is formally starting a discussion next week about whether or not to legalize lane sharing for motoryclists, also known as lane splitting or filtering.
In a small first step, the Governor's Advisory Committee for Motorcycle Safety
has planned a public meeting and released a report [PDF] on the practice
, which is currently against the law in every state except California.
Based on the discussion Friday, Nov. 19 at Kaiser Town Hall
(3704 N Interstate Ave in Portland
), the advisory committee will decide whetherto conduct a public opinion poll on lane sharing. The committee's recent report finds lane sharing might reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as congestion because motorcyclists won't get stuck in traffic if they can maneuver within lanes. But the study also says lane sharing may endanger motorcyclists when drivers don't check carefully behind them when changing lanes.
According to the report, little is known about the statistical crash risks of lane sharing in the United States. That's because most states don't allow the practice, and much of the available research was done in Europe. The most extensive study from the United States is a 1981 report from California called the "Hurt Report."
(The report takes its title not from gory collisions but from the fact it was led by researcher Harry Hurt.) That report found lane sharing may reduce motorcycle collisions, and that bikers may be safer when traveling in between lanes. Another study done in Europe, where lane sharing is accepted, found motorcyclists were at much greater risk for injury when stopped in traffic than when maneuvering through it.