Let’s Talk About Lane Splitting, Idaho: It’s Illegal
It's time we talk about lane splitting, Idaho--because this term which is totally new to me by the way, impacted my drive along Eagle Road over the weekend and it was terrifying.
Look, I've never driven or frankly ridden on a motorcycle in my entire life-- nor do I particularly have any interest to. Living in Idaho and being a native as I am, I may actually be in the minority on this. Idaho loves its motorcycles and honestly with the types of highways and landscapes that we have all across our great state--I can't say I blame them. It's nothing against you, motorcyclists.
While driving up a very busy Eagle Road this past weekend, a motorcycle "split" the lane--right between my car and the car in the lane next to me. When the motorcycle zipped by me moving significantly faster than both of us vehicles, my gut reaction was to slam on the breaks--for no reason other than the total surprise of it all made me think I was about to be in a collision.
In Idaho, lane splitting is actually ILLEGAL. However in states surrounding us, such as Utah and California, it IS legal.
Let's define this since I had to Google it, too:
Lane splitting occurs when a motorcyclist passes one or more vehicles in the area between two lanes, often the area of the road where the road line is painted.
In its essence, lane splitting is well intentioned-- it can keep motorcyclists moving during major traffic stops and many suggest that it's ACTUALLY SAFER to legalize this traffic motion.
According to a study done by the University of California Berkeley:
Motorcyclists are more likely to be hit from behind by cars. Lane splitting eliminates that possibility for motorcyclists who will pass between lanes because no cars able to hit them from behind. Additionally, most lane splitting occurs at speeds slower than 50 mph. At these speeds, injuries are usually less severe overall.
Even though my experience with a lane splitter was negative-- this rationale makes sense.
Utah became the second state in the country to legalize--following California: sort of. In The State of Utah, "Lane filtering" is legal which can help motorcyclists avoid being rear ended.
In Oregon, the state legislature passed a movement to allow motorcyclists to drive between lanes when traffic is moving at slow paces. The Governor of Oregon vetoed the measure.
If you've made it this far, let me be clear: I'm not a motorcycle or traffic expert by any means and after reading about WHY lane splitting is being legalized in some places, I actually understand it.
It seems that for me, that motorcyclist on Eagle Road that scared the living S*** out of me was yes, breaking traffic laws but also doing so in a very UNSAFE way--defeating the entire purpose.
Post up in the comments and let us know what you think about lane splitting--should Idaho move to legalize this for the safety of motorcyclists or do we need to keep away from this practice?
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