Washington

If you have any information for your state, please feel free to post it in the comments section, or email us directly. Laneshare.org relies on our readers to help keep us up to date on information each individual states effort to enact Lane Sharing legislation. Please help keep us informed on what your state is doing on the Lane Sharing front.

2013

Current Washington effort to legalize Lane Sharing.

Current bill gathering signatures for submittable. Sign the petition here

 

2009 Proposed Legislation

    • The plan is to introduce a version of the bill to keep the legislature used to the idea, but not to push the bill until work can be completed with the Washington State Patrol to compile data. The version would restrict the use of lanesharing to divided highways. While this is not the ultimate scope of the final bill, it would offer a start to show lanesharing as a viable safety tool for motorcyclists to use in the traffic mix.

 

2007-2008 Proposed Legislation

2005-2006 Proposed Legislation

Relevant Washington RCWs

 

A History of SB 5985 and HB 2160

Rep. Judy Clibborn (D) is the Chair of the House Transportation committee and was very receptive to us. We received a hearing in the House on February 21, 2007 which went as expected, with the Washington State Patrol opposing it. This Fall, the bill’s prime sponsor, Richard Curtis (R) resigned as did co-sponsor, John Lovick (D) a former WSP officer. He was elected as Snohomish County Sheriff in November 2007.

Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen (D) is the Chair of the Senate Transportation committee and refused to consider the bill. Sen. Dan Swecker (R), the ranking minority lead on the committee is our prime sponsor.

Both bills are still active in 2008, but our strategy this coming session is to not actively push for hearings, but to use the time to map out the legislative field and get the WSP more involved. The good news is that after taking a neutral position, the Washington Road Riders Association stepped up to become more active. We value Larry Walker and the WRRA’s help in the

coming years.
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House Bill 1176

BILL REQ. #: H-0722.1

_____________________________________________

HOUSE BILL 1176

_____________________________________________

State of Washington 59th Legislature 2005 Regular Session

By Representatives Morris, Dickerson and Upthegrove

Read first time 01/18/2005. Referred to Committee on Transportation.

AN ACT Relating to operation of a motorcycle between traffic lanes; and amending RCW 46.61.608.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:

Sec. 1 RCW 46.61.608 and 1975 c 62 s 46 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 overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken.

 

(3) Except during periods of traffic congestion, no person shall operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles.

 

(4) Motorcycles shall not be operated more than two abreast in a single lane.

 

(5) Subsections (2) and (3) of this section shall not apply to police officers in the performance of their official duties.

— END —

 

* Underlined sections are the proposed changes.
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A history of HB 1176

At the behest of a Greg Hertel of San Juan Island, WA, Representative Jeff Morris submitted a bill in the last session, the text of which is posted above. This was a second attempt. The first step for this bill was to get a House Transportation Committee hearing which Rep. Ed Murray, Chairman of said committee granted.

 

While there was no official proponents, the surprising aspect was there was no opposition to the bill, at least officially. Some backhanded comments were offered.

 

Steve Lind of the Highway Safety Commission, stated the commission was taking a neutral position for lack of any studies indicating lane-sharing as either a safe or dangerous practice. On a personal note, he stated that for the 12 years he lived in California, he observed the practice on his commute and thought it to be reasonable. However, he showed a video of a bike’s view of lane-splitting, he gleaned off of the internet that was, frankly, sketchy.

 

A representative of the Washington State Patrol testified that the department was taking a neutral position for the same reason that Steve Lind had. He also relayed a conversation with his counterpart at the CHP, reporting that most lane-sharing accidents are the fault of the motorcyclist and if he had his way, it would be outlawed in California.

 

“Texas” Larry Walker representing the Washington Road Riders Association, a state-level motorcycle rights organization (MRO) testified they were officially taking a neutral position for similar reasons and the WRRA membership was evenly divided on the matter. He also felt the bill, as written, was too vague and needed to be fleshed-out. Larry also intimated his personal view that lane-sharing was “institutional suicide”.

 

Despite these backhanded comments, the committee seemed to be interested with the concept of lane-sharing, but the bill never moved out of the committee.
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RCW 46.61.290

Required position and method of turning at intersections.

The driver of a vehicle intending to turn shall do so as follows:

(1) Right turns. Both the approach for a right turn and a right turn shall be made as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.

(2) Left turns. The driver of a vehicle intending to turn left shall approach the turn in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of travel of the vehicle. Whenever practicable the left turn shall be made to the left of the center of the intersection and so as to leave the intersection or other location in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the same direction as the vehicle on the roadway being entered.

(3) Two-way left turn lanes.

(a) The department of transportation and local authorities in their respective jurisdictions may designate a two-way left turn lane on a roadway. A two-way left turn lane is near the center of the roadway set aside for use by vehicles making left turns in either direction from or into the roadway.

(b) Two-way left turn lanes shall be designated by distinctive uniform roadway markings. The department of transportation shall determine and prescribe standards and specifications governing type, length, width, and positioning of the distinctive permanent markings. The standards and specifications developed shall be filed with the code reviser in accordance with the procedures set forth in the administrative procedure act, chapter 34.05 RCW. On and after July 1, 1971, permanent markings designating a two-way left turn lane shall conform to such standards and specifications.

(c) Upon a roadway where a center lane has been provided by distinctive pavement markings for the use of vehicles turning left from either direction, no vehicles may turn left from any other lane. A vehicle shall not be driven in this center lane for the purpose of overtaking or passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction. No vehicle may travel further than three hundred feet within the lane. A signal, either electric or manual, for indicating a left turn movement, shall be made at least one hundred feet before the actual left turn movement is made.

