SB 5623, the Lane Sharing bill has cleared the Senate Transportation Committee. The next step in the process is for the Senate Rules Committee to “pull” the bill to the Floor Calendar. If this is an issue that you support then you need to get on the phones or email your State Senator and ask for their support in moving this forward. There is little over a week to get this to the floor and passed out of the Senate or it will be effectively dead.
With all of the correspondence that arrives every day (easily 100 emails alone) many members prioritize their incoming email by viewing the constituent mail first. Use the form found here to give your message the best opportunity to rise to the top.
To restate the points made previously, most people are already aware of the positives for lane sharing; clearing congestion, protection of the rider by removing the exposure to rear end collision, saving heat related wear and tear on both rider and motorcycle, etc. I have put together some bullet points to address some of the push back that I have heard, both during committee and in my numerous conversations throughout the campus. We need to make senators comfortable with the actual facts so that they do not make decisions based on assumptions and scare tactics.
Lane Sharing Rebuttal Points
- Accidents will not increase.
- By moving between lanes the need to scan the rear 180 degrees of area is eliminated, and the need to side scan is lessened, allowing the rider to concentrate forwards, locating potential conflicts well in advance.
- Maximum speed differential between bikes and autos will be 10 MPH (15 FPS) allowing a 2-3 car length minimum distance for rider reaction.
- Injuries will not increase.
- With the 10 MPH (15 FPS) speed differential any collisions that might occur will be more as a bump or brush than the catastrophic collisions that could occur at greater differential speeds incident with a rear end collision.
- Vehicles will not change lanes into motorcycles.
- With the 2-3 (minimum) car length advance scan available riders will see the potential lane change situation developing well enough in advance to mitigate the hazard. Any spot opening up in a lane that will allow a vehicle to change lanes will be spotted by the rider as it opens up so that they can respond appropriately.
- As an overtaking vehicle, a motorcycle will still bear the responsibility incumbent with being an overtaking vehicle.
- Enforcement will not be any more difficult than with the current statute.
- Enforcement could even be easier, as an officer could make the discretionary call that lane sharing/splitting is being done in a safe and sane manner, therefore no enforcement pursuit is necessary.
- High speed lane splitting (illegal under current and proposed statutes) will continue to be problematic for pursuit and apprehension.
Until next time, ride safely and legislate well.
“Texas” Larry Walker
Washington Road Riders Association Government Relations