Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Lane-Splitting’

Oregon State Capitol in the Spring

Did you know that in 2013, Portland was ranked as the 10th most traffic-congested metropolitan area in the United States?

Jump ahead two years later, and Portland is now ranked (2015) as the 8th most traffic-congested metropolitan area on a Friday in the United States.

I’m an advocate for motorcycle safety and the passage of laws that improve motorcycle safety with a result of increased motorcycle awareness and driver accountability.  Like many of you, I’ve been riding for a good long while and my perspective comes from years of riding motorcycles across the United States (including in California).

Given the fact that Oregon continues to struggle with funding issues associated with overhauling an aging transportation infrastructure at the same time in which it is coming under increasing strain from population growth you’d think aspects of improving stop-and-go traffic situations would be relatively straightforward.  It’s not!  There is a lot of discussion and hand-wringing in Salem about riding motorcycles, incentivizing motorcycle use in dense urban areas and using less fuel-efficient automobiles, but few actionable plans seem to materialize or get put into motion to address increased traffic congestion.

One could debate if the “let it melt” strategy for ice storms, is being applied to traffic congestion, but instead it would be “watch it get worse.”  I’m still looking for a report out or the glowing “success” memo from ODOT in regards to the near Real-Time Reader Signs on Highway 217 that seldom seem to be accurate.

In fairness, there have been enhancements to various roadways to “ease” some traffic congestion and construction is now happening on Highway 26 to widen the road.  In addition, there is a major enhancement planned to improve traffic conditions and highway operations on I-5 from Highway 99W to I-205.  Part of the Corridor Bottleneck Operations Study, the I-5 project isn’t going to start until early 2018 and hopefully be completed by the fall of 2019.

Below is a quick summary of some key 2017 motorcycle legislation and the current status:

Senate Bill 385Lane Sharing (Highways Only) — Bill would have made lane splitting legal, but has died in the Senate Judiciary Committee.  The Governor’s Advisory Committee on Motorcycle Safety (GAC-MS) discussed, debated and identified merits and problems with this legislation, and decided at its February 16, 2017 meeting to oppose SB 385 by a 5-2 vote in the name of motorcyclist and motorist safety.  ODOT opposed passage of SB 385 citing that Oregonians don’t support this motorcycle riding practice and that the safety of motorcyclists across the state of Oregon will be compromised.  The AAA and the Oregon Trucking Association also testified against the bill.

The next legislative session opportunity is now in 2019.

You might recall that there was an identical bill which failed two years ago — SB 694.  Interestingly this bill received initial support from the GAC-MS.  The group provided written and verbal testimony in support of the bill which made it out of committee (unanimously) and passed the full Senate with a 2/3 bipartisan majority before failing in the House.  The GAC-MS changed its position after SB 694 passed the Senate and then opposed the bill at the House Committee on Transportation and Economic Development.  It’s unclear why the Committee’s position switched or the mixed messages on the riding practice.

What is the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Motorcycle Safety (GAC-MS) you ask?

It’s an influential group comprised of eight volunteer citizens who advise the Governor and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative on motorcycle safety issues and legislation. The GAC-MS reviews legislation that could or might affect motorcycle safety in Oregon.  The Committee consider’s input from Oregon Confederation of Clubs, Abate of Oregon, BIKEPAC of Oregon, Law Enforcement, ODOT, AAA, Trucking Association to name a few and from motorcyclists and organizations in support of motorcycle legislation.

House Bill 2665Lane Sharing (Lanes and Shoulders) — Allows operators of motorcycles and mopeds to travel on the shoulder of highway during traffic jams or slowdowns.  The Governor’s Advisory Committee on Motorcycle Safety Committee voted to oppose 7-0.

Senate Bill 680Lane Sharing (All Roads) — Allows operators of motorcycles and mopeds to travel between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles during traffic jams or slowdowns.  The Governor’s Advisory Committee on Motorcycle Safety voted to oppose 7-0 in a previous meeting.

House Bill 2598Vehicular Assault of Motorcycle Riders (Enhanced Penalties) or often called the “Driver Responsibility Bill” — Expands offense of vehicular assault to include contact with motorcycle, motorcycle operator or motorcycle passenger.  Specifically adds motorcyclists (and/or their passengers) to a current Oregon law that provides those who operate another vehicle recklessly resulting in contact with and injury to a motorcyclist and/or their passenger to be possibly charged with the crime of “vehicular assault” and its associated penalties.  There is no specific provisions to protect motorcyclists from reckless drivers and there is no specific accountability for drivers that injure a motorcyclist as opposed to a pedestrian or a bicyclist, and motorcyclists are not on the vulnerable users list.

