Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Lane-Splitting Coming To Texas?

You're stuck in traffic again after a long, highly stressful day at work. The boss has been riding you hard to make an impossible deadline, while at the same time adding new requirements and restrictions to the proposal. You just want to get home and relax, but like everyone else on the highway every day, you're just inching along, one car-length at a time, radiator and temper about to pop from the heat and frustration, when you hear a familiar, but out-of-place rumble. Optimistically, you believe it's a motorcycle cop, picking his way through the log-jam to find and remove the source of the roadway's constipation. Instead, as the source of the burbling motor comes into the range of your side-view mirror, you see a grinning bearded man wrapped in black leather, seemingly unencumbered by your plight, riding between the overheating cars and drivers.

Do you:

  1. Mentally congratulate him on the choice of transportation and the reduced emissions and strain it places on our congested roadways and consumption of fuel-oil? After all, motorcycles take up less space, get better gas-milage, and statistically carry the same number of passengers as most every other vehicle during rush-hour commutes.
  2. Find yourself day-dreaming of wind-in-the-hair adventures while exploring the scenic back-roads of this great state of ours?
  3. Cut that "sombeach" off by moving over close the gap between you and the car next to you? After all, why should he be able to move freely by, when you're stuck in traffic?

I'm not sure how I feel about this, since I rarely have occasion to get stuck in traffic anymore, due to the hours that I work. On one hand, I celebrate any legislation that further recognizes motorcycling as a valuable tool in reducing congestion on our roadways. However, I think there will be a lot of irritated people, ignorant of the new law, trying to prevent a bike from legally (if this gets passed) riding up between cars during a traffic-jam. Worse, I can see the possibility of angry commuters taking actions that can endanger motorcyclists taking advantage of the new law.

Heretofore, it has been illegal in every state of the union except California to split lanes of traffic. If this makes it into law, there would have to be a massive public-education campaign.

I, for one, won't be waiting in line to be the first to excercise any newly-minted right to squeeze by any overheated commuters stuck in traffic and jealously guarding their lane-position...

The proposed law:
79R517 JRJ-DBy:
Griggs
H.B. No. 1522
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT


relating to the operation and movement of motorcycles during periods of traffic congestion.

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

SECTION 1. Section 545.060, Transportation Code, is amended by amending
Subsection (a) and adding Subsection (e) to read as follows: (a) An
operator on a roadway divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic:
(1) shall drive as nearly as practical entirely within a single lane,
except as provided by Subsection (e); and
(2) may not move from the lane unless that movement can be made safely. (e) The operator of a motorcycle may operate the motorcycle for a safe distance between lanes of traffic moving in the same direction during periods of traffic
congestion if the operator:
  1. is at least 21 years old;
  2. has successfully completed a motorcycle operator training and safety course under Chapter 662;
  3. is covered by a health insurance plan providing the operator with at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of an accident while operating a motorcycle; and
  4. operates the motorcycle:
    (A) at a speed not more than five miles per hour over the speed of the
    other traffic; (B) in traffic that is moving at a speed of 20 miles per
    hour or less; and (C) in a location other than a school crossing zone or
    other than a location where the posted speed limit is 20 miles per hour or less.

SECTION 2. This Act takes effect September 1, 2005.


**UPDATE** Unfortunately, with school finance reform and a host of other things on Texas lawmakers' plates, this bill never made it out of committee.

32 Comments:

Anonymous Lucasfan's wife said...

I will be the first to block the motorcycle, legal or not. No one runs past me. ESPECIALLY if you aren't wearing a helmet.

March 07, 2005  
Anonymous BigDave said...

Well, let's just say it's good for you that I wear a helmet, because if ANYBODY attempts to keep me from doing ANYTHING that I am legally allowed to do, that person is in for an EDUCATION. Starting with a conversation, ending with WHATEVER is necessary to get the UN-EDUCATED party EDUCATED. (Read between the lines at will!) And I consider myself fairly restrained, compared to many, when it comes to dealing with the ignorant masses!!!

March 08, 2005  
Blogger Mav said...

"I will be the first to block the motorcycle, legal or not"

I would hope that some responsible person in another vehicle witnesses your form of "road rage" and calls 911 with your plate number.

If your action results in an accident, I sure hope you end up as someone's b$tch in the big house.

March 08, 2005  
Anonymous mik said...

"I will be the first to block the motorcycle, legal or not. No one runs past me"

Yours is the more arrogant, selfish, uneducated and stupid answer that anyone could expect for one civilized discussion. Do you call yourself a good citizen? Or even a good human being?… I do not think so… and your answer prove it!!

March 08, 2005  
Blogger Cav said...

Hey Lucasfan

Come to Houston. There are plenty of non helmet riding people as well as those wearing helmets that would love for you to try something this stupid. Consider it a pack mentality. Remember that just because there's only one bike around doesn't mean that there aren't other bikers present. Plus keep in mind that Texas has a large population of people that carry concealed weapons. Just because you are driving one, doesn't mean that the person next to you doesn't have one stashed somewhere.

It's statements like yours that make me wonder why I enlisted to protect morons like yourself and your right to free, albeit moronic in this case, speech.

March 08, 2005  
Anonymous lucasfan's wife said...

It is dangerous to try to pass like that whether it is legal or not and I won't let anyone that tries. I block merge lanes and shoulders etc. Just because you choose to be a hot rod motorcycler doesn't mean people in cars have to worry about who is passing and where. I suppose I should have known who's blog this was and that his friends would have the same Holy-er than though attitudes.

March 08, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lucasfans wife... that has to be one of the dumbest comments I have seen on the web. I take it if the LAW is passed, you will use a 2 ton vehicle to prevent a 600 lb motorcycle from passing in a lawful manner. One thing you need to think about, besides the fact you will be in the wrong. Your vehicle has the ability to cause injury or death at all times. Anyone that uses their vehicle in such a manner can be charged with assault with a deadly weapon up to a murder charge. Do you really think you are so important that you have the right to prevent people from passing you? I assure you, ANYONE that puts me, or any of my friends at risk by intentionally using their vehicle to block a motorcycle will quickly learn that side of the road justice still exists and the end result can be very painful. Read this with care.... you do not have to cause an accident.. just let me thnk you attempted to take an action that intentionally put a rider at risk. Do not ever think that you meet the nicest people on a motorcycle. That may be true for many, but there are some of us out there that are not all that nice, sort of like you.

March 08, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You do not have the right, in anyway to make justice yourself. This would be a criminal act. If you think that what motocycler do is illegal (which is not in this case)call the POLICE or scream for help.

March 08, 2005  
Anonymous Sarsippius said...

Your post is so moronic it doesn't even deserve to be debated. Ask your friends thier opinion of the issue and I'm sure they will agree that you are an idiot.
"No one runs past me."
You obviously were left in the dust long ago.

March 08, 2005  
Anonymous SlowRider said...

I can understand why some drivers (like lucasfan's wife) might be upset because of the apparent unfairness of the law toward regular motorists. What I don't understand is why someone would intentionally hurt another person by using their vehicle as a weapon. In any confrontation, the biker loses immediately, and sometimes permanently. And to intimate that not wearing a helmet was grounds for instant termination is blatant assault. While I would probably not "lane-split" unless traffic was absolutely crawling and my bike was overheating, I'm sure that I would ride as if everyone in a car or truck had a grudge against all bikers. People should curb their anger and learn to drive (and ride) responsibly, otherwise there will be nothing but more carnage on the roads.

March 08, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lucasfan's wife said...
"I will be the first to block the motorcycle, legal or not. No one runs past me. ESPECIALLY if you aren't wearing a helmet."
Can you explain to me, and the rest of bloggers, the relevance of whether the motorcyclist is wearing a helmet or not?

In your responses to date, you have stated that you would block a motorcyle splitting lanes, legal or not, and that you block merge lanes and shoulders etc. I thank God that you don't ride a motorcycle because the mentality that have when on public roads would hurt the reputation of law abiding citizens that do ride. It is interesting to read between the lines and see that you are under the misguided impression that you were annointed Queen on the road. Apparently, all drivers of motor vehicles must fall in line behind you...you obviously aren't the queen of your castle at home, and as such must impose your will on the public when the opportunity arises. No doubt you spend so much time looking in the rear view mirror that you leave a 10 car gap in front of you.....I'm sure that your mentality at that point is safety first. How ironic that must be?

"Just because you choose to be a hot rod motorcycler doesn't mean people in cars have to worry about who is passing and where."
I am amazed at the speed in which you can inacurately read. The law states, as written above, in case you want to re-read it...no more than 5mph above the speed that traffic is moving, and where the speed of existing traffic is 20mph or less. Hot rodding is not 25mph. Who is passing should not be of interest to you, unless it is an official vehicles with its lights on, and in your case they should be directly behind you based on your comments. Second, the only place that they will pass you is either on the left or the right, just like any other vehicle. If you use your signals everyone will know your intentions and it won't be an issue. With all of the other safety measures that you take to insure the road is safe for others, I am sure that this won't be an issue.

I suppose I should have known who's blog this was and that his friends would have the same Holy-er than though attitudes." Do you mean well educated and law abiding attitudes. I sense once again that you don't rule your roost, so you have to gain attention outside of the home, by informing the public of your intentions to openly and willingly break the law.

Do you have children that ride bicycles? Would you like if someone treated them on their bicycles in your neighborhood, the way you treat law abiding citizens on the road?

"I suppose I should have known who's blog this was and that his friends would have the same Holy-er than though attitudes."
Holy-er than though...I can't think of a better phrase to describe your lack of road manners.
This is a web blog and it is for the purpose of conversation. You should engage your brain before you let your fingers fly. In the same way you don't like our honest, intelligent, articulated thoughts, we don't like your reckless ranting.

Please respond...the only thing I enjoy more than you shooting yourself in the foot, is how quickly you have the ability to reload!

Signed,
Michigan's finest.

March 08, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think there are some effective medications for your condition. Please seek help before you hurt someone. The god complex you exhibit is normally caused by long repressed sexual frustration and the inability to enjoy any type of intimacy. My guess without a personal interview would be that you find intimate encounters including self stimulation to be frustratig and unfulfilling. Don't worry, women who are unable to acheiv orgasms have been helped by medecation and group therepy,

March 08, 2005  
Anonymous Bump said...

You're comment about being "holier than thou" needs reflecting upon. What kind of person threatens to endanger the life of a law-abiding person just because you don't agree with the law? Read the legislation a little closer and you might just find that your personal safety concerns are unfounded.

What does wearing a helmet have to do with anything?

PS...when you are blocking lanes and shoulders have you considered that they are also used by emergency vehicles?

March 08, 2005  
Blogger HeadCheese said...

Welcome, new readers! This topic has brought quite a few interesting comments, ranging from irrational vitriol to well-reasoned thought. Do please continue, but without the personal attacks. Remember that you are guests here, and I would prefer to let comments remain unedited.

In the meantime, for further reading, I've been pointed to an online article (Thanks go to TexasACE)on lane-splitting in San Francisco, where it has been legal for some time, now.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2000/10/30/MN87097.DTL

An interesting point in the article is how the California Highway Patrol Embraces lane-splitting.

Someone else on another forum indicated that the law did indeed already pass. This may be so, but I still don't plan to be the first to try it out, if ever. As one of the above respondents pointed out, it's dangerous to pass that way - before, of course, indicating that it was their own voluntarily reckless and selfish behavior that is the reason it would be dangerous to responsible and law-abiding motorcyclists, and indeed other motorists. Should something unfortunate occur, even accidentally, statements like that could easily be used to establish in a court of law a willfull and premeditated disposition to vehicular assault. So long as a minority group like that drive our public roadways, that danger will unfortunately continue to be true.

Will there be reckless and foolish motorcyclists on the road after the law takes effect? Certainly. Those people are on the road already. We've all seen them. But like the car-driver that chooses to block lanes, they are a blight on the records of the majority of responsible motorists, be it in a car or on a motorcycle.

It will certainly be interesting to see how this develops...

March 08, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lucasfan's wife:

Well as others here have indicated, you are an arrogant, ignorant person. You may in fact become the "first to block..."; but I'm betting you'll be the last after you end up in jail with a felony charge of assault. Of course, that's assuming you actually make it to jail after the other driver (yep, believe it or not motorcycles are actually legal here) gets done with you. Just out of curiousity - do you block just un-helmeted motorcyclists or anyone "getting past you"? Cars passing on your right are probably at risk as well.

On second thought, I take it back - you're not ignorant, just stupid. Com'n down to Austin and look for me. I'm the one riding without a helmet, lane-splitting, riding with one hand while smoking a cigar, going the posted speed limit, doing as I damn well (legally) please. Don't get confused by my 50,000 Austin brothers and sisters that may be riding without helmets, lane-splitting, etc.

This is America. This is Texas - we do as we please - you do not have the right or privledge of telling me what to do or to impeed upon my rights. Attempts to do so will be met with equal or greater force.

I find it hard to believe that people with your attitude are allowed to drive on the road with me.

Sign me - Bocefus

March 08, 2005  
Anonymous Lucasfan's Wife said...

You people are hilarious. I do actually rule the roost at home and I don't think I am sexually frustrated by any means. My comment was misunderstood. I was not intending to KILL any motorcyclists, just BLOCK them from passing me. As for the helmet comment, I was just saying that I cannot stand the motorcyclist that do not wear helmets because THAT is ignorant. My father and sister were in a wreck in which they hit a mere PEBBLE and they picked road debris out of my dad's face for hours. My sister had 2 broken arms. I do not intend to swerve and kill anyone. I intend to move my car over in the even that I see a 'cycle coming along. If you are going slow enough as the law SAYS, you will have plenty of time to stop. Go ahead and call 911 in dallas. It will take 2 hours to get a police officer. As for my children riding bikes...they wear helmets and we have a sidewalk. I don't straddle the shoulder at all times. Only when I see a car coming up behind me on the shoulder. This is particularly prevalent at the toll booth merge at 121 and the end of the tollway and at the tollway and Frankford. Anyone that drives this knows that it's a pain when people ride the shoulder and then want over. I hope for the SAFETY of all you threat speaking people that they DON'T pass the law in Texas. And thanks Headcheese for halfway defending me. As the other person that spends quality time with Mr. Lucasfan, you know I am not evil. Just terribly opinionated. :) Even if you sometimes do act Holy-er than me.

March 09, 2005  
Blogger HeadCheese said...

"Even if you sometimes do act Holy-er[sic] than me."

I'll take THAT as a compliment. *L*

March 09, 2005  
Anonymous Roachman said...

Block me. I've kicked the shit out of cars before. I don't see any reason not to do it again.

March 09, 2005  
Anonymous Inked said...

Lucasfan's wife:

I'm terribly embarassed to be the same gender as you. You state that you don't intend to KILL any motorcyclists, just BLOCK them (emphasis yours). Sometimes that amounts to the same thing. Since you obviously don't ride a motorcycle yourself, you are patently unqualified to comment on whether or not a motorcyclist would be able to stop. Driving is not a competition. You don't lose if someone passes you.
As for helmets, that is a personal choice, if you live in state that doesn't require them. Failing to understand why someone chooses not to wear a helmet DOESN'T give you the right to try to kill them if you see them trying to legally pass you in congested traffic. Do you also run down cars that contain persons not wearing seatbelts? Far more people die in traffic accidents because they weren't wearing a seatbelt than motorcyclists not wearing helmets.

And lastly, for God's sake, it's spelled H-O-L-I-E-R.

March 09, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So let me understand this correctly….your father rode a motorcycle and had the misfortune of having an accident while your sister was a passenger. You watched (in horror no doubt) as emergency professionals cleaned the road debri from his face and repaired your sister’s arms. Having first hand knowledge of what happens to motorcycle riders when they have an accident, I find it hard to believe you have taken the position that you have previously stated.

As I am sure you are aware, helmets come in many styles. That being said, do you want to more narrowly define your dislikes, because unless your father was wearing a full faced helmet, the same end result would have occurred.

Have you given thought to the idea that your father and sister may have come up against someone with your mentality/disoposition (even with the best of intentions) and that is what caused their accident? Imagine if there was a doctor or nurse in a car (or bike) who saw the accident and tried to drive up the should to assist, but couldn’t get to them because a kindred spirit of yours was on the road.

The only other explanation for this mentality is that your mother showered them with the much needed love and attention required to heal from such devastating injuries, and you felt/were neglected. Now that you are old enough to drive, but not yet able to comprehend the consequences of your actions, you are exacting your revenge for the earlier lack of attention, by drawing as much attention to yourself now as possible in as many forums as you have access to (that being the road and the web).

Signed,
Michigan's finest

March 09, 2005  
Anonymous Drive_Bye said...

It's admirable that you fine people choose to reason in the manner you do. As for me, not pissing into the wind has taken way too long to learn.

Kharma is a funny thing.
In the end, situations do have an ironic way of taking care of themselves.

Take comfort my friends. One day she may try to cash her 'reality check' and as sure as the sun sets.. it will bounce.

March 10, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lucasfan's wife you my fair lady are as dumb sounding as they come risking peoples lives because you come first

But then again your family will miss you or maybe not as it sounds youd be hard to live with. While your rotten in cross bars hotel for attempted vehicular manslaughter. Hope im there to witness it to testify against someone as narrow minded as you

March 22, 2005  
Anonymous 2muchcoffeeman said...

lucasfan's wife said ... " I will be the first to block the motorcycle, legal or not. No one runs past me. ESPECIALLY if you aren't wearing a helmet."

