It should be mandatory that motorcycles have bells to announce their presence while lane splitting — little itty bitty ones like on bicycles.

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  • Todd Boulanger November 16, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    After working and driving in Abu Dhabi for the last 7 months where lane splitting is very common and effective…the negatives of this vehicle operation could be minimized.

    I would support it if the law had restrictions:
    - limit it to ODoT facilities for first 2 years (to allow for study time),
    - place a ceiling of 15 MPH for motorcycles passing stopped cars and 20 mph on moving traffic,
    - no lane splitting on lanes with bike lane or shoulders,
    - a complete stop performed at intersections/ crosswalks with stopped traffic before proceeding through it, and
    - fault for crashes would be placed on motorcycle operator.

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    • Glenn Cunningham November 18, 2010 at 10:05 pm

      So you think anytime a motorcycle is lane filtering — they should be fair game for other motorist to hit with no blame/penalty? Crazy, totally removing any responsibility form drivers to look out for two wheeled vehicles. Look, sounds like you are not a good driver who didn’t keep aware — don’t blame the Abu Dhabi riders for that.

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  • Nat West November 16, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    I lived and rode a motorcycle in California for about two years and lane-split every day. It’s widely recognized in California as much safer when in stop-and-go highway traffic. Also important to note is that motorcyclists were still potentially breaking the laws of “improper” or “reckless” driving. You had to be lane-splitting in a safe manner.

    There were some general guidelines like never go more than 15-25 MPH over the surrounding traffic, and never split when traffic is going 40 or above.

    It’s mostly used to smooth out your ride when motorcycling. If you’re cruising along at 60 MPH, with traffic, and you see a bunch of red taillights ahead, you slip over to the dotted line to avoid getting sandwiched by an inattentive driver. You slow down, too, while passing cars, then when traffic speeds up again, you slip back into the lane.

    Every serious rider in California can mention an occasion (or two) of clipping someone’s mirror, but that’s quite rare since they’re at a different height than your handlebars.

    The best thing ever is slipping in behind a California Highway Patrol officer on a moto and splitting behind them for a few dozen miles.

    Motorcycling is not safe, but imho, lane splitting doesn’t make it any less so.

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  • Spiffy November 16, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    I was born and raised in California… sorry…

    I think the same model California uses could work here… I think it’s only on the freeway, only when cars are going below 15 mph, and only between lanes, not to the outside of them…

    so not in downtown, not on Powell/Sandy, and not the shoulder…

    however, we don’t have anywhere near the traffic problem that California has… people up here that complain about traffic don’t know how good they have it…

    there’s not a lot of risk if everybody obeys the law… so as long as the motorcycles aren’t going 60mph through stopped cars, and people use their turn signals and mirrors to ensure they don’t hit a motorcycle coming down the middle…

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  • James N November 16, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    I cannot see why OR rejects this. Most motorcycle riders who splittng lane travel at low speed while traffic is standing still. I saw motorcycle riders do this in AZ, CA and FL without any problem. It is all about being responsible and apply common sense to what you doing.

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  • Dan Kaufman November 16, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    I’m all for it, especially if it encourages more people commute with motorcycles.

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  • ED November 16, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    I think this sounds like a bad idea for motorcycles as well as bikes. I cringe every time I see bikes darting through cars and buses downtown to try to save a few minutes or prove the superiority of their commuting method. Although I do not advocate trying to “out-car the car” in all situations (i.e., bikes trying to act like a perfect motor vehicle), taking the lane seems like the most sensible option for bikes and motorcycles. Even if it creates some additional congestion, it ensures that two-wheel vehicles are seen and not squeezed.

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  • mello yello November 16, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    We need someone to punish drivers for right hooks and idiots not using their turn signals. 600 pounds of rubber and metal into a side door at 25-60 mph should do it. I’d imagine drivers would tend to check their side mirrors and blind spots more often.

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    • Dave November 16, 2010 at 4:09 pm

      Yeah, but the 200lbs of flesh and bone gets expensive fast.

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  • Jim Warthen November 16, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    I’ve been a motorcyclist for many years. I’ve riden in California and have used safe lane sharing techniques. If you look at this from a motorcycle safety angle you see that lane sharing would reduces rear end motorcycle collisions. Rear end collisions are on the top of every motorcyclist mind. Sitting at a traffic light or stopped in traffic is one of the times where the motorcyclist is the most vulnerable. I’ve had several close calls where people didn’t see me sitting there and was force to evade.

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  • Pete November 16, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    I live and ride (bicycles) in California now and it doesn’t seem to be a problem at all. I’m on the road (driving and biking) daily and have yet to see a motorcyclist on the right of a car in the right lane anyway – they know it’s an unsafe place (reserved for us bicyclists ;). The law states they cannot exceed the speed of traffic by more than 10 MPH, and in stopped traffic it makes sense to me to let them move to the front of the stop lights, for instance. Yes, I’ve been startled by them a time or two, but for the most part I watch my rear-views when I drive anyway, and if I move over for them (many people do) I often get a thumbs up or thank-you wave.

    I don’t know the numbers but have heard that CA has one of the best motorcycle accident stats (per capita) and it actually improved when this law was passed (back in the early 70′s IIRC). I’d be really interested in knowing if someone could post those stats – in my mind if it was truly a dangerous practice the insurance industry would have made it stop by now. Not being a motorcyclist I don’t have that perspective, but it sure seems to work just fine around here.

