From Peter Bowman, a personal injury attorney of Billings, Barrett, and Bowman
Motorcyclists can rejoice as lane splitting may soon be allowed in Connecticut! Lane splitting refers to a motorcyclist that rides their bike between two lanes of traffic. This behavior has been against the law for years throughout the state due to some legislators believing it poses a hazard to the biker and others on the road. Now though, proposed Senate Bill 629 is looking to change that.
Lane splitting is no more dangerous than riding a motorcycle any other way. The majority of motorcycle accidents are caused by other drivers not watching out for bikers, not from bikers acting recklessly on their bikes.
Also, proponents of the bill state that allowing lane splitting will also ease traffic congestion. It will enable bikers to move forward more quickly, making room behind them for other vehicles to enjoy more space. This actually reduces the number of accidents on the road rather than increasing them.
In 2016, California was the first state to officially allow lane splitting by putting a law on the books regarding the practice. Since that time, the number of fatalities on The Golden State’s roads has decreased significantly. California does have some stipulations in their law, including the fact that lane splitting is only allowed when traffic is moving at a pace slower than 30 miles per hour. Whether or not Connecticut’s law will impose these same restrictions is a question only time will tell.
In another proposed bill in Connecticut, House Bill 6161, legislators are also trying to pass a law increasing the age limit for which bikers in the state must wear helmets. Currently, only riders aged 17 and younger are required to wear a helmet while on a bike. Some lawmakers would like to increase this age to 18.
If the new lane splitting bill is passed, it will make Connecticut the second in the country to adopt this type of law. Over 30 states still prohibit the practice, with 13 states not having a specific law outlining whether or not lane splitting is allowed.
Peter Bowman is a personal injury lawyer with the firm Billings, Barrett, and Bowman. With offices across the state of Connecticut, the firm handles a variety of personal injury cases including car accidents, motorcycle accidents, and wrongful death. More information can be found on LinkedIn and Facebook.