You're going to hate Europe (and most other foreign countries), for that matter. Absolutely legal overseas.

http://www.timberwoof.com/motorcycle/faq/europe.html

http://members.tripod.com/masa.k/Winging%20_in_Japan/winging_in_japan.htm

By the way, when you're sitting in your motionless mini-van stuck in traffic on the expressway, I'll be rolling by you at a sedate 10 mph. And by the time you get into gear to try to stop me, I'll be long gone.

March 30, 2005  
Blogger Loren said...

Thanks for all of the examples of the typical emotional response from the uninformed driving public.

But contrary to what you believe, this bill will save lives. It will
increase motorcycle awareness to an all time high, and California data proves it.

In California, in traffic, you are thinking about motorcycles, you are
thinking about them because they are part of the system, because they
pop up anywhere and everywhere. But in Texas, drivers fully expect for
motorcycles to be an automobile, and do not give them a second
thought. Texans think motorcycles are only ridden for ego. But if we
had privileges and respect (from the legislature), the attitude
between drivers and riders will take on a whole new meaning, good or
bad, either way, the awareness and dialogue are now there.

This is a very important acknowledgement of the values of motorcycling.

May 12, 2005  
Blogger Onethumb said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

May 16, 2005  
Blogger Onethumb said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

May 16, 2005  
Blogger Onethumb said...

"Lucasfan's wife said...
It is dangerous to try to pass like that whether it is legal or not and I won't let anyone that tries."

This is a perfect example of why some people need to be educated. Just because a rider might be able to avoid adding to the congestion (while a driver sits and fusses) does NOT make it unsafe for the rider. Read the conditions under which lane splitting will be legal. Then note that a study was sponsored by a legislator who wanted the practce stopped in CA. The (federal) DOT study came back finding that it was safer for riders to split than to stay in traffic (because a bike becomes invisible to many drivers when in a traffic jam; leading to bikes being squished between 2 cars). The legislator dropped the issue and slunk away quietly; leaving CA's lane sharing practice intact.

It's safer to split than it is to sit in traffic.

It reduces congestion for drivers of cars because the same space used by a bike is now free for use by other cars. It's a win-win situation for all commuters. All it takes is for someone to actually think and a willingness to learn about the issue instead of reacting emotionally. Like the other comment said, you don't lose just because someone passed you.

May 16, 2005  
Blogger drudrewdizzy said...

i live in cali and this by far is a more safe venture then many think. Coming from Texas I was nervous at first but most of the time cars move over so you can easily squeeze in. Now that is anonymous generosity at it's best.

May 28, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a former resident of CA and a current resident of Austin, TX there is definitely a different attitude toward lane splitting here. People in CA were much more liberal and understanding than Austin residents.

There seems to a a contingent of rednecks here in TX who think everyone's place is behind them.

A recent venture down I-35 proved my point. For the most part people either didn't seem to mind or didn't notice until after the fact. I did get a few horns and one or two people who tried to block me. I can't imagine the type of person who's sole purpose is to hold others back.

May 28, 2006  
Anonymous Scott said...

I looked this up blog following a conversation with colleagues about "filtering". I am from the UK but now living in Michigan and had been really quite surprised one day when a number of car drivers got VERY upset with me after I had filtered past about 6 stationary cars at a set of red lights one day.

I have been trying to remember how I felt about this before I got my bike license, but cannot. What is clear to me is that whilst I can see this as harmless, I cannot find any car driver (non bike rider) in the USA who feels the same way. This seems to come from 2 places.

1. A selfish sense of not wanting the biker to progress. I will not be beaten/passed. This is accompanied by a "what gives us (the biker) the right ?"

Not sure where this attitude comes from, either a lack of exposure to the practice or just something in American culture.

2. There is a fair bit of resentment to bikers who fly by cars (usually in too low a gear/loudly, at 30mph+ on the car being passed and in the right lane).

I can see the point here as this behaviour is stupid. I myself ride crotch rockets (and sometimes fast) but I don't EVER intimidate car drivers.

The thing is here that I can't see how this relates to filtering safely in stationary traffic?

Confused by the anger around this issue ?

June 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lucasfan's Wife said...
You people are hilarious. I do actually rule the roost at home and I don't think I am sexually frustrated by any means.

You would not rule at my roost bitch. I would put you ass in its place, and you would be happy to fetch my beers on your hands and knees....
Billy Biker. 1% club don't know what that is? Look it up .....

June 16, 2008  
Anonymous Affe said...

Sadly, people with attitudes like Lucasfan's wife are not an aberration in DFW. A lot of days, I feel threatened here even driving my car!

I can't wait to PCS out of here and move somewhere more rural again.

June 26, 2008  

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