Riding and The Law!

Riding and The Law

March 14, 2013

Riding and The Law
Four Laws Currently Affecting Riders Nationwide

Riding your motorcycle and the freedom that comes with it is the best feeling in the world; but comes with a lot of responsibility. Yes, riding can be dangerous, but abiding by state motorcycle laws will help you to be as safe a rider as possible—and keep you clear of tickets. There are a number of laws currently affecting riders in the country, and this week we’re taking a closer look at four topics: helmet usage, E15 fuel, lane splitting, and faulty traffic lights – including an update on your faulty traffic light submissions!

Should Riders be Required by Law to Wear Helmets?
Debates are currently taking place all over the country regarding the use of motorcycle helmets. North Carolina lawmakers are considering repealing a helmet law that requires all riders to wear a helmet at all times. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, North Carolina is ranked #1 in the nation for motorcyclists lives saved due to helmet wear. As of now, 19 other states have helmet laws as strict as North Carolina’s.

Nebraska is one of those 19 states, and Senator Dave Bloomfield is trying to change that. Advocates for repealing the Nebraska law cite “freedom of choice” and claim the state is missing out on millions of tourism dollars because riders who don’t like to wear helmets don’t ride through the state. Proponents of the law say the money gained on tourism would go toward the medical bills of underinsured riders who suffer head injuries as a result of not wearing a helmet.

We understand that many riders want to reserve to right to choose whether or not they wear helmets. While we appreciate and support the right to make your own safety decisions, Eagle Leather does promote helmet usage for a safer ride. Check out our recent blog: Seven Traits of a Safe Riding Helmet!

EPA Says “Not Yet” to E15 Fuel

A little over a month ago, U.S. Representative Jim Sensenbrenner introduced a bill to congress that would require the Environmental Protection Agency to suspend the sale of E15 gasoline until the gasoline-ethanol blend is subjected to further testing. The American Motorcyclist Association cites possible damage to motorcycle and ATV engines when using E15 gasoline and expects those problems to increase if E15 becomes more widely available. To date, the EPA has not approved the use of E15 in motorcycles, only 2001 and newer light-duty cars, trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles have been approved. The AMA wants motorcycles and ATVs to be a part of any significant studies done on E15 moving forward to ensure the safety of its use.

California’s Lane-Splitting Dilemma
If you live in California, the only state in the country where lane-splitting (the act of driving between cars driving side by side in separate lanes) is legal, chances are you’ve tried it at least once. It can mean beating traffic and avoiding heavy commutes for many riders, but many California motorists believe the act is too dangerous to be taking place on California roads and highways. Motorcycle safety critics have deemed lane-splitting unsafe, and it became a controversial enough issue for the California Highway Patrol to weigh in. Their verdict: it’s legal and you cannot get ticketed for it—but only if done safely.
According to the LA Times, The California Highway Patrol defines safe lane-splitting by the criteria listed below:

1. A motorcyclist should split lanes at no more than 10 mph above traffic speed.
2. A motorcyclist should not split lanes when traffic is moving at more than 30 mph.
3. A motorcyclist should split lanes using the space between the No. 1 and No. 2 lanes.”

These three guidelines took seven years for state officials to agree on. And while they are merely guidelines, not official laws, breaking them could get you a reckless riding ticket!

Washington Traffic Light Update!
We have an update on your traffic light submissions! We received information from the Washington State Department of Transportation last week that indicated the state government would be allocating resources to inspect a number of traffic intersections, specifically the circular vehicle sensors beneath the pavement, which signal the light to turn green.

“Existing detection equipment adjustment can sometimes adequately improve detection,” explained Bart Treece, a Communications representative for the WSDOT, in an email to Eagle Leather. “Our signal maintenance department will investigate these locations and, as much as possible, adjust the detectors to sense the presence of motorcycles. When they are not visible, the best place for a motorcycle would be in the center of the lane within about one foot of the stop bar.”
Treece further detailed the WSDOT’s plans for the improvement and maintenance of the reported intersections, explaining that, “the technology for reliably and cost effectively detecting vehicles with low metal content in all weather conditions is still developing. Sometimes, detection equipment replacement can help and is needed. These locations will be tagged for future improvement as technology improves and funds become available.”

We’d like to thank every rider who submitted a problem intersection to Eagle Leather, and we hope our efforts result in your intersections being inspected and repaired soon!

Sound off on your opinions about helmet wear, E15, lane-splitting, traffic light sensor inspections, and any other motorcycle laws or regulations that affect your ride on the Eagle Leather Facebook page!


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