Legalizing lane-splitting in Washington State just got a step closer to reality, as the State Senate of the Washington State Legislature has passed a bill that would allow lane-splitting under very specific circumstances.
Senate Bill 5378 (SB 5378) would allow lane-splitting only during slow traffic conditions – up to 10mph faster than the flow of traffic, but no faster than 25 mph – and only on numbered highways that have a median and multiple lanes of traffic in each direction.
The bill passed the senate with 32 “yea” votes from both Republicans and Democrats, while the 17 “nay” votes came solely from Democrat members.
This means that SB 5378 is an interesting lane-splitting effort, and it mimics what we have seen in Oregon, where a lane-splitting bill is currently making its way through the legislature.
Like in Oregon proposal, SB 5378 would mostly benefit highway riders, though Washington does have multi-lane numbered highways that act more like large city boulevards in certain areas.
It should be noted that SB 5378 would also make it illegal for another motorist to prevent a motorcycle from performing a legal lane-splitting maneuver – an interesting nod towards the passive-aggressive nature of Pacific Northwest drivers.
Now through the State Senate, SB 5378 will head to the Washington House of Representatives. An affirmative vote there would see Washington States as the second state in the United States to formally legalize lane-splitting, which would be a huge win for motorcyclists in winning over other jurisdictions.
Asphalt & Rubber would highly encourage readers who live in Washington to call their representatives, and let them know that you want to see this bill passed.
Source: Washington State Legislature