Proposal would allow motorcyclists to ride in between lanes of traffic

Proposal would allow motorcyclists to ride in between lanes of traffic
Published: Feb. 14, 2017 at 10:40 PM HST|Updated: Feb. 15, 2017 at 5:14 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's perfectly legal in countries like Australia, Italy and France. Now, motorcycle rights advocates are pushing to pass a law that would allow bikers in Hawaii to ride in-between vehicles while in traffic.

Bruce Paige is the Hawaii director of Street Bikers United. He believes "lane filtering," as the practice is known, would help protect Hawaii's more than 40,000 motorcycle riders.

"Ten to eleven percent of fatalities or severe injuries involve some kind of rear end accident with motorcycles," said Paige.

Lane filtering would allow bikers to travel in between cars. Riders would be required to go slowly and use their turn signals.

"Traffic must be stopped. Filtering only applies when you have two lanes of traffic traveling in the same direction," said Paige.

The plan also makes it illegal for motorists in cars to attempt to stop a rider from passing. Paige says allowing motorcycles through will keep bikes from overheating and help to alleviate some traffic congestion.

"Every motorcycle that's not sitting in front of a car allows the car to move that much farther forward," said Paige.

Officials at the state Department of Transportation say the practice is unsafe, since many Hawaii roads are too narrow. There are also concerns that the proposal is too vague.

"What does stopped vehicles mean? How long do people stop to allow filtering to occur?" asked Ed Sniffen, Deputy Director of Highways. "Then when people start moving again, what happens? How do motorcyclists get back into different lanes."

Though the DOT says it will not support a statewide law, it might be open to allowing lane filtering on certain roads. The agency is also looking at other ways to keep motorcyclists moving.

"Maybe allowing re-purposing of the shoulder during that time, so motorcyclists could use the shoulder during times of congestion," said Sniffen.

The way the proposal is written, the law would only apply to motorcycles and motor scooters, not mopeds.

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