State of Washington
67th Legislature
2021 Regular Session
ByRepresentatives MacEwen, Corry, Hoff, and Schmick
Prefiled 01/07/21.Read first time 01/11/21.Referred to Committee on Transportation.
AN ACT Relating to modifying the operation of motorcycles on roadways laned for traffic; amending RCW 46.61.608; creating new sections; and prescribing penalties.
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1. The legislature finds that Washington state has a Target Zero goal of no deaths on its highways. According to the traffic safety commission's 2019 Target Zero plan, "There has been no meaningful reduction in motorcycle fatalities for at least the last 15 years." Researchers at the safe transportation research and education center at the University of California Berkeley, after evaluating thousands of motorcycle collisions in California, concluded that "lane-splitting motorcyclists were much less often injured during their collisions. They were considerably less likely to suffer head injury, torso injury, extremity injury, and fatal injury than riders who were not lane-splitting." The legislature intends with this act to provide new options to save lives by giving operators of motorcycles a way to legally avoid being rear-ended by other vehicles.
Sec. 2. RCW 46.61.608 and 2013 c 139 s 1 are each amended to read as follows:
(1) All motorcycles are entitled to full use of a lane and no motor vehicle shall be driven in such a manner as to deprive any motorcycle of the full use of a lane. This subsection shall not apply to motorcycles operated two abreast in a single lane.
(2) The operator of a motorcycle ((shall not))may overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken. ((However, this subsection shall not apply when the operator of a motorcycle overtakes and passes a pedestrian or bicyclist while maintaining a safe passing distance of at least three feet.))
(3) No person shall operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles unless the operator of a motorcycle is traveling at a rate of speed no more than 10 miles per hour over the speed of traffic flow and not more than 35 miles per hour. Any operator of a motor vehicle that intentionally impedes or attempts to prevent any operator of a motorcycle from operating his or her motorcycle as permitted under this subsection is guilty of a traffic infraction.
(4) Motorcycles shall not be operated more than two abreast in a single lane.
(5) Subsection((s (2) and)) (3) of this section shall not apply to police officers in the performance of their official duties.
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3. This act may be known and cited as the lane sharing for safety act.
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