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Motorcycle Lane-Splitting May Soon Be Legal

It seems like everyone has a strong opinion about lane-splitting motorcycles – you know, when motorcyclists pass cars and cut through traffic between lanes of slower vehicles. Motorcycle riders feel that it’s a smart way to get around those pesky, slow-moving cagers; while drivers of passenger vehicles think that it’s a dangerous and arrogant maneuver.

Regardless of how you may feel about lane-splitting; we may be seeing more of it before long. That’s because the Nevada State Assembly approved legislation yesterday that would legalize the practice in certain conditions beginning next year.

According to Assembly Bill 236, motorcyclists would be able to split lanes if:

  • the motorcycle doesn’t exceed 30 miles per hour
  • the motorcycle doesn’t move more than 10 miles per hour faster than the traffic it is passing
  • roadway conditions are otherwise safe

(Of course, the enforcement of this law would be somewhat challenging for police. Not only does the bill not define "safe roadway conditions," but it would be impractical for a cop to record the speed of a motorcyclist and the traffic around it.)

Proponents of the bill say that motorcycles sitting in stopped traffic are ripe targets for rear-end collisions, and that their bikes tend to overheat in Nevada temperatures while idling for long periods of time.

Opponents say that the practice is crazy reckless annoying unsafe. After all, a car’s driver may try to change lanes without seeing a fast-moving motorcyclist coming up from behind, and a motorcycle accident may occur.

The state Senate must now vote on the bill before it can be signed into law by the governor.