As we reported earlier this month, Utah was considering bill HB 410, a lane splitting law sponsored by Representative Gage Froerer (R-Huntsville) that would allow passing in the same lane at speeds of up to 40MPH, similar to California’s lane sharing laws. Progress made however for Utah motorcyclists came to a halt Monday night when the bill failed to gain enough votes to pass on the floor of the House of Representatives, dying out in a 29-45 tally. Comments from Utah’s own Deseret News, sheds a bit of light on the sentiments behind this misunderstood bill’s failure.
Trouble – South Jordan, UT
Having lived and driven extensively in California, I’ve found lane splitting to be a good way to separate the motorbikes from the cars. Lane splitting happens mostly at stop lights when all the motorcycles behind you wind their way forward to the front. This gets them out of the way so that when the light turns green, they’re out in front instead of alongside you. It IS safer and creates an easier driving experience. It freaked me out at first, but I gradually came to realize that it is a benefit to drivers.
This bill should be revived for further debate and a vote.
NoNamesAccepted – St. George, UT
March 7, 2017 11:11 a.m.
It would be interesting to see whether lane splitting really improves safety when all else is equal.
For example, in most of Utah, motorcycles are only ridden seasonally whereas California has about 360 good riding days a year. In Cali, motorcycles are always ridden, so they are always present and always expected. In Utah, motorcycles mostly disappear each fall and emerge each spring. Drivers are not as accustomed to seeing bikes.
(Ditto for bicycles by the way.)
In other words, how much of the safety improvement from lane splitting comes from lane splitting and how much comes from where it is done?
I understand it was first permitted to keep early, air cooled bikes from overheating in stop and go traffic. That is no longer needed with modern, water cooled street bikes, and certainly less needed in most of Utah than in Cali.
I’m not hugely opposed to lane splitting so long as the biker assumes all liability if he gets hit. But I’m not sure are there really significant benefits other than letting bikers get through traffic faster. We already let them use the HOV lane.
JMHO – Kanab, UT
March 7, 2017 11:03 a.m.
The Bay Area study may not be valid here in Utah. Remember, our weather patterns are different-even constantly changing in the spring and fall. Getting more bikes on the roads is great in good weather, but what about the other 300 days a year in Utah?
Also, why would someone be entitled to go to the front of the line just because they bought a motorcycle? If I have one of those tiny little cars, can I do it too? How about driving over the curb on the right because I have a big truck?
Sneaky Jimmy – Bay Area, CA
March 7, 2017 9:18 a.m.
I ride in bay area traffic which is consistently rated some of the worst in the country and lane splitting is very common. Allowing lane splitting is a big incentive to get fewer cars and more bikes on the road. UC Berkeley did a study and concluded that lane splitting actually increased rider safety (you can google it to verify). It’s too bad that Utah legislatures rely on “i drove in California once and I didn’t like it” rather than factual information.
barfolomew – TOOELE, UT
March 7, 2017 3:51 p.m.
@ Sneaky Jimmy
“UC Berkeley did a study and concluded that lane splitting actually increased rider safety”
Was that before or after the study (riots) that concluded that someone wanting to speak who doesn’t hold their views actually decreased the speaker’s safety? Bunch of smart folks doing work at that university.
samhill – Salt Lake City, UT
March 7, 2017 9:09 a.m.
I’ve ridden motorcycles for more than 30 years and lived and driven in California off and on for over 5 years. The first time I saw white lining in practice I thought it was just another case of stupid showboating. When I learned it was legal, I was pretty shocked. However, though I’ve rarely done it myself, I can appreciate some of the rationale for the argument in favor of allowing the practice.
For example, every time I’m driving my bike here in Utah and am stopped at a red light with just a few cars in front of me, I’d love to be able to roll up to stop between the cars in the front so I can spurt out when the light turns green. In such cases there is virtually no chance of accident and the advantages to the motorcyclist is obvious.
On the other hand, when on the freeway in a slowdown, with traffic ambling along in the 30’s or 40’s, and someone drives between the lanes at 50, a common practice in California, the danger increases exponentially.
So, to put it succinctly, I’m torn.
one old man – Ogden, UT
March 7, 2017 8:27 a.m.
I’m a rider and I think the move to cancel this bill is great.
White lining it is just plain dumb when riding. It’s a hazard for everyone on the road.
drich – Green River, Utah
March 7, 2017 7:30 a.m.
Glad to see representatives with common sense.
Cleetorn – Fuaamotu, Tonga
March 7, 2017 7:10 a.m.
According to the article, there are lots of “supporters” of the bill but only one guy had “concerns.” Nevertheless, it went down in flames.
I’d like to know what those “concerns” are or why the bill had no support and of those voting against it, how many are motorcycle riders. More often than not, it is very common for non-riders to be antagonistic against those of us who do ride.