May has been designated as National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and these 31 days are being used by many different groups, associations and individuals to bring about awareness regarding the dangers faced by motorcyclists on the roads across the country. The hope is that this month-long campaign will improve the ability of all types of drivers to recognize motorcycles that are sharing the roads with them and help them bring down the number of motorcycle accidents that have been occurring. Governor Sandoval has joined in the effort by promoting this safety initiative from Reno.
Unfortunately, this month of awareness got off to a bit of an inauspicious start with news that was released regarding how motorcyclists could be allowed to maneuver in traffic. A bill is currently making its way through the state legislature that, if it is enacted into law, would allow motorcyclists to split lanes as they make their way through heavy traffic. Lane splitting, as it’s come to be commonly referred to, is explicitly illegal in 48 other states. It is informally allowed in California where no law with regards to this maneuver exists. No other state allows this type of driving on motorcycles.
Those in favor of the bill are generally stating that allowing lane splitting would provide an added measure of safety to motorcyclists. They base this claim on the belief that doing so would minimize the chance that a larger vehicle would hit a motorcycle from behind in heavy traffic conditions. Those same advocates point out that lane splitting would only be allowed if the motorcyclists were not exceeding 30 miles per hour and they were not moving at a rate that is more than 10 miles per hour faster than the rest of traffic.
The bill has also sparked an outcry from concerned parties that such a law would only invite danger to motorcyclists and to other motorists. The basis for their argument is that there is already a large enough problem with drivers having trouble seeing motorcycles as they travel in marked lanes of traffic. Allowing them to cut between vehicles would only increase the possibility that drivers would not see them and that even the slightest move by one of these larger vehicles could instantly place it into the path of an oncoming motorcycle.
There is no telling where this bill will go or if it will become a law. We have been helping people who were seriously injured in motorcycle accidents for decades as Las Vegas accident lawyers, and we hope that this month is used to take steps to promote safety for people who travel on two wheels. This bill certainly seems to be a bit ironic in its timing, but perhaps a healthy debate on the driving tactics of motorcyclists is a positive thing. If you or someone you love has been injured in a crash, contact the Sam Harding Law Firm today to schedule a free initial consultation.