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Oregon Senate To Vote On Motorcycle ‘Lane Splitting’ Bill

Cock-Robin from Pixabay

The Oregon Senate is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a bill that would allow motorcyclists to ride between lanes of vehicles under certain conditions. The so-called “lane splitting” law would only kick in when traffic is going ten miles per hour or less on a road with two lanes or more going in each direction. Motorcyclists could then proceed between the lanes at no more than ten miles per hour faster than the slowed traffic. That’s a key detail, said Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, who is one of the bill's chief sponsors.

“If you have a vision in your mind of going down the freeway, and people going between lanes of traffic with their hair flying, that is not at all what we’re talking about here,” he said while testifying in support of the bill in March.  

The law would only apply on highways with a speed limit of 50 miles per hour or more, so it couldn’t be used to advance to the front of the line at a traffic light on a city street. California has allowed lane splitting for years. Utah and Montana lawmakers have approved the concept more recently.

Opponents says the bill would allow potentially dangerous situations where larger vehicles would change lanes during a traffic jam, not realizing there is a motorcycle coming up beside them in their blind spot.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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