(4) The department of transportation and local authorities in their respective jurisdictions may cause official traffic-control devices to be placed and thereby require and direct that a different course from that specified in this section be traveled by turning vehicles, and when the devices are so placed no driver of a vehicle may turn a vehicle other than as directed and required by the devices.
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RCW 46.61.140

Driving on roadways laned for traffic.

Whenever any roadway has been divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic the following rules in addition to all others consistent herewith shall apply:

(1) A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from such lane until the driver has first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety.

(2) Upon a roadway which is divided into three lanes and provides for two-way movement of traffic, a vehicle shall not be driven in the center lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle traveling in the same direction when such center lane is clear of traffic within a safe distance, or in preparation for making a left turn or where such center lane is at the time allocated exclusively to traffic moving in the same direction that the vehicle is proceeding and such allocation is designated by official traffic-control devices.

(3) Official traffic-control devices may be erected directing slow moving or other specified traffic to use a designated lane or designating those lanes to be used by traffic moving in a particular direction regardless of the center of the roadway and drivers of vehicles shall obey the directions of every such device.

(4) Official traffic-control devices may be installed prohibiting the changing of lanes on sections of roadway and drivers of vehicles shall obey the directions of every such device.
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RCW 46.61.522

Vehicular assault — Penalty.

(1) A person is guilty of vehicular assault if he or she operates or drives any vehicle:

(a) In a reckless manner and causes substantial bodily harm to another; or

(b) While under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, as defined by RCW 46.61.502, and causes substantial bodily harm to another; or

(c) With disregard for the safety of others and causes substantial bodily harm to another.

(2) Vehicular assault is a class B felony punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW.

(3) As used in this section, “substantial bodily harm” has the same meaning as in RCW 9A.04.110.
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RCW 46.61.608

Operating motorcycles on roadways laned for traffic.

(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 overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken.

(3) No person shall operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles.

(4) Motorcycles shall not be operated more than two abreast in a single lane.

(5) Subsections (2) and (3) of this section shall not apply to police officers in the performance of their official duties.
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RCW 46.61.620

Opening and closing vehicle doors.

No person shall open the door of a motor vehicle on the side adjacent to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle adjacent to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.
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RCW 46.61.100

Keep right except when passing, etc.

(1) Upon all roadways of sufficient width a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway, except as follows:

(a) When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing such movement;

(b) When an obstruction exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the highway; provided, any person so doing shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles traveling in the proper direction upon the unobstructed portion of the highway within such distance as to constitute an immediate hazard;

(c) Upon a roadway divided into three marked lanes and providing for two-way movement traffic under the rules applicable thereon;

(d) Upon a street or highway restricted to one-way traffic; or

(e) Upon a highway having three lanes or less, when approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle, tow truck or other vehicle providing roadside assistance while operating warning lights with three hundred sixty degree visibility, or police vehicle as described under *RCW 46.61.212(2).

(2) Upon all roadways having two or more lanes for traffic moving in the same direction, all vehicles shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic, except (a) when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, (b) when traveling at a speed greater than the traffic flow, (c) when moving left to allow traffic to merge, or (d) when preparing for a left turn at an intersection, exit, or into a private road or driveway when such left turn is legally permitted. On any such roadway, a vehicle or combination over ten thousand pounds shall be driven only in the right-hand lane except under the conditions enumerated in (a) through (d) of this subsection.

(3) No vehicle towing a trailer or no vehicle or combination over ten thousand pounds may be driven in the left-hand lane of a limited access roadway having three or more lanes for traffic moving in one direction except when preparing for a left turn at an intersection, exit, or into a private road or driveway when a left turn is legally permitted. This subsection does not apply to a vehicle using a high occupancy vehicle lane. A high occupancy vehicle lane is not considered the left-hand lane of a roadway. The department of transportation, in consultation with the Washington state patrol, shall adopt rules specifying (a) those circumstances where it is permissible for other vehicles to use the left lane in case of emergency or to facilitate the orderly flow of traffic, and (b) those segments of limited access roadway to be exempt from this subsection due to the operational characteristics of the roadway.

(4) It is a traffic infraction to drive continuously in the left lane of a multilane roadway when it impedes the flow of other traffic.

(5) Upon any roadway having four or more lanes for moving traffic and providing for two-way movement of traffic, a vehicle shall not be driven to the left of the center line of the roadway except when authorized by official traffic control devices designating certain lanes to the left side of the center of the roadway for use by traffic not otherwise permitted to use such lanes, or except as permitted under subsection (1)(b) of this section. However, this subsection shall not be construed as prohibiting the crossing of the center line in making a left turn into or from an alley, private road or driveway.

 

[2007 c 83 § 2; 1997 c 253 § 1; 1986 c 93 § 2; 1972 ex.s. c 33 § 1; 1969 ex.s. c 281 § 46; 1967 ex.s. c 145 § 58; 1965 ex.s. c 155 § 15.]

Notes:

Rules of court:  Monetary penalty schedule — IRLJ 6.2.     *Reviser’s note: RCW 46.61.212 was amended by 2010 c 252 § 1, changing subsection (2) to subsection (1)(d)(ii), effective January 1, 2011.Legislative intent — 1986 c 93: “It is the intent of the legislature, in this 1985 [1986] amendment of RCW 46.61.100, that the left-hand lane on any state highway with two or more lanes in the same direction be used primarily as a passing lane.” [1986 c 93 § 1.]

Information on proper use of left-hand lane: RCW 28A.220.050, 46.20.095, 46.82.430, 47.36.260.

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1 Comment

  1. rayers rayers
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    NEW!!!

    Sign the petition to Reduce congestion by amending RCW 46.61.608: Amend RCW 46.61.608 allowing lane splitting by motorcycles in congestion Sign it Here

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