Motorcycle lane-splitting may become legal in Texas

 The practice of motorcycle lane-splitting is legal in California but it's a grey area here in Texas.
   
There are 2 bills in front of the legislature right now that could make lane-splitting legal in Texas as long as traffic is moving slow.
   
"There is a safe way to do it," said Nicholas Stearns, a motorcycle safety instructor for "Total Rider."

Stearns says if it's made legal, yes, he will lane-split.  And he'll teach his students how to do it safely.

"If there's a safe way to do it and it can help de-congest traffic and stuff when it is you know at a standstill or you know really slow moving...just shed light on how to do it safely and that will kind of help everybody out," Stearns said.

Senator Kirk Watson, the author of Senate Bill 442 says in a statement that he understands the safety concerns about lane-splitting and felt the same way until he did it himself.  Watson says "But it's important to understand that my bill would not allow motorcycles to zip and weave through fast-moving traffic.  Instead, my bill would permit lane-splitting when surrounding traffic is traveling at a speed of 20 miles per hour or less, in which case the motorcycle couldn't go any faster than 25 miles per hour."

"And that makes perfect sense and like I said I just think that it would be important that motorcyclists are also aware that cars are going to be changing lanes and that you're not to go fast," said Jeff Stoops with the local chapter of the Texas Motorcycle Riders Association.

In his opinion, lane splitting is essential for motorcycle engines too.

"Most people don't understand unless they're acutely aware of the fact that motorcycles need to be moving in order to be cooled, at least mine does.  It's not water-cooled.  So if I'm stuck in traffic and we do know that Austin has some particular problems with traffic, my motorcycle is getting hotter and hotter," he said.

Watson says lane-splitting actually makes the roads safer for motorcyclists in stop and go traffic.
   
He cited a 2014 University of California Berkeley study that found that lane-splitting motorcyclists are less likely to suffer head injury, torso injury or be killed than other motorcyclists.

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