It’s bad news for Oregonian motorcyclists who were hoping to join the 21st century with the lane-filtering privileges that most of the world enjoys, as the Oregon House of Representatives has killed bill SB 694, in committee.
The bill, which had passed through the Senate Judiciary committee with an unanimous vote and the Oregon Senate with a two-thirds majority, was denied access to a general vote, by the bi-partisan Oregon House Committee on Transportation and Economic Development.
SB 694 had faced strong opposition from the Oregon Department of Transportation and law enforcement agencies because of perceived added danger to motorists if motorcycles were to filter through stopped traffic, and the opinions of the organizations carried weight with the House Committee, fueling its decision to kill the bill.
It probably didn’t help matters that the most persuasive evidence to the contrary comes from initial research performed by the California Highway Patrol and the University of California, Berkeley, but the House Committee members were also unswayed by the testimony given by motorcyclists and motorcycle groups in favor of the bill.
It is perhaps unsurprising that a DOT with some of the slowest highway speeds in the United States should be resistant to making driving within Oregon an easier, quicker, and safer affair.
However it should be noted, SB 694 to-date is the most successful attempt at getting lane-filtering/lane-splitting legalized in the State of Oregon, which at least shows the momentum of the efforts to legalize lane-filtering in Oregon and other states.
With California set to release its finalized research of lane-filtering within its borders, pro-filtering advocates around the country are hoping then to have the ammunition necessary to oppose agencies that perceive lane-filtering as dangerous — arguing perception with cold-hard science.
For some good news, Oregon did pass SB 533, which allows motorcycles to run a “dead red” light, where a turn signal has not detected the presence of the motorcyclist (or bicyclist) after a full cycle.