Friday, March 11, 2005
Potential good news: Texas may legalize lane-splitting
Here's hoping this bill passes.
From the draft:
(e)The operator of a motorcycle may operate the motorcycle for a safe distance between lanes of traffic moving in the same direction during periods of traffic congestion if the operator: (1)is at least 21 years old; (2) has successfully completed a motorcycle operator training and safety course under Chapter 662; (3) is covered by a health insurance plan providing the operator with at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of an accident while operating a motorcycle; and (4) operates the motorcycle: (A) at a speed not more than five miles per hour over the speed of the other traffic; (B) in traffic that is moving at a speed of 20 miles per hour or less; and (C) in a location other than a school crossing zone or other than a location where the posted speed limit is 20 miles per hour or less.Texas has needed a lane-splitting law for decades. I'm not completely on board with the way it's drafted, so I contacted the representative who authored the bill:
Dear sir,Keep your fingers crossed. Hopefully, we Texas motorcyclists will soon be able to stay safe in heavy traffic congestion without being ticketed for it.
Thank you for authoring HB1522, which would allow Texas motorcyclists to use the technique commonly referred to as 'lane-splitting' when navigating in congested traffic situations.
After reading the bill, I humbly offer two suggestions that I believe would improve it:
1. Please allow for a 10-mile per hour speed differential between a lane-splitting motorcyclist and the surrounding vehicles, rather than the 5 miles per hour currently specified in the bill. During periods of slow-creeping traffic, the relatively small difference in speed could lead to stability problems for the motorcyclist.
2. Please include language in the bill to specify that any motorist who attempts to impede a lane-splitting motorcyclist (by doing things like opening a car door or swerving a vehicle furtively) commits an offense. Unfortunately, such types of actions are sometimes committed by motorists in areas where lane-splitting is already legal. It would be nice to have those acts clarified as offenses at the time the bill goes into law.
Again, your work is appreciated. If I can be of any assistance in this effort, please feel free to contact me.
Timothy V. Kreitz, motorcyclist
AMA member #[SNIP]
MSF instructor #[SNIP]
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