Washington State Trooper Recommends Calling 911 On ‘Aggressive Motorcycles’ Lane Splitting

In this ‘Seattle911‘ piece in online-only Seattle PI, writer Casey McNerthney asked the Washington State Patrol (Washington’s state police) “Is lane splitting legal?”

State Patrol Trooper Dan McDonald responded:

“I have heard in some states this is legal, however in Washington State it is not. Motorcycles have to abide by the same rules of the road as other motorized vehicles.”

This is based on section 46.61.608 of the Revised Code of Washington. The code specifically states that motorcyclists “shall not overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken” and riders “shall operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic.” Two bikes in the same lane is ok, and of course LEOs are exempted.

McDonald goes further, saying “If someone is to observe this happen I would recommend calling 911 to report the aggressive motorcycle. Provide a description of the motorcycle, an article of clothing on the driver, and a license plate of the motorcycle if possible.”

Wow, lane splitting is an emergency in Washington state. However, McDonald does recommend against “moving your vehicle closer to the skip line or opening your door so the motorcycle can’t pass as this may lead to a collision or a road rage incident.”


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3 comments on “Washington State Trooper Recommends Calling 911 On ‘Aggressive Motorcycles’ Lane Splitting
  1. Joel says:

    So it is illegal to split lanes but by all means get on your cell phone if you see a motorcyclist doing that. McDonald sounds like a real genius…..

    • Eddie says:

      It’s funny how the Department of Washington Motorcycle Operator Manual doesn’t say anything about it being illegal it states to discourage lane sharing but doesn’t say it’s illegal!!!! In your face state patrols

      • Dave says:

        Im from california where lane splitting is legal, its one of many reasons people ride down there. I now live in vancouver and am pissed you cant split lanes up here. It definatley eases traffic and gets the rider away from the congestion much faster. Cmon….get with the times washington..you allow assault weapons and high capacity magazines and hand out concealed weapons permits like there candy and your worried about splitting lanes?

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