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Monday, November 3, 2014

CA - Lane Splitting Announcement

Lane Splitting Announcement
For those riders who were not at yesterday's rally in Sacramento, I provided an update on Lane-Splitting legislation in California. First the background...
On February20, 2013. Senator Beall (D) 15th Senate District introduced SB350 to prohibit with an exception for peace officers, motorcyclists from passing another vehicle in the same lane unless certain conditions were met. This bill did not move forward in either 2013 or 2014. However, in 2014, the CHP and the CA DMV posted guidelines for Lane-Splitting that educated both motorcyclists and vehicle drivers in the practice, using existing laws and common sense rather than demanding more unnecessary legislation, regulating a practice that arguably saves lives and is critical in today's ever congested society. Motorcycle crash studies by the University of California Berkeley, commissioned by the CA Office of Traffic Safety has since been conducted, analyzed and published, adding Lane-Splitting, along with reflective gear, helmet types and use of alcohol as possible factors for the reported incidents. However, the data is inconclusive due to the low percentage of samples, too many components factored in together as well as a lack of correlation of the data types. These studies/projects, however, were intended to provide data for legislators to use as consideration for new legislation.
It was my intention of circulating a petition against Lane-Splitting legislation at the rally to Senator Beall in an attempt to give him something to think about while he was still on the fence on such legislation going into the new 2015-2016 session. However, in a discussion with Senator Beall's Chef of Staff, Cris Forsyth, last Wednesday, Cris informed me (as well as gave me permission to share at our rally) that " Senator Beall, after reviewing all the reports and analysis from the University of California, Berkeley saw no evidence that Lane-Splitting is unsafe and has decided to move on to more important issues and will NOT be carrying or moving forward with Lane-Splitting legislation in the new legislative session."
** Lane-Splitting is safe.... for now... **
However, this should not be cause to let our guard down or think that legislation seeking to prohibit or regulate the practice will not resurface. Another legislator could still submit a bill...or... add/insert legislation into an existing bill next year or the year after that.
Instead of waiting to react to such a day, we should continue to EDUCATE both riders and drivers in the practice while observing the law and learning to coexist in a safe manner. We should also be PROACTIVE, talking to and educating our local legislators regarding the value of Lane-Splitting.
Every politician understands the value of saving money, time and resources and they all want to be a real hero and make a big, positive impact. We need to convince them to stop spending our hard earned tax dollars on studies and reports that cannot prove that Lane-Splitting, is unsafe and instead work towards investing in road projects that embrace and facilitate a safer means of the practice.
As our population and number of drivers continue to grow and create more congestion, the increased use of motorcycles in conjunction with Lane-Splitting should be seen as a long term strategy to... save time, energy, road maintenance and space on the roads as well as greatly reducing the overall vehicle carbon footprint on the environment.
This is how we turn a negative perception and short sided reasoning to something that is not only smart, but necessary in today's ever growing society.
Robert Tabaldo's photo.