Cycle News

Cycle News 2020 Issue 15 April 14

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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Page 97 of 99

VOLUME 57 ISSUE 15 APRIL 14, 2020 P97 this is rather daft, as the AMA (in my opinion), should be putting this issue before the various decision makers in each state, rather than waiting for someone else to do it. "There are some proposals that we (the AMA) haven't sup- ported for various reasons," Harris says. "Let's say that you were in a state that has a helmet provision for adults, and they say, 'You can lane split but you have you wear a helmet.' That has always gone against our position that you shouldn't trade one right for another." Ah yes, the helmet law. I'm leaving that one alone for the moment. One point I found interesting when chatting with Harris was his noting that many rider groups actually oppose lane splitting. "They think it's dangerous," said Harris, not disclosing who the groups were or where they were based. "The number-one thing I hear is, 'You're crazy. It's danger- ous.' What they tend to remem- ber is someone doing something irrational or dangerous or illegal. I've been to conferences where law enforcement has got up and showed videos of people doing very dangerous, stunt-type things and say, 'This is what you're going to allow if you allow lane splitting.'" If that's the case, then shouldn't it be up to the AMA— the world's largest motorcycling organization—to educate these various groups that, in fact, riders doing illegal things on the street will not be the result of legalizing lane splitting? "We do our best, but I can't be at every meeting," says Harris. "You've got to realize—legitimate or not—that's the perception in some people's minds. But I agree completely. That's part of our role [the AMA] to educate people." I then asked Nick if the riders opposed to the lane splitting law are those opposed to mandatory helmet laws? "I think there's some crossover there," he said. Oops. Hang on. Helmet laws again, back to lane splitting. What I got from my chat with Nick was the AMA isn't going to do anything about lane splitting unless someone else brings up the subject. It seems the AMA is either scared to ruffle feathers, or simply doesn't want to put forth this subject, which shouldn't be a subject at all, in my opinion, to the various states that don't have legiti- mized lane splitting/filtering and or oppose it. It almost seems like the AMA is scared to offend anyone. We as motorcyclists don't help ourselves, either. I've seen far too many people who ride like they own the streets, pissing off drivers and just generally acting like buffoons in the public eye. This does nothing for helping our cause in any argument, lane split- ting or not. Should the AMA put forth the notion to the various people that matter that, yes, lane splitting would help ease traffic, decrease the risk of motorcycle-related ac- cidents, and increase the num- ber of people who would take up riding as a result, they'd have a hell of a job on their hands. As the AMA website says (check out the full statement on lane splitting here): "Significant effort would subsequently be required to educate the law enforcement community, officials and adminis- trators within state departments of transportation and public safety, prosecutors, the judiciary and the general motoring public on the benefits to those groups and motorcyclists to make lane splitting safe for everyone. Using public service announcements and campaigns, traditional broadcast and print media, so- cial media, and other forms of information sharing could assist in highlighting the safety, conges- tion reduction, and other benefits of lane splitting." Well, better get to it, AMA. With less and less bikes sold every year, less new riders hitting the streets and less chances for the AMA to increase its member- ship numbers (and therefore increase profits), it might not be very long before our group is so small there won't be anyone to advocate for. It's time to get with the pro- gram and make lane splitting legal. CN

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