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Oregon Attorney Discusses the Dangers of Motorcycle Lane Splitting

Portland motorcycle accident attorney A new motorcycle lane-splitting bill, House Bill 2314, has picked up speed with Oregon lawmakers. Support for the bill was garnered amid a 2015 study conducted by researchers from the University of California-Berkeley.

The study concluded that motorcyclists could safely ride between lanes on highways with speed limits of 50 mph or more – as long as they don’t exceed the speed of parallel traffic by more than 15 mph. In addition, bi-partisan supporters suggest that lane-splitting increase road safety and reduce traffic congestion.

Currently, California is the only state that allows lane-splitting. If HB2314 becomes law, it would allow motorcyclists to travel between lanes only when traffic slows down below 10 mph on roads with speed limits more than 50 mph. In addition, motorcyclists would only be allowed to travel 10 mph faster than traffic.

Similar bills were proposed in 2015 and 2017. Both bills, which were sponsored by only six lawmakers, died in House committee.

Opposition to the bill

According to opponents, the law would be “unenforceable” and could potentially result in the following problems:

  • Motorcyclists speeding through traffic
  • Rear-end collisions
  • Lane-departure accidents when motor vehicles change lanes

Dylan Rivera, a Portland Bureau of Transportation spokesman, cites a rise in motorcycle accidents over the past few years. In 2018 alone, approximately 77 motorcyclists lost their lives throughout the state of Oregon. In Portland, roughly a quarter of the 34 road deaths involved motorcyclists.

“If lane-splitting becomes legal on state highways, we are concerned that it would spill over to city streets – especially since the bill does not include any way to educate the public about this change,” said Rivera.

Troy Costales, Oregon Department of Transportation safety administrator, also showed opposition to the bill, citing statewide crash data between 2015-2017. Out of 3,081 statewide motorcycle accidents, approximately 2,610 resulted in injuries and 168 resulted in death. In addition, 12 of the motorcycle deaths were caused by rear-end collisions – nine of which involved motorcycles striking vehicles from behind.

Your legal options in a motorcycle crash

Motorcycle accidents are a serious matter. With limited protection, motorcyclists often sustain severe and life-threatening injuries – primarily due to the reckless and inattentive actions of motor vehicle drivers.

In the event of a motorcycle accident, crash victims are within their right to pursue compensation for medical expenses and other financial losses accrued. An experienced litigator at Zbinden & Curtis, Attorneys At Law know how to handle motorcycle accidents and get results.

Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation, case evaluation.

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