Lane-splitting on Motorcycles — Legal or Illegal in Washington State?

People differ on whether lane splitting on motorcycles should be legal or not, but this technique — as with, for example, permitting “right turns on red” at traffic lights — has more to do with the convenience of drivers or riders than it does with best safety standards. In any event, whatever your stance on the subject, it is NOT legal in Washington State.

Photo of two motorcyclists that are 'lane-splitting' on a highway by being between larger vehicles in adjoining lanes.
Two of the motorcyclists in this photo are participating ‘lane-splitting’ by being sandwiched between larger vehicles in adjoining  lanes — the orange bike and the one furthest from the camera.  Car and truck drivers are just as responsible for avoiding this situation as are the bike riders. This photo was taken in Greece but the principle is the same everywhere. Copyright image.


The WA law specifically states that no person shall operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles; nor can a motorcycle overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken.

You can read more about the legal situation regarding lane-splitting in Washington State, on the WSP Inