SB 5623, one of two companion bills that would legalize lane splitting in Washington, was heard in the Washington State Senate Transportation Committee today. The tone of the hearing was mostly positive, with the majority of those in attendance speaking in support of the bill. Proponents of the bill spoke about the safety, traffic and environmental benefits of lane splitting, with one speaker even referencing LaneSplittingIsLegal.com.
Three people spoke in opposition of the bill. Shelly Baldwin, of Washington’s Traffic Safety Commission, played three videos from YouTube that she said showed “how we see it (lane splitting) in California and other places.” The videos are not visible on screen in the telecast, but I can only guess that these are typical YouTube idiocy: riders splitting too fast and crashing.
The YouTube videos were obviously intended to turn the Transportation Committee against lane splitting, however, they seemed to have the opposite effect, with one committee member, Senator Doug Ericksen, demanding to know if the activity shown in the videos would be legal under the proposed law. Baldwin refuses to answer, but Captain Rob Huss of the Washington State Patrol reluctantly admits that the examples would be illegal, but then immediately attempts to further leverage YouTube videos in his anti-splitting position, saying, “If you go to the YouTube and look at lane splitting, there’s hundreds of videos that demonstrate that type of behavior and action on the part of the motorcyclists.” Remember, Washington State Patrol has previously recommended calling 911 on lane splitters.
Both ignore the potential safety effects of allowing lane splitting, in spite of talking at length about their desire to keep motorcyclists safe.
Video of the hearing:
And here’s the Senate report on the bill:
Stay tuned here at LaneSplittingIsLegal.com for more information on Washington lane splitting legislation as these two bills progress.
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