Nevada Lane Splitting Bill Passes Senate Transportation Committee

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Motorbike and cars in traffic jam

AB236, Nevada’s lane splitting bill, has passed the Senate Transportation Committee. The bill was first heard by the Nevada Senate Transportation Committee on April 26th. The bill was then amended to allow lane splitting only in stopped traffic, at no more than 10 MPH and passed the Senate Transportation Committee in a follow-up work session May 17th. It will now go on to the full Senate for a full vote.

As covered in our previous coverage of AB236, the bill originally allowed for splitting up to 30 MPH, at not more than 10 MPH faster than surrounding traffic. The original bill and support, if passed, looked to be an excellent template for other states to follow. This new, extremely limited form is similar to Oregon lane splitting bills SB541 and HB3310 – both of which appear very unlikely to see any progress. Check out the amended text of AB236 below.

Key points from supporting testimony in the first session:

1. “Most of the world except the United States has lane splitting. It’s kind of a common practice throughout the western world.” – Ernie Adler

2. Adler stated that statistically speaking, we may save “as many as 100 lives per year” by moving the rider “out of the crash zone,” based on data from the UK. He also pointed out that between cars is a safer position for motorcyclists than behind – “even if somebody is changing lanes erratically.”

3. Both Daly and Adler added air cooling the rider to the old “lane splitting helps with air cooling” argument.

4. Las Vegas Metropolitan PD was again represented by Brian O’Callahan. LVPD is neutral on AB236, although the Nevada Highway Patrol has spoken negatively of the bill in the media – surprising, given the California Highway Patrols’s support of lane splitting.

Check out the footage of the first Senate hearing on AB236 for more info:

And here’s the where the amended AB236 passes the Transportation Committee in very limited form.

Here’s the amended bill:

The progress of AB236 has been widely covered by the mainstream media. TV news shows are running news segments on AB236 and lane splitting, and SF Gate and many other online news outlets are picking up a stories on AB 236.

This article originally appeared on Lane Splitting is Legal and is reprinted here with permission. Visit LSiL for complete coverage of lane splitting legality.

  • RT Moto

    I suppose that’s good at stop lights, where I would assume most of the accidents would occur?? Doesn’t really do much for those caught in stop and go traffic on the highway though. That can get sketchy really quick, especially with the increase in phone usage while driving (regardless of the laws in place to curb that). I would assume that most of the people using their phones while driving turn to their peripheral vision to help with gauging how far ahead the vehicle in front of them is. Motorcyclists would have a hard time being seen with that going on unless you have an obnoxiously loud exhaust or bright lights/colors asking for attention. Defensive riding would have to be key while riding in traffic like that, more than what would normally be practiced. That fourth key point about Nevada’s Highway Patrol against it is really disappointing because now that the higher ranking officials see it that way the word will spread down to the patrol units kind of putting riders in a grey area if they get caught splitting in stop and go traffic where an officers word goes further than any riders(unless it’s caught on a GoPro). Overall I think it’s progress so a battle won here only increases any sort of momentum that other states with potential bills have. At least that’s what I hope.

    • Tuscan Foodie

      Using the phone while driving is illegal in most States. Saying that line splitting should not be allowed because people who illegally use their phone while driving may crash them is like saying that women shouldn’t wear sexy clothes because rapists may get excited.

      I have used my bike on European roads for more than 20 years on European roads, before moving to the US. Lane splitting is not only allowed, but it is encouraged as a measure to reduce traffic congestion.

      Are there idiots that abuse it? Absolutely. But that’s not a reason why not to adopt it.

    • karlInSanDiego

      No most accidents don’t happen when you’re stopped at a red light. The #1 cause of two vehicle accidents involving bikes are when a car turns left into the path of a bike. Another major cause is a car passing into the lane where a bike is, that they aren’t aware of. The idea that we’ll all be infinitely safer if we don’t have to wait in a lane with a car in front and a car behind is frankly ridiculous. Of course there are occasions when an inattentive driver doesn’t stop in time and rear ends a biker, but it’s not anywhere near a major cause of bike injuries. Just like in cars it’s a rarity. I’ve been splitting in CA for the last 5 years (and for 4 years before that) and on several occasions people have made lane changes just before I passed them (splitting not filtering). That’s happened 3 times in 5 years. Even when you watch for the holes that will encourage a car to change lanes, there’s still going to be someone who catches you off guard if you split long enough. There are also people who can’t seem to center their cars in their lane and therefore leave their mirror (or their Pit Bull in the back of their pickup) in the path of a splitting bike. I consider that my problem, but nonetheless, it raises the danger level when a squid decides to split in my wake leaving no room to react to me braking fast. I’ve been hit at a light (I was lead vehicle at light) by someone who lifted their foot from their brake and lurched into the back of my bike. It was a tap, and I had my hand on brake and both feed down, so no harm, just annoyance. I can tell you the near misses while splitting were much more dangerous and I would have avoided them by riding leisurely in my own lane. I don’t want lane splitting to go away, but I’m honest about why I do it and what the risks are. It isn’t a golden ticket to safety, but it does cut my commuting time greatly when I pass several hundred cars that are slogging through San Diego traffic. So I’m for splitting/filtering, but don’t hide behind the safety argument, as there’s more anecdotal proof in my experience that you’re safer maintaining a place in a lane and operating like a car does. And finally, I’ll point out that splitting/filtering is a learned skill. Lots of nuance to it and a fair amount of it is etiquette. And speaking of safety, a person learning to split is an accident waiting to happen, but we all have to learn how to do it safely, through trial and hopefully little insignificant error. Ever clip a mirror? I have, and you feel like a jerk when you do it, if you happen to value other people’s property.

      • justme1294

        I don’t believe the article says that lane splitting would reduce accidents. It said it could reduce deaths. I think the #1 cause of motorcyclist deaths doesn’t even involve cars (motorcyclist leaves the roadway). The #2 is probably a car turning in front of a motorcycle. I’m sure a car changing lanes into a motorcycle would make for a bad day, but I think it is less likely to kill the rider than an inattentive driver plowing into the back of a motorcycle stopped in traffic.

        • Surj Gish

          Check out the video from the first hearing at about 11:30 for more on the reduced deaths point. It’s a bit of optimistic math, but makes the point that removing the rear end crash risk by lane splitting (“moving out of the crash zone”) will reduce deaths.

      • Surj Gish

        Karl, most of the issues you mention are under your control and don’t change the benefits of lane splitting. Car weaving? Don’t split past them. Squid on your tail? Pull in between cars and let him pass. If you’re clipping mirrors, you’re splitting in a situation you shouldn’t be in.

        Yes, lane splitting is a skill, and beginners shouldn’t do it – as with all elements of riding a motorcycle well, leaners should start slow in low risk environments. Lane splitting does introduce an additional risk (car incursion from the side), but it removes others, such as the rear end crash risk. The data shows that it’s generally faster and easier to respond to a car coming in from the side than avoiding an inattentive driver from behind (when not splitting, of course).

        The safety component is real – splitting lanes removes the rear end accident risk as well as making your commute faster. In large numbers, it helps reduce congestion. There are multiple benefits and “anecdotal proof” doesn’t beat the data.

        • karlInSanDiego

          Where’s that data located? I think you’re talking about more anecdotal references to what seems logical. At a stop, it’s tricky and frankly lame to watch your mirror and prepare to take evasive action in the event the car behind you never ends up stopping. (did that in my car once avoiding a texter, and it saved me) Weigh that vs. the hundreds of cars that have signalled (or not) just before I split past them, and they “cut me off.” That’s in quotes, because it’s my responsibility to guard against that lane change. Of course I have to mitigate, but I wouldn’t have to at all if I wasn’t splitting, therefore it’s an additional risk, not helping, but hurting safety, and splitting makes me MUCH more likely to be in that crash situation than stopping in a lane. Again, show me data, that proves CA has measurably less rear endings at lights than other states and it’s because bikes filter. I expect the car to not see me as I’m certainly invisible even to many who try to use their mirrors. If you split often, you’ll know why I said that even when you take all the precautions that you can, cars changing lanes, and tailgating splitters still happen. If I take my eyes off the road ahead while splitting to look for tailgating splitter….splatter. I do see them, but generally after I hear them, so at that point they’ve been tailgating me for a while. Scanning mirrors during splitting is MUCH less frequent, because you need 100.000% of your attention up front. I do pull aside to let unsafe tailgating bikers past me about once every two weeks.
          Thanks for conceding that lane splitting adds an additional risk, as few people seem willing to do so.
          And reminder to other splitters, remember to leave following distance behind a another splitter. You’re already splitting, so have some patience and maintain lead splitter’s pace.
          On a side note, but demonstrating motorcyclists predisposition to rationalize risks, I find it laughable watching youtube vloggers talking to themselves in their helmet videos about all the near misses that are happening around them, as if they aren’t usually the ones putting themselves in that situation. When I have a near miss, I consider it a warning not to let that happen to me again, if at all possible.

          • luxlamf

            You are claiming an occasional glance in your mirrors to see behind you is a Potential Cause for accident? I don’t know about you but I scan everywhere while riding and splitting especially, it takes a “Skill” of using the autos around you as blocks that the cars in front of you see in not you and don’t cut you off and approaching interchanges very carefully as those are the times people dart back and forth the most. as far as tailgaters I see 90% of them coming and let them go if they appear in my mirrors quickly, some just want to follow and let me know that by remaining a safe distance behind me instead of invading my space. If your Claim of Loud exhausts and Bright clothing was true we would see many more CHP officer involved accidents on the highways and there is no reporting of that. Bets thing about legal lane splitting is you Don’t have to do it if you don’t want to, you can ride along with traffic all day long if you need be which from your statement here is you have a helmet that allows you very limited visibility or you should avoid highways all together.

          • Surj Gish

            Which data are you looking for? There’s are links to a bunch of studies on our resources page and all the various studies entered as evidence in the AB236 hearings are listed as exhibits on the NELIS page for AB236. Based on your questions about “data that proves CA has measurably less rear endings” you should definitely read James Ouellet’s study on the resources page linked above – “Lane Splitting on California Freeways.” Of note: “The data suggest that splitting lanes may be safer than NOT splitting lanes.”

            Please note that I said there is additional risk from splitting, but it also removes other risks – as is true of just about any situation while riding. The risks vary from second to second. Lane splitting is about as safe as the rest of riding.

  • Jesse

    I would have been very happy to have even this limited lane splitting law in effect as I spent half an hour stopped on the Mass Pike yesterday (before getting caught in a banger of a thunderstorm).

    Here’s to hoping.

  • RT Moto

    Although people out there(I suppose here, now that I moved to Texas) tend to chime in while inexperienced in the subject, doesn’t make their insight any less relevant. Sure they/we aren’t allowed to split lanes, but conditions out here are different from what I have seen so far. Roads are really dusty, runoff from rain is on the roads more than sunny Southern California, the drivers here aren’t as conditioned to having motorcycles riding around them all the time, and other things I may have not yet experienced. The point of lane splitting is to maneuver through traffic to avoid sitting in it to lessen the riders chances of getting run over. If you aren’t able to do that with precision, which lane splitting requires, then there is no point in doing it. After riding my bike out here I think it’s going to be an “avoid traffic at all costs” type of riding that I do rather than just filtering through it. To some splitting is safe, and to others it isn’t. It’s more than just personal preference and that’s what you’re trying to draw with your assumption. Some see it different because of the conditions they experience when they ride. I’ll take riding in California any day over riding out here. Maybe it’s a case of me needing to man up, but either way it doesn’t feel good riding out here, which is a damn shame.

    • luxlamf

      I spent time in Dallas and do not envy you at all riding around in TX Metro areas at all, it is Different then here and that is what proves my point, if I Only knew TX riding there is no way I would make any beneficial argument on what its like riding on CA highways. Now splitting lanes on the 405 is much different then say the 15 or 10 heading to Palm Springs or Vegas, yes the road conditions change and more so in Northern CA but that doesn’t make the fact that its a Safe practice when done properly by people who know how to control their vehicle.

  • Dennis Bratland

    Capitalization fail.

  • Tuscan Foodie

    We need this in Illinois too (nationally, really). I am an AMA member, and I can’t understand why they don’t make this fight one of their priorities. It is a no brainer to me.

    • RT Moto

      That’s cause they’re too busy fighting helmet laws.

      • Tuscan Foodie

        I know. If it wasn’t for their wonderul roadside assistance I wouldn’t be a member.

  • carbureted

    While I can see the possibility that some motorcyclists will get hurt by lane splitting, it needs to be legal nationwide.

    I live in Seoul, and I practice lane splitting every single time I ride (which is multiple times daily), and I have been riding this way accident free for years. There is no faster way to get around, and it significantly reduces my chances of being crushed by a taxi or God-knows-what from the rear by moving to the front of the line.

    Reading that the NV Highway Patrol thinks of lane splitting as a negative is just sad.

  • karlInSanDiego

    Dude, get a prescription or something. How do you expect anyone to take you seriously when you sound like the playground bully with a nerd bent? Who died and made you Marlon Brando?

  • karlInSanDiego

    For those in CA who do split and filter, when you’re the lead vehicle approaching a stop light, do you align your bike back on the center line to ensure that no one hits you? I don’t . I was taught to maintain your lane by either centering your bike in your lane, or better yet, tracing the tire path of a car, usually the outside tire. When I split it’s very often that I am the lead vehicle at the next light, because I’ve just put myself there. So statistically, I’m now the first one stopping at many intersections, and if I was to be rear ended in a serious way, I’d likely be pushed into cross traffic, though admittedly avoiding being crushed between two vehicles. I really don’t see splitting/filtering as the safety crutch others keep stating it is.

    • Surj Gish

      We talk about this kind of stuff on the LaneSplittingIsLegal Facebook page a lot as part our “splitting tips” discussions quite frequently – check it out.

      I don’t think putting yourself in the center will prevent you from being hit. When I’m the lead vehicle at the light, I generally stop to the left or right of center, because oil, coolant and other junk will often build up in the center of the lane where vehicles are stopped. I don’t want to be in that stuff. In either case, leave your bike in gear and watch your mirrors until you have a car stopped behind you to cover your tail. It’s also useful to have some kind of brake light flasher to help with rearward visibility. I run Skene P3s and they make a noticeable difference.

      Also, in heavy traffic, splitting to the front simply sets you up to split through the traffic in the next block – it’s pretty rare that the road is just wide open in front of you, at least in urban areas. I wouldn’t worry about this particular case too much – watch your six and you’ll be ok.

      Lane splitting isn’t a safety crutch, as you’ve put it – it’s just another tactic that happens to be very good for removing the possibility of being rear-ended. As with riding in general, awareness of your surroundings prevents a lot of potential crash scenarios.

  • Surj Gish

    We have official guidelines from the CHP, and it’s 100% clear – lane splitting is legal in California. Things that aren’t prohibited are legal. The likelihood of CA adopting the amended language of AB236 is very low. There’s already a placeholder bill (SB 350) that may see action next year. The most likely case in CA ifs simply codification of the CHP guidelines.

    The original language of AB236 when it passed the NV Assembly was more permissive, allowing splitting in a fashion similar to the CHP guidelines – no more than 10 MPH faster than traffic, not faster than 10 MPH. The original language was patterned on the CHP guidelines, and made slightly more conservative.