The bill has moved thru the House committee with a “pass” recommendation and is headed for House Floor vote.  The Governor’s Advisory Committee on Motorcycle Safety voted to oppose 4-3 the bill and is determining how best to communicate the Committee’s position to the legislation.

House Bill 2599Helmet Choice — Requires only persons under 21 years of age to wear motorcycle helmet while riding on or operating motorcycle or moped.  This is an emergency bill and would take immediate effect upon passage. Topics discussed included: individual choice, what happens when a rider doesn’t have health insurance and needs long-term care, the efficacy of the age requirement, the inability to see or hear as well when wearing a helmet.

The Governor’s Advisory Committee on Motorcycle Safety voted to oppose the bill.

Senate Bill 36Three Wheel Motorcycle Skills TestingWaiver — This bill eliminates the requirement that DMV conduct a skills test prior to issuance of a restricted three-wheel motorcycle endorsement. Individuals applying for the three-wheel motorcycle endorsement would still take the motorcycle knowledge test.  There are approximately 45 tests offered per year at five DMV field offices for the restrictive three-wheel motorcycle user.  The DMV is not currently granting waivers to three-wheel cycle users and that users who want a three-wheel motorcycle only endorsement still have to take knowledge and skills tests and receive a unique endorsement.

The Governor’s Advisory Committee on Motorcycle Safety voted to support the bill.

I’ll continue to update this blog post as I learn about any bill updates during the 2017 legislative session.

Photo courtesy of State of Oregon

All Rights Reserved (C) Northwest Harley Blog

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Ride it to work!

Riding it to work!

On Monday, June 15th it is the 24th annual Ride To Work Day.

Some of you will leverage the day as a way to highlight the value of motorcycles and increase government awareness on the positive benefits.  But, most will ride to work because it’s just fun!

And speaking of government…  you may have missed that Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed the state’s “dead red” bill (SB 533) into law, allowing motorcyclists and bicyclists to proceed through a red traffic signal if they have waited through a full cycle and the light failed to change. The bill passed both the state’s legislative houses on unanimous votes and takes effect January 1, 2016.  Oregon is the 17th state to pass such a law although each state has unique restrictions.

However, the Oregon House Committee on Transportation and Economic Development killed the BikePac initiated bill (SB 694) that would have made lane splitting legal in Oregon.

Lastly, the U.S. Department of Transportation has called for additional safety requirements for motorcycle helmets to reduce the use of “novelty helmets” that offer little protection in a motorcycle crash.  The DOT proposal includes standards for helmet thickness, compression ability and other features which novelty helmet are unlikely to comply.

As always be smart and ride safe!

Photo courtesy of RTW.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

lane-split-caSome automobile drivers see motorcyclists as obnoxious and borderline cheaters as they cut and weave through slow freeway traffic to get ahead of others.

The practice is called lane-splitting and only in California has it always been legal, however, state authorities have never told motorcyclists how best to maneuver between heavy and slow moving traffic safely.

cmsp-rules

Until now…  you can read the complete lane-splitting regulations HERE.  The new rules, which the CHP introduced in January after consulting with other state agencies and motorcycle-rider groups, apply to city streets, highways and freeways across the state.

I wonder if we’ll be seeing intermediate and advance lane-splitting courses in the future?

I’ve blogged previously about the possibility of lane splitting in Oregon HERE.

Photo courtesy of Noah Berger.
All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

Miguel Cortes - 107MPH Speeding Ticket

Yes, the “B-side” of Ohio.

Warren Haynes can not only play, but he can SING!  If this were 1971 instead of 2011 Warren would be a household name, someone all over the radio.

Watch this video HERE.  The title says “Gold Dust Woman”.  But when Warren steps to the mic, he starts singing that legendary cappella CSNY song…”Find The Cost Of Freedom”.  And then…at 1:10, Warren starts playing “Gold Dust Woman”.  But this is not Gov’t Mule.  This an all star band at the Jammys.  In music what we’ve got these days is two roads.  One based on recording and one based on performing.  The recording one is often sterile, it doesn’t titillate us, and those performing are too often playing B-level material.  But Warren Haynes performs.