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  • spare_wheel November 16, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Bikes can slip between the right lane and parked cars but lane splitting is illegal. I’ve always thought that this was silly because IMO its more dangerous to pass on the right than to split lanes. And yes…I’ve been known to split lanes and “shoal” cars when downtown is a parking lot.

    Point A —- > Point B.

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  • pat h November 16, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Bicycles have the legal right to pass on the right in Oregon. Motorcycles want to pass on the left, where there is plenty of space. There is a lot more in common between motorcycles and bicycles than most bicyclists realize, I think. There is nothing more frustrating than sitting in stopped traffic on motorcycle when there is plenty of space between stopped cars (NOT in the bike lane). It saves space for everyone else, and time for the motorcyclists. Bike lanes would still be for bicycles. I think this would minimally impact bicyclists and would greatly improve things for motorcyclists. Motorcyclists are just as vulnerable as bicyclists — maybe even more so given the exposure to higher speed traffic.

    Jonathan: two corrections:

    1) “which accelerate faster than cars” — motorcyclists have the ability to accelerate faster but that does mean that they do. Also, most scooters are considered motorcycles legally (> 50 cc), but those are often slower than cars. Mopeds are specially legally.

    2) Also, lane splitting isn’t legal per se in California. It just isn’t prohibited per statue and is very common.

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  • Bob_M November 16, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Lane splitting was initiated when most motorcycles were air cooled and stop and go traffic would cause them to overheat and stall in traffic, making traffic worse. I have done the lane splitting on a motorcycle and it is nerve wracking.
    In answer to the question: yes it should be legal. Like bicycles, motorcycles take up very little space, and when done safely they should be allowed to use pavement that is otherwise not used. Anything that can be done to encourage the use of small, efficient vehicles should be encouraged. (Although the efficiency often results in greater power and speed rather than better fuel efficiency). An upside would be that more motorcycles on the road would mean more road users who actually pay attention, because the motorcyclist cannot afford to be daydreaming in traffic. In many regards motorcyclist are just as vulnerable as road users as bicyclists. They too are subject to haters who resent them and they suffer similar consequences as a result of inattentive or incompetent drivers.
    Encourage motorcyclists! Less wear on infrastructure, less congestion, less room needed for parking. Motorcycles get good mileage. A small one gets 70+ MPG and a big 180 MPH motorcycle still gets 33 MPG. These are under used tools in the realm of transportation.

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  • KWW November 16, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    Only on multilane limited access highways

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    • pat h November 16, 2010 at 4:48 pm

      That sounds a lot like the inverse of limiting where bicyclists should be.

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  • q`Tzal November 16, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    sam
    Also, love the new threaded comments.

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  • CaptainKarma November 16, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Imagine being doored at 25 mph on a Harley or whatever. The auto driver/door opener would likely be maimed or killed. Just to save a few seconds.

    I don’t think allowing it in only certain circumstances would work; I believe that riders would just do it all the time if allowed to do it at all. And yes, they’d be all over bicycle lanes. ‘N besides, how are they ever going to get caught?

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    • Paul November 17, 2010 at 10:04 am

      Motorcyclists don’t ride between parked cars and moving traffic for that very reason. They travel between two lanes.

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  • Joe November 16, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    ppl lane swap to easy already, not a good idea..

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    • Glenn Cunningham November 18, 2010 at 10:29 pm

      So, it’s better to cut and swap from lane to lane, in and out of traffic — so long as you don’t go between cars? Filtering is flow — like in a river, less interrupting of other traffic. Done correctly, you rarely need to break or cause others to break for you.

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  • Barney November 16, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    Many readers of this site are often quite eager to see European ways emulated here in the US. This subject should be a slam dunk then. In almost every European city, both large and small, motorcycles and scooters are free to do this. They move quite efficiently through the narrow spaces that are available. It effectively turns a 4 lane road a 10 lane road by allowing use of these open space. More traffic moves more efficiently through the available space. Car drivers have adapted to this and all seem to coexist peacefully.

    I was splitting lanes on my moto 35 years ago in California. It has been happening for a long time there. There doesn’t seem to be any significant downside to it after all of that history.

    I say, let the moto’s go, and don’t be a hater of either bike or moto!

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    • JAT in Seattle November 16, 2010 at 7:57 pm

      I was driving in Florence (Italy, not Oregon) and indeed confirm that all the motorcycles and scooters filter to the front at stop lights, and when the light turns green they all gun their 75cc engines and poodle away in a cloud of blue smoke with a zero to 60kph time of about three minutes…

      infuriating and awful.

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      • Glenn Cunningham November 18, 2010 at 10:25 pm

        Yeah — lots of those scooter riders fiddle with their emissions control devices to go faster. But that is another issue. In any case, would you rather each of those scooter riders be in a car? Imagine the traffic then! (Visit Manila if you want to see the result).

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  • Dwainedibbly November 16, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    I used to be a motorcyclist, years ago. I think if this passes it’ll be very negative for bicyclists. They’ll be all over the bike lanes, even if that’s still illegal. Once they get used to splitting lanes, you think they’ll give bikes 3 feet when passing?

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    • Glenn Cunningham November 18, 2010 at 10:23 pm

      You are simply wrong. I ride and bike in San Francisco. Motorcycles don’t use the bike lane. Your fears are simply based on something you are unfamiliar with.

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  • maxadders November 16, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    Does Oregon traffic really warrant this sort of behavior? For a state with so few major cities, it seems like overkill. Plus, as much as Portland metro drivers like to whine about traffic, it ain’t California. It’s a far cry from LA or even the East Bay.

    I’m also concerned that bicyclists and pedestrians will be injured when congested traffic stops to let them cross.

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    • Glenn Cunningham November 18, 2010 at 10:21 pm

      Why would you think this would make a difference in motorcycles also not stopping????

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  • Adam November 16, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Motorcycle is one of my ways of getting around. I think this is a terrible idea. It creates way too many possibilities of a crash. There are enough of those already, we don’t need more.

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    • Glenn Cunningham November 18, 2010 at 10:20 pm

      Adam – no one would force you to lane split. But please don’t make criminals of those who stay alive by it.

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  • SE Cyclist November 16, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    I think it’s great. It will give motorists someone else (besides bicyclists) to be angry with.

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  • Greg November 16, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    I rode a motorcycle for 10 years, and spent a year of that in California. While I did lane split there, I haven’t seen the traffic in Oregon that would warrant lane splitting on a regular basis.

    I’d happily support lane splitting in Oregon if we could combine if with a ban on two stroke vehicle engines. Engines which burn oil by design aren’t really appropriate in an urban environment.

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  • David November 16, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Kt
    I really loathe this idea. How does it make the roads any safer?
    I agree with Paulie, wait your turn like an adult, or leave earlier.
    (I also like the threaded comments, but miss the numbering from the old comment. And, how do you get a picture next to your name?? That’s pretty neat.)

    The pictures are pulled from Gravatar.com (global avatar) and are associated with the email address that you use to comment with.

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  • Machu Picchu November 16, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Traffic backups are frequently a result of incidents requiring response from emergency and maintenance vehicles that would not be able to get through without the shoulder. It’s the lane for problem-solvers to use after all the others have been shut down by the problem-makers.

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    • Machu Picchu November 16, 2010 at 7:48 pm

      I’ll reply to myself to add: For the above reason, I don’t dig the public using the shoulder except in a breakdown or emergency situation.

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  • Terry Hutchinson November 16, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    As a driver, bicyclist, or motorcyclist, I have a right and I expect the ability to use a full traffic lane. Why should there be a special case where, unexpectedly, someone else can simply elect to step into my lane? How slow must I be going? Can I just slide my automobile along side a motorcyclist if they are going slower than I want to go? I don’t need to have yet one more thing to watch out for when driving.

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  • D.R. Miller November 16, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    If I’m not mistaken, it IS legal in Oregon for bicycles to pass slow/stopped vehicles on the right side of the right lane. If motorcycles could do that too at the same time and place, well, potentially pretty scary and dangerous for bicycles.

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  • Charley November 16, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    If this is illegal (to split lanes) for bikes, it doesn’t make any more sense for motorbikes. And, contrary to what a lot of people think, it really isn’t legal to pass on the right while traffic is stopped at a light. People obviously do it all the time, but they’re legally exposed. I don’t know why motorcyclists should get a free pass on this, when cyclists don’t.

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    • John Lascurettes November 16, 2010 at 8:39 pm

      It is perfectly legal to pass on the right a line of stopped vehicles if this is done in the same space you’d be riding in while riding “as far to the right as practicable”. It’s the same law that allows cars to pass you on the left.

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      • John Lascurettes November 16, 2010 at 8:40 pm

        Note with the following exceptions:
        - You may not pass a car stopped for a pedestrian
        - You may not pass the limit line at the stop sign or light before it is your turn to proceed.

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  • borgbike November 16, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    My vote is to support the idea. I see it as comparable to the good aspects of free market capitalism. Let enterprising individuals exploit transportation opportunities. This allows more people to get where they are going faster. Of course totally open unfettered capitalistic transportation leads to grid lock. So keep the other road laws in place!

    Many bicyclists can speak to the joys of our quasi-legal lane splitting. My favorite example is “sharing” lanes with cars as I commute home through the congested streets of the Pearl District on First Thursday evenings. It’s such a joy to be able to move about freely even while folks in cars remain more constrained. (I keep my smug self-satisfaction to myself of course.)

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    • jonno November 17, 2010 at 11:22 am

      I agree, increasing the efficiency of modes where possible increases efficiency of the system as a whole.

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  • Kman November 16, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    I don’t know if this would have helped, but our own Splinter was rear ended this summer while on Marquam when traffic slowed down and an inattentive driver plowed right into the rear of his moto. For those who don’t know, Splinter is one of the best and safest motorcyclists around. I wonder if he had the chance to split the lane, whether he would have been able to avoid the accident.

    I’d be open to the lane splitting idea.

    It would also be advantageous for bicycle advocates to join forces with motorcycle advocates too. We have a common interest in increasing the visibility and respect toward our riders. Notably, getting car drivers to pay attention to us as we are both vulnerable road users.

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  • justin November 16, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    lane splitting would do great things for motorcycling, reduce congestion traffic and parking, and modern motorcycles with fuel injection are usually pretty good with pollution. These are all things we should be strongly encouraging. I ride a zuma 125, gets 70mpg and burns very clean.

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  • G.A.R. November 16, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    Motorcycle has taken on a variety of meanings here in Oregon (at least). Those electric cars (Zap cars) from China are licensed as motorcycles. Lots of motorcycles these days are big Harley trikes with trailers and all kinds of gewgaws. Would this new capability apply to all the vehicles licensed as motorcycles, or would it somehow be limited to narrow ones? I think I like the idea in general, but I don’t think I would want it to apply to vehicles as wide as cars, which some motorcycles are.

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  • JJJ November 16, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    Heres one upside for bikes:

    Lane splitting trains car drivers to look in their side mirror and over their shoulder when changing lanes, even if traffic is stopped, to look for motorcycles.

    That trained behavior extends to bikes.

    Personally, I wouldnt do it if I drove a motorcycle, but Ive yet to read about a motorcyclist killed due to lane splitting. Usually it seems to be because a car makes a turn in front of them (just like bikes)

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  • Hart Noecker November 17, 2010 at 12:21 am

    It makes sense that I can ride my bicycle down the sidewalk whenever it pleases me, peds get out the way. Also, make more trails for me where ever I demand them. If you don’t do that for me, then you’re anti-bike.

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  • T November 17, 2010 at 7:11 am

    I’m for it. I drive my car when it’s raining but ride my scooter whenever I can. I don’t see why we wouldn’t want this. Has anyone ever tried parking at the Sunset Station after 7am on a weekday? If you’re in a car you’re out of luck, if you’re on a scooter there is plenty of parking all day long. If you ride a motorcycle or scooter you should be seen as part of the solution so you should be given special access to the road (just like the HOV lane). If you want to drive a hybrid by youself or some giant deisel truck/SUV to haul your 6 kids around then you’re part of the problem so get in line and wait. It just makes sense. More parking spots, less gas/oil being used, less traffic/congestion, etc.

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  • Bob_M November 17, 2010 at 7:46 am

    Lane splitting puts motocycles between travel lanes on multi-lane roads. Lane splitting is not riding in the shoulder or passing on the right or taking motorcycles on bike lanes which would be violations of the law just like it is now. If the fears of the opponents were justifiable, that motorcyclists would skirt traffic by riding in the bike lanes then we would already be seeing it.

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  • Steve Brown November 17, 2010 at 7:57 am

    Lane splitting still scares me after five years of living in California and still being there at least once a month. But it seems to work for moto riders. It will could have a positive benefit for cyclists. It certainly makes me pay more attention to everything around me when I see that first moto go past. One of the biggest problems in car v bikes is having drivers recognize us as traffic. This could help to create a better understanding that cars do not rule the road.

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  • thumb November 17, 2010 at 8:06 am

    Dan
    Like anything, Lane splitting is as safe as the operator.

    i disagree. lane splitting is only as safe as the idiot driver who decides to change lanes w/o looking over their shoulder. i lived in SoCal for 5 long years and i always thought the bikers were f***ing insane for doing that, considering how many stupid/aggressive moves car and truck drivers pulled on a regular basis.

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    • jonno November 17, 2010 at 9:57 pm

      The numbers cited in the linked pdf lit review above don’t bear that out. It’s not a major contributing cause to accidents in CA and they have decades of data to base that on.

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  • Skid November 17, 2010 at 8:31 am

    Lane SHARING is plenty safe if the laws about it are followed. You can’t go more than 15 mph faster than the automobiles you are sharing the lane with, so if the cars are at a dead stop you are travelling at 15mph. I rode motorcycles for 13 years when I lived in San Diego, and did plenty of lane sharing. I had a few close calls, but nothing as serious as the two “I didn’t see hims” that happened at intersections, one was a car failing to yield to oncoming traffic (me) and one car running a red light.

    In heavy traffic it allows you to go to the stop line, and considering that even a motorscooter can out-accelerate a car off the line, it makes sense to get the motorcycles out in front and away from the cars in a place where most accidents occur.

    The biggest advantage of lane sharing is it give you one more place to be on the road, one more place to go when a car changes lane suddenly and without signalling or looking, which happens quite a bit when you are on a motorcycle. Not having to sit at intersections in the heat with a full-face helmet on is a relief, and it would be relief here to not sit while the rain is pouring down on you.

    I stopped riding motorcycles when I moved to Oregon and part of the reason was because not being able to lane share was frustrating. I might as well be in a car if I can’t lane share. I suppose the good thing is it got me on a bicycle, where I could sail by backed up traffic legally just like I could when I used to ride a motorcycle.

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  • Richard Masoner November 17, 2010 at 9:05 am

    California resident weighing in, and I think lane splitting is a good thing.

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  • Did I miss it? Again? November 17, 2010 at 9:31 am

    “Motorcycles in general, however, are quite dangerous, and I’m not sure we should encourage more people to drive them.”

    Classic!

    How many Americans substitute “motorcycles” with “bicycles” in the above statement?

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  • Tankagnolo Bob November 17, 2010 at 9:46 am

    I think it is fine on freeways where traffic is going below 25 miles an hour at rush hour. I do not think it a good idea on city streets. Too much to watch for now for both bicyclists and drivers of cars. So, Freeways, yes, streets Not !!

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  • NW Biker November 17, 2010 at 9:49 am

    People already drive as if they’re in a competition. I’ve said for years that the only remaining rule of the road is “I can get where I’m going before you get where you’re going,” regardless of how absurd that notion may be. I’d be concerned that this idea would spark road rage in those already inclined to believe that they deserve to be in front. The last thing we need is more competition on the roads.

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  • Kt November 17, 2010 at 10:05 am

    I guess where I’m coming from is, the thought of motorcycles driving up between the lanes while I’m driving on a freeway scares me.

    It’s unexpected, and what if I’m about to change lanes and the motorcyclist doesn’t see my turn signals because he’s traveling so much faster than I am?

    For instance– if I’m stuck in traffic moving 30 miles an hour, a motorcyclist lane splitting could be moving at 45mph. That’s a big difference in speed.

    The other thing– drivers here in Oregon are, generally speaking, bad. I’ll even lump myself in here, since I’m a driver in Oregon, even though I think I’m a pretty good driver. I can’t see how this would make our freeways and highways any safer.

    Most especially in rush hour traffic, where we’d probably see lane splitting happen most often.

    I guess most of my objection to the idea is because of how I feel, not because of hard data. But I’d bet most people who aren’t cyclists also feel this way, and that’s why you have to appeal to how people feel about things instead of presenting hard data.

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    • Pete November 17, 2010 at 1:15 pm

      So I did a little research (see CHP’s website, for instance) and will correct myself (and the other former San Diego motorcyclist) in that there is no law in California explicitly allowing it, nor is there a speed differential specified (I thought 10 MPH, he said 15 MPH). I’ve rarely seen motorcyclists drive much faster than traffic here in CA, though, except an occasional younger driver, and they tend to do that whether in cars or on bikes anyway. My guess is motorcyclists are like bicyclists in that they become more aware of unsafe situations because of their alternative experiences on the road. Pure speculation, I’ll admit.

      I hear where you’re coming from, and yes, they do catch you off-guard from time to time. I’m guessing some pedestrians feel the same way when we cycle by them faster, even when we’re doing so ‘safely’ and announced. But having lived and traveled in many cities and towns across the US I agree with the auto insurance industry’s findings that Oregonians are some of the safest and most courteous drivers in the US. You’ve got it pretty good up there! ;-)

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  • toddistic November 17, 2010 at 10:08 am

    please legalize lane splitting. it works. i have been lane splitting on my bicycle for years when a bike lane is not present and don’t mind sharing it with my motorized brethren.

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  • midtoad November 17, 2010 at 10:35 am

    In Brazil, lane-splitting is allowed only when traffic is moving at less than 30 km/h. Seems like a sensible restriction.

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  • toby November 17, 2010 at 10:49 am

    Just my two cents…
    As has been said, lane splitting is not legal in Ca, just not specifically illegal. People still get cited for sharing the lane, passing without signaling, etc. On a motorcycle I would lane split on occasion, but mostly only when my left arm is cramping from constantly squeezing the clutch because of that sweat spot speed. Usually I just stayed put as long as we are moving.
    I’m pretty sure that any lane splitting laws that would come out of this would only apply to the freeway and not surface streets so would have no impact on bicycles.
    In a nutshell, I’m all for it on the freeway, but not on signaled traffic.

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  • Evan November 17, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    As a motorcyclist I think lane splitting should be legalized. There are a couple of good reasons why it should be. While traffic in Portland is not as congested as traffic in California there are plenty of days where I have been stuck in slow moving or stopped traffic. Many motorcycles are air-cooled and tend to overheat in hotter weather if they are not moving, so this can be an issue in the summer months. In addition to that during the warmer months of the year sitting behind someones hot exhaust with an engine between your legs gets a bit uncomfortable after awhile. Line splitting has also shown to be safer then sitting in stopped or slow moving traffic. Motorcycles have a smaller visual profile and many accidents have been in stopped traffic where a motorcyclist has been rear ended. Therefore lane splitting while still risky is safer then sitting in stopped traffic. Drivers also need to be more responsible and look out for bicyclists and motorcyclists, we are all responsible for keeping each other safe. While motorcyclists receive a bad reputation they are not all bad remember that person on that bike is a son or daughter to someone.

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  • Arem November 17, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    As a bicycle commuter/rider and as a motorcyclist that has also survived a wreck (thank you armored leather gear!), I’d have to not support this and would not make use of it even if legalized. Too many variables already to watch out for on the roads and too many road users you could potentially file under the 3D’s (dumb, distracted and/or drunk) that one should assume every other road user falls under. To many folks out there that only use minimal required gear out there and ride irresponsibly (often nicknamed “squids”) that could potentially put themselves and others at greater risk for personal property damage or bodily harm due to distracted road users (“I didn’t see them!”) or poor judgement on their own part. It would be a better course to take another look at having the “Idaho Stop” law looked at again over this. *coughborninBoisewhenlawwasenactedcough*

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    • Glenn Cunningham November 18, 2010 at 4:17 pm

      You simply don’t have extensive experience filtering in Urban traffic, that’s why you fear it. If you had such experience — you would know that positioning your motorcycle always ready to filter gives you much better field of view of what is coming up (if you follow in the center of the lane you often can’t see what lies on the road ahead), avoids the center of the lane often filled with oil and other slick surfaces, and provides you an escape route when cars behind you can’t stop in time. There are no guarantees in motorcycling(or life for that matter), but taking away one of the biggest advantages motorcyclist have to survive the crazy highways — is really being anti-motorcycle. No experienced urban rider I ever met in the Bay Area or other areas in Europe where it is commonly practiced was ever against filtering. If you lived in the Bay Area and commuted by motorcycle for years, you to would be supporting such methods.

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  • Dan November 17, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    thumb

    Dan
    Like anything, Lane splitting is as safe as the operator.

    i disagree. lane splitting is only as safe as the idiot driver who decides to change lanes w/o looking over their shoulder. i lived in SoCal for 5 long years and i always thought the bikers were f***ing insane for doing that, considering how many stupid/aggressive moves car and truck drivers pulled on a regular basis.

    Disagree all you want…
    You can be a victim of ‘idiot drivers’ or you can learn to predict their moves. If you see a space opening up in an adjacent lane, you slow down, expecting a car to swerve into it.

    Survive or be a victim. Makes for an interesting commute, you certainly feel alive when you get where you’re going.

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  • Duncan November 17, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Paul Cone
    What happens when a vehicle using the right shoulder (otherwise known as the EMERGENCY LANE) stalls out, and then emergency vehicles can’t get through? Not a good idea.

    well if it is a motorcycle you push it to the side of the road, in between some cars or all the way off the shoulder.

    doh

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  • Duncan November 18, 2010 at 6:49 am

    This is awesome news! Can’t wait!

    I love two wheels- I have four two wheeled devices- two human powered, two motorized. I think that filtering is a grand idea as long as:

    It only takes place when traffic is slowed or stopped (say under 20 MPH on the freeway, 10 in town)

    excludes areas reserved for non motorized transit (no motors on bike lanes, bike boxes, sidewalks or the Eslplanade please). I realize that this is already the case, but I think that a specific exclusion (along with a high fine for failure to comply) should cement the idea that filtering is not an excuse to motorcycle in a bike lane… something I already see cars doing all the time.

    Is coupled with the mandatory MSF course rules that are already in place.

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  • Skid November 18, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Almost everyone on a motorcycle knows enough not to pass on the shoulder.

    left side – passing side

    right side – suicide

    No motorcycles are going to be riding in the bike lane.

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  • Glenn Cunningham November 18, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Two things all should consider:

    1. The HURT study, the most exhaustive study on motorcycle safety ever done, concluded that lane splitting was actually safer for riders in congested traffic as compared to following along in traffic (due to the most common of accidents — the rear ender). Having commuted for 20 years in the S.F. Bay area, practicing lane splitting probably saved my life in at least two cases –including an incident on the Bay Bridge during a light drizzle in which a Truck that was behind me crashed into the car that was in front of me when traffic slowed quickly — good thing I always proceed between lanes of slow moving traffic when such stops happen. I ride and lane split every day and if I have extensive experience and knowledge on anything, this is it. Those with less experience really shouldn’t be commenting here. (Just because you fear something you don’t have extensive experience on — doesn’t mean everyone else should be outlawed from doing it).

    2. Regarding bike lanes — I don’t see how this is an issue. Wouldn’t it still be illegal for motorcyclist to use bike lanes? Motorcycles are not the dangers — cars are. When was the last time a motorcyclist killed a bicyclist?

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      • Glenn Cunningham November 18, 2010 at 9:26 pm

        You may have also heard of the recent court case in which two 4 years olds racing tricycles killed an elderly lady. Does that mean tricycles in general are as deadly to others as cars?? Take a basic physics course: F=MA. Traffic fatality statistics also support this. Further, in the interest of self-preservation — people on two wheels are more likely to take precautions to avoid other solid object. People in cages (4 wheels), with all their separation and armor — simply aren’t as concerned.

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  • jim November 18, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    I hope ya’ll don’t mind sharing the bike box with a motorcycle ’cause that’s where they are going to end up at

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    • Glenn Cunningham November 18, 2010 at 4:56 pm

      Hey Jim – I also ride bikes — and I would much rather share the road with more motorcycles than more cars. One more motorcycle is also one more car of the road. If you are against motorcycles filtering — I pretty much see you as pro car and anti-bike. I’ve never been almost killed by a motorcycle — so many times by cars.

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      • jim November 18, 2010 at 6:46 pm

        I have respect for the way most motorcycles ride. They are extra vigilant when it comes to safety. Of course there are always the ninja riders bombing down the sunset, i put those guys in a whole different class. i have been in long traffic tie-ups on the way to the coast where it would have been nice if the motorcycles would be allowed to ride the shoulder to get around a 45 minute wait. I just don’t think that spliting the lanes in moving traffic is such a safe idea, trucks may not be able to see you in their blind spot

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      • jim November 18, 2010 at 6:50 pm

        perhaps if you are almost killed by cars so many times you shouldn’t put yourself in that position?

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        • Glenn Cunningham November 18, 2010 at 10:38 pm

          My reply to this was censured — so I’ll be a little nicer this time. I almost had a car hit me when walking down the sidewalk – when the driver lost control and his car jumped the curb. Does that mean I shouldn’t walk on the sidewalk? There are many other cases I know about –both with myself and friends. To blame their “position”, and not the driver — is just……

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    • Duncan November 18, 2010 at 10:41 pm

      Just because you aren’t smart enough to figure out how it will work without motorcycles ending up in the bike box, doesnt’ mean it won’t work. Leave the motorcycling decisions to those of us licensed to operate them.

