motorcycle laws in Oregon

In 2018 alone, over 75 motorcyclists died in motorcycle accidents in the state of Oregon. In fact, motorcyclists accounted for more than one-quarter of the 34 traffic fatalities within the city of Portland in 2018. Motorcycles can be incredibly dangerous, and safety should be the number one concern when creating new motorcycle laws. Here’s what you need to know about motorcycle lane splitting in Oregon.

What is Lane Splitting?

Also known as lane filtering, lane sharing, and white lining, lane splitting is when a motorcyclist rides between rows of slowed or stopped traffic going in the same direction as the pattern of traffic.

Is Lane Splitting Legal in Oregon?

No. In fact, California and Utah are the only states in the U.S. where motorcycle lane splitting is legal. That said, there is a proposed bill to allow lane-splitting in Oregon, which passed a preliminary hearing in February 2019. Even after this proposal, there is no clear next step for the bill. For now, motorcycle lane splitting laws will remain the same in Oregon.

Lane Splitting Safety

While it may seem counter-intuitive, many motorcycle safety advocates argue that late splitting prevents motorcycle accidents by keeping motorcycles out of the danger zone behind stopped cars. Proponents for lane splitting maintain that it prevents the opportunity for rear-end collisions and keeps traffic flowing more effectively, which makes the road safer for motorcyclists, helps ease congestion, and reduces carbon emissions.

Opponents worry lane splitting would increase danger on the road, especially since drivers are not accustomed to the maneuver. They worry that cars and trucks switching lanes would not see cyclists, leading to more dangerous accidents. There is also a fear that lane splitting would be abused, and motorcyclists might start to fly between lanes at high speeds.

Next Steps

It’s still unclear if this motorcycle lane splitting bill will gain enough momentum to pass through the Oregon House and Senate, but it does appear to have more support than it did in 2015, when a similar bill died in a House committee. For now, motorcycle lane splitting remains illegal in the state of Oregon.

At Paul Galm Law, we care about your safety. Check out our personal injury blog for more safety tips, including how to prevent distracted driving, how to drive in rain, snow, and ice, and information about Oregon helmet laws. If you or someone you love has been injured in a crash, please contact Oregon motorcycle accident attorney Paul Galm for your free consultation.