Oregon once again is trying to join the 21st century when it comes to pragmatic transportation laws, and as such State Senator Jeff Kruse (R-Roseburg) has re-introduced a lane-splitting law to the Oregon legislature, with the hopes that it will get voted on later this year.
That might be a tall order to ask from the Oregon legislature though, since the proposed lane-splitting law is no different from the one that Oregon shot down back in 2015.
Both proposals aimed to make lane-splitting legal under very stringent conditions: only on roads where the posted speed limit is 50mph or more, only when traffic is traveling 10mph or slower, and only at a rate of no more than 20mph.
As you can expect then, the Oregonian lane-splitting bill falls well short of how lane-splitting is practiced in California (the only state that allows motorcycles to lane-split, and how the act is practiced elsewhere in the world).
Unfortunately, the proposal by State Senator Kruse fails to utilize virtually any of the benefits that lane-splitting provides, both for motorcyclists and for other drivers.
With Oregon’s very conservative posted speed limits, there are stretches of highway that would fail to meet the 50mph threshold proposed, and the bill also completely ignores the benefits lane-splitting could bring to urban traffic situations.
It is understandable that Oregon would prefer to dip its toe into the lane-splitting waters, however we would prefer to see The Beaver State consider also provisions for motorcyclists to filter through standing traffic in city streets and urban centers, which would bring real benefit to all motorists.
As it stands right now, SB 385 is in the Oregon Senate Commission on Judiciary, the legislative committee that oversees and proposal that concerns transportation, revenue, education, labor, and economic development.
Hopefully with the recent passing of California’s codification of lane-splitting, that momentum will give the Oregon legislature more faith in the concept of lane-splitting for motorcyclists.
Time will tell of course, and Asphalt & Rubber will keep you apprised of its progress. Thanks for the tip Ryan!
Source: Oregon State Legislature