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  • jim November 18, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BimWUQO_fic

    This should be illegal, not legal

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    • Glenn Cunningham November 18, 2010 at 9:13 pm

      Jim – Just because you wouldn’t do something, does not mean it should be illegal for everyone else. Just because you don’t understand something, does not mean you should have a knee jerk reaction and just say it should criminal. Before you judge something so harshly — talk to people, or ride with people who do what you think is so dangerous. For Myself, splitting lanes has saved my life several times. It puts me and my skills in control of the situation, able to react to what is ahead of me — rather than hoping the drivers behind me are always good enough to stop and not hit me. There are no guarantees of safety on the road — but I want to be in control, reacting to drivers ahead that I’m passing — not just hoping all behind me will not hit me. It would be insane to say bikes could never pass cars in the same lane — the same goes for motorcycles.

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  • jim November 19, 2010 at 12:43 am

    What do you do with the 3 wheel motorcycles? bikes with sidecars? mopeds?
    what about blind spots next to trucks? or the bozo driving a u-haul for the first time? crazy tow truck drivers that swerve back and forth over the line? what happens when you get pinched or cut-off? who’s liable?

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    • Glenn Cunningham November 19, 2010 at 9:54 am

      Easy – define a motorcycle as only on two wheels. Actually, you only need to remove Section 814.240 of the ORS, as it specifically only disallows motorcycles or mopeds. Look it up, link is in the article. Yes, blind spots & bad drivers exists — all the more reason for allowing such: As a rider, I always assume I am invisible, given my small profile. That’s why I prefer passing between two cars/trucks; they are more likely to see each other. (In 20+ years of riding — the only times others have moved sideways into me, was when there was a carless space to move into, not when there is another car to the side). And yes, you don’t always do this — like when you see a swerving trailer, etc. There are many times drivers & riders need to think & adjust to the situation; should it all be illegal because we need to think and be responsible? Liability is no different here — it is based on fault. And yes, car/truck drivers need learn to look out for two wheelers and others who may be passing them. (If you can’t do that — take the bus). Running over a biker because you “did not see them” is a lame excuse and indicative of someone who should not be on the road. (This is not to say that the overtaker should not be prudent in terms of passing speed — everyone needs to consider possibility of others making mistakes & ride within those limits).

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  • Dan Kaufman November 19, 2010 at 10:24 am

    So the Governor’s committee is going to do a survey. Since their are so few motorcyclists I am sure we can already guess the results (even based on the comments here – which I find sad).

    Why don’t we move forward with this IF it’s a good idea that will (A) ease congestion, (B) move people out of cars, (C) reduce fuel consumption and (D) increase safety or at least have no net negative (based on available research not Jimmy Q Public’s conjecture and youtube videos). In fact, research is where I’d rather see the money spent instead of a stupid survey.

    But, since opinions and anecdotes are the order of the day… A friend and neighbor of mine who recently moved from California told me one of the reasons he sold his motorcycle was because they don’t allow lane splitting. He now commutes to work in a large pick-up truck – hooray for us!

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    • Glenn Cunningham November 19, 2010 at 11:15 am

      Regarding research — I think for the law prohibiting motorcycle lane sharing to exist, there should be conclusive evidence showing how it decreases public safety. With all the data I have read — it appears this is not the case, if not the exact opposite. The burden of proof should be on those who want to keep a law that makes criminals out of many motorcyclist -not on the motorcyclist and those who support them. In regards to how this effects our lives: as an everyday motorcyclist and cyclist, I have chosen to live in California despite having family in Portland, in large part because of this law. When I do ride up to Oregon, I still lane split, whenever I feel it is the prudent or right thing to do. The only difference is — I need to keep keep extra awareness for LEO’s (and thus a little less on my riding) & watch out for vigilantes (those splitting behind me in Oregon have been hit by thrown objects, and once an Oregon Truck driver went crazy swerving around in catching up to us, only to try to run into us while yelling that what we did was against the law).

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      • jim November 20, 2010 at 11:26 am

        Any experianced motorcycle rider will stay away from semi trucks because the trailers generally use retread tires which often come apart throwing large chunks of rubber that will wipe out a motorcycle

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        • Glenn Cunningham November 20, 2010 at 4:25 pm

          Any experienced motorcyclist must deal with semi trucks as they share you road with you. So as not to stay around them to long with the dangers including that of ‘retread tires’ you mention, you get by them as quickly as prudent. Go slower then them — and you need to deal with the danger even more.

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  • Duncan November 19, 2010 at 10:34 am

    As a motorcyclist my biggest concern is the guy behind me- if the guy in front of me doesnt see me all i have to do is not hit him- the guy behind me is another matter.

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  • jim November 19, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    I can see the logic in letting a cycle pass cars that are stopped because of something…. This will keep your air cooled motor from overheating, and no use just sitting there if you don’t have to.
    Splitting the lanes in moving traffic is just not good judgement. There is a reason why no more states have allowed this besides Cal.. There are a lot of things they do in Cal that most Oregonians do not want.
    Come visit, spend some money, go home.

