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Your "Modified" Lane Splitting Questions Answered
Senators Conway and Sheldon Talk About Bill 5623
Senator Steve Conway represents Eagle Leather’s district and is one of the sponsors of Senate Bill 5623 on lane splitting. His staff gave us the background information needed to clarify some points about the amended bill that allows motorcycle riders to pass very slow or stopped traffic by using the left side of the leftmost lane. Our questions came from your comments on the Eagle Leather Facebook page.
If passed, the law would allow passing on the left side of cars in the leftmost lane.
We were then able to speak with Senator Tim Sheldon, another sponsor of the bill. We asked him:
We asked the senator whether he thought the bill would pass this year. He said that when he introduced the bill, he had only five senators in agreement, but after discussion and compromise, it passed with 34 votes. He’s had a meeting with Representative Judy Clibborn, Chair of the Transportation Committee in the House and is hopeful that the bill will get a hearing in that committee.
“I am and have been open to the concerns of my fellow legislators as well as the motorcycling community. We’ve gotten this far by being flexible and willing to compromise when that is possible.” He reminded us that the bill has a long way to go before it becomes a law and that the language may change along the route, so you have time to make an impact with your opinions pro and con and with your ideas.
Opposition to the law hinges on safety issues. Many people made comments on the Eagle Leather Facebook page to the effect that actual lane splitting, with riders going between two lanes of slowed or stopped cars would be safer than passing as the amended law would allow.
Others thought that lane splitting was not safe at all. What if a driver or passenger suddenly opens a door? What if a driver changes lanes without noticing an overtaking motorcycle?
We’ll take a hard look at safety issues in a coming newsletter. Meanwhile, let’s continue the discussion on the Eagle Leather Facebook page. Eagle Leather is neutral on this and all political issues; all points of view are welcome.
And remember, whether you are for or against lane-splitting, you can contact your legislator to make your opinion known.