The state Legislature is considering a bill that would allow motorcyclists to travel between lanes of traffic on Utah roads in certain situations.
HB410 would permit lane splitting — passing a vehicle moving the same direction in the same lane — when motorcyclists determine they can safely make the move without exceeding 40 mph.
Motorcyclists' safety and Utah's lax helmet laws became quick topics of concern when the bill was presented Tuesday to the House Transportation Committee. The panel of lawmakers ultimately voted 7-2 to advance the bill to the full House for consideration.
Rep. Gage Froerer, R-Huntsville, the bill's sponsor, called on physical therapist and motorcyclist Dave Moss to help present the bill and answer many of the questions from the committee.
Moss said several studies from around the world have concluded that riding between lanes is actually safer than riding within slow-moving or stopped traffic.
"The primary problem with getting lane splitting passed in states is that non-motorcyclists think that it is dangerous," Moss said. "Motorcycles are seven times more likely to be hit while stopped, compared to crashing while lane splitting."
And crashes that do occur with lane splitting often are less serious, he said.
Moss also said lane splitting would lead to greater motorcycle commuting, which reduces traffic congestion, cuts down on vehicle emissions, and causes less wear and tear on roadways.