And speaking of PERFORMANCES, one of the more disturbing aspects of the motorcycle culture is how the few seem to rewrite history for the rest of us as they ignore their own glaring stupidity.

I’m talking about Miguel Cortes (41) of Tualatin, OR.  Yes, you Miguel!  He wasn’t satisfied to be out riding on a relatively dry winter day and enjoying the freedom of the open road.  No, he needed to PERFORM and make a spectacle of himself and by association drag all motorcycle enthusiasts along with his reckless behavior.

Mr. Cortes was riding a Yamaha F6S, 600cc, and raced past a parked Marion County Sheriff patrol car about 11:40 a.m. and then decided that “splitting” the lanes of travel as he continued northbound on I-5 at a high rate of speed was appropriate.  Mr. Cortes was clocked at 107 mph in a 65 mph zone!  Not only was Mr. Cortes arrested and released on reckless driving, he was also cited on accusations of speeding and failure to maintain a single lane of travel. The speeding fine is $1,143; lane splitting is $287.  Mr. Cortes told the police officer that he thought he was only going “about 80” as he split the lanes of travel.  Clearly Mr. Cortes found his ‘cost of freedom.’

In an open and free society it’s so adorable when we get to watch performances of the dumb and dumber.

Photo courtesy of Marion County Sheriff as Mr. Cortes proudly consented to posing for a photograph holding his citation.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

Lane Splitting in California

I’m not talking about bowling.

California is the only state where it’s legal for a motorcyclist to pass between lanes of cars when vehicles are moving slow or stopped in traffic.  The practice is referred to as ‘lane splitting.’  Some believe the practice violates the core safety principles of motorcycle riding while others believe it helps reduce traffic congestion.

Meanwhile in Oregon, the 204,800 endorsed motorcycle riders have an opportunity tonight to attend a public meeting with the Governor’s Advisory Committee who will be discussing a statewide opinion survey on the topic of lane splitting in Oregon.  The committee wants to hear from the riding community about this topic and this is a chance for you to express you views.

The meeting starts at 6:30pm at the Kaiser Permanente Town Hall Ballroom (3704 N. Interstate Ave; Portland Or.)

According to The Oregonian there were 133,800 registered motorcycles in 2009.  Of those 21,000 were owned in Multnomah County and 14,000 in both Washington and Clackamas Counties.  There are very few statistics on crash risks of lane splitting, however, there was a report in 1981 from California called the “Hurt Report” conducted by Harry Hurt which showed lane sharing might actually reduce motorcycle collisions.

I’m of the viewpoint that Oregon legislators would never approve this practice and Governor-elect Kitzhaber has already proven a number of times his willingness to invoke a medically conservative position for protecting motorcyclists.

Photo courtesy of SFO Citizen.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

Lane Splitting

Lane Splitting

Lane-splitting — most states do not recognize it as legal maneuver.  For those unfamiliar with the “strip-riding” maneuver it is riding a motorcycle between lanes and between automobiles in the same direction as traffic.

It is not legal in Oregon or Washington state.  It is legal in California.

Recently a couple buddies were on an extended motorcycle ride to L.A.  Reluctant at first to try lane-splitting they quickly took up the maneuver after experiencing triple digit heat and traffic-congested freeways.  They returned chatting up the positive merits and ability to move at a faster speed than traffic by way of a “motorcycle-only lane.”  I think most people recognize that lane-splitting is a way for motorcyclists to save time and that it reduces congestion.

In fact, I’ve experienced my share — surprise — of motorcycles zipping by the rental car window.  And yes, I sometimes resent it as I sit in bay area grid lock.  My first reaction was it’s dangerous.  Automobile drivers in CA., don’t typically use blinkers to signal intent unless it’s a latte stop.  They dart from lane to lane distracted on cell phones and I have this visual image of a biker screeching to a concrete halt as part of a lane change collision.

What do you think:

  1. Legal or not — it’s a NOT a smart move to split-lanes.
  2. It can be safe and riders take responsibility for the consequences of their own actions.
  3. I’m a native California and consider myself exempt from OR and WA laws.
  4. CHP studies indicate it’s safe so I’m on board with anything the LEO’s say.
  5. It’s so not “fair” to all the other drivers and we all need to stay in our comfort zone.

Photo courtesy of CA State web site.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: