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Motorcyclists are increasingly violating lane laws in Washington

(KIRO 7)

There’s been an uptick in unsafe behavior by motorcyclists on Washington’s roads.

Q&A: Washington’s distracted driving law

“There’s an increase of motorcyclists weaving in and out of traffic and lane splitting, and driving on the shoulder, and we’ve gotten quite a few complaints and it’s tough for troopers to catch up to those motorcycles because they are weaving in and out of traffic and it’s becoming quite the safety issue,” Washington State Trooper Brook Bova said.

Bova explains the dangerous riding trend comes down to motorcyclists not wanting to be stuck in traffic. Some also believe a law allowing motorcyclists to lane split passed this year.

“And Motorcyclists believe this law passed, they have the law number and everything. It passed in the Senate, but not in the House. And it is an educational moment when we can say no, it did not, and it’s just not safe to do.”

Bova is referring to Bill 5378, which did not pass.

Because of that confusion, Washington State Patrol motorcycle emphasis patrols are happening now. Lane splitting can be a really expensive traffic violation.

“It would be a $136 fine for driving wheels off roadway, but depending on how erratic and egregious the driving is, you could be charged for a lot more if you have a passenger it could be reckless driving, illegal passing, endangering others …” Bova explained.

Critics say lane splitting can be done safely if you do it the right way. But you can’t do it in Washington. The only place you can legally lane split on a motorcycle is in California.

Oh, and here’s a pro tip for drivers, check your blind spot a lot — a motorcyclist who thinks the lane splitting law passed, or is simply ignoring the law, could be speeding up behind you while you are stopped in traffic.

Tell us about a Chokepoint or ask a traffic question @kirortraffic via Twitter.

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