The attempts in the legislature to provide motorcycle riders with more freedom on the road has once again prompted a debate over lane-splitting and helmets.
The use of the helmet was first required by law in 1967, and it was repealed ten years later. It returned in 1978, but not completely, as only minors were required to wear helmets.
In 1990, the mandate fully came back, and all riders were again required to wear helmets.
Washington has a history of debating over this issue, and now the debate is back once again in 2019 with Senate Bill 5007. The bill would start a three-year project which would allow motorcycle riders over the age of 21 the liberty of choosing not to wear a helmet.
If a rider chooses to go without a helmet, they would be required to carry liability insurance, which is not currently required.
Lane-splitting is against the law in the United States, except California. Senate Bill 5254 would allow limited lane splitting, allowing the riders to pass on the far left, but not between lanes.
However, they could only travel 25 miles per hour, or a maximum of 10 miles an hour faster than traffic.
While most riders like the idea of lane-splitting, they don’t like this bill. They told the lawmakers that this sort of a restricting lane-splitting to the far left is far too dangerous because all the debris that’s usually in that area.
A lane-splitting bill similar to this one failed last legislative session.