2013 saw two lane splitting bills in Oregon, as previously reported here.
- Senator Larry George, R-Sherwood District 13 introduced SB 541, which would have legalized low-speed lane splitting – limiting lane splitting to 20 MPH in cases where traffic has slowed to 10 MPH or stopped.
- Representatives Tim Freeman and Brian Clem introduced HB 3310 in the House of Representatives, a more restrictive bill which would have only allowed filtering in stopped traffic.
Both bills are now dead – status listed as “In committee upon adjournment.”
The offices of Representatives Freeman and Clem did not respond to our requests for comments on their bill, but a helpful staffer in Senator George’s office confirmed that SB 541 is dead, saying SB 541 “Never got a hearing, never got anything… and so all that happened was we introduced it, it went to committee and then they never did a single thing with it.” The staffer characterized the lack of support as a “nanny state issue.” Senator Larry George is not a rider, but introduced the bill because he thinks that lane splitting “does protect motorcyclists” and “if you want do that… they should be allowed to do it.” Bravo, Senator George – we wish more of your colleagues could get on board with this concept.
Unlike Oregon’s bills, Nevada’s lane splitting bill had strong grassroots support and far better luck, passing the Assembly with overwhelming support and passing the Senate Transportation Committee before being defeated on the Senate floor. Here’s hoping the supporters of lane splitting in Oregon can take a few pages from the Nevada supporters’ playbook to achieve a win next time around.