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    • Glenn Cunningham November 19, 2010 at 10:23 pm

      Jim – this is not about air cooled motors and never was, neither here or anywhere else. This is about sensible policy in regard to riding, something you really are not qualified to judge, as you simply do not have extensive experience riding motorcycles in urban environments. (This is like a veteran soldier being told by a kid who plays video games how to best fight). If you know a good reason why this is not allowed in most U.S. states (as opposed to most of the world), let me know — and please provide some facts besides the fear of the ignorant. The U.S. is a car based nation with relatively few people experienced in riding in urban environments–that is my best guess as to why things are different here. Some of us hope Oregon could be both more progressive and liberty minded and lead the nation in such issues — rather than just another state filled with cage riding sheep. Changing the no lane sharing law for motorcycles is something both liberals and conservatives should be able to find common ground in (as this encourages alternative modes of transport, and removes needless government regulations). Unfortunately, I think you represent the majority; a majority that is happy with what they are familiar with — and fear anything different. As such — you win, but we all loose in the end.

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      • jim November 20, 2010 at 11:23 am

        ” Unfortunately, I think you represent the majority”
        Isn’t that what we are? A democracy? Would you rather have a Dictatorship?
        If I don’t have the extensive experiance that you do to ride between cars and trucks, Than what makes you think it should be legal for anybody that’s not qualified to do just that?
        In my youth I would drive over 100 mph every day, I fealt comfortable with that and was never caught… Should we make it legal? Heck no. I was young and had bad judgement. That is why we have laws, to protect ourselves and others against our own bad judgement in a Democratic manner. It is what we decided as a society, if you don’t go with what society decides is right than you are wrong. In this case if you are lane splitting in Oregon you are wrong. You can shape up, or face the consequences, or move to a place that has the rules that fit your wishes. In spite of what you hear from the media, most of us in Oregon do not want to be Progresive or Liberal, that is only what the liberal news projects for everyone to assume. We were a bunch of lumberjacks untill former governor Kitzhaber killed our only good economy (not the work all day and dance all night type). Perhaps some day N cal and s. oregon will merge and make a new state,….
        Have you ever considered moving out of the city where you could enjoy the open road? then you might not have this issue. Life is short- sometimes a big move can be refreshing

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  • jim November 20, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Glen-
    When you ride in Oregon do you wear a helmet? Just because it’s ok in Cal dosen’t make it Oregon

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  • Glenn Cunningham November 20, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Jim – The majority of Oregon “society” did not decide to implement ORS 814.240 – probably some desk bound bureaucrat added it in the code years ago or simply copied it from another state — with little or no research and experience on the subject. Now, I’ll bet the majority of non-riders in Oregon will want to keep the code — for no other reason than that they don’t know better. Those who actually ride are in majority for allowing lane sharing. Regardless, I don’t base my morals on what is coded in books — I try to follow a higher rule. Nor do I believe you base all of what you see as right or wrong on existing law — rather only when it is convenient to your argument. Also, this code goes AGAINST conservative philosophy — which holds for LESS government interference in our lives. How would you like a bunch of city dwelling hipsters with little experience on the matter deciding exact techniques on how you “lumberjacks” cut individual trees? That is just like what you are arguing for here. I am alive & in shape today because I did and still do practice lane sharing on a daily bases (see my Bay Bridge story above); no code will make me change. To all you big government types always for more codes and regulations: remember, every code creates a new criminal class. And to all those who care little about government interfering with lives of others — so long as it does not impinge on their own: when the government comes after what you think is special in your life — don’t then expect sympathy from those you cared so little for.

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  • Glenn Cunningham November 20, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    One clarification on my views: although I know that motorcycle lane filtering, done correctly, is a good and safe practice for myself and many others, I do not advocate it for everyone and in every situation. However, just because it is not the right thing all the time for everyone, does not mean it needs to be a criminal act all the time for everyone. Going with this logic, pretty much every activity you can think of should and would be illegal or tightly regulated. Regulations and codes should exist only when there is good evidence that they serve the public good; such evidence simply does not exist to justify ORS 814.240.

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  • jim November 20, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    “I do not advocate it for everyone”
    We need laws that are good guidlines for everyone, you can’t pick and choose who the law is good for. An inexperianced rider will no doubt get himself into a jam because he thinks it is his right to ride like that.

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  • Glenn Cunningham November 21, 2010 at 12:12 am

    Having something not against the law, does not mean everyone should do it all the time, people need to consider the specific situation (what they are driving/riding, road conditions, visibility, weather, etc.) in practically every situation, not just in lane sharing. The law does not exist (nor would it be possible) to tell us exactly how to do everything; people need to have a certain amount of good judgement and self responsibility in what they do; motorcyclist in particular do this in order to survive. (Permitting speed over 55 mph does not mean the laws sets a guideline that it is always safe and everyone should drive over 55, just as permitting lane sharing does not mean the law sets a guideline that it is always safe and everyone should lane share). If you can’t make these kinds of decisions without thousands of legal guidelines telling you what you can or can’t do in every situation, you really shouldn’t be on the road driving any kind of vehicle in the first place.

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    • jim November 21, 2010 at 11:47 am

      giving someone a legal ok to go ahead and do something that is not safe takes away their liabillity because they were within the law

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