New Bill Targets Maryland Motorcycle LawsApril 25, 2019
The Maryland House of Delegates has proposed legislation to repeal certain laws that apply to motorcyclists. Advocates believe that changing these laws will lessen traffic on local roads, decrease emissions, and improve safety for motorcycle riders. If passed, the Motor Vehicle Administration would be required to change its guidelines.
Current legislation prevents motorcyclists from filtering and lane-splitting. Filtering occurs when a motorcyclist proceeds forward during slow-moving or halted traffic. Lane-splitting occurs when motorcyclists pass other vehicles within the same lane. Currently, the only state where this is legal is California. Advocates believe that legalizing these actions in Maryland will benefit all who share the roads.
Advocates and Opponents
Although the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has not made their opinion clear, AAA Mid-Atlantic and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety believe that both filtering and lane-splitting are hazardous, stating that these practices can lead to turn-into-path collisions and side-swipes, since drivers may not realize that there is a motorcycle passing within or between lanes.
However, advocates believe that the bill’s passing would alleviate congested areas in the state, especially near the Bay Bridge. Being able to pass in either of these ways can also prevent the motorcycles from overheating. Local motorcyclist club, ABATE, and The American Motorcycle Association also support the bill. Other advocates feel that filtering and lane-splitting reduce the chances of motorcyclists getting rear-ended.
Whether it is legal or not, motorcyclists may engage in this kind of riding on their own accord. This is why other drivers should always be on guard when they hear a motorcycle. If the cyclist does choose to pass, they should be given extra room. Motorcyclists who pass illegally, especially at high speeds, put themselves and others on the road at risk.
There are ways to reduce the likelihood of serious motorcycle accidents. Motorcyclists should always wear their helmet, obey all traffic laws, and make sure that their motorcycles are in good condition before hitting the road. Never assume that other drivers can see you. Because of their smaller size, motorcycles can travel within another vehicle’s blind spot, making them hard to locate. It is also essential to wear reflective clothing and keep the headlights on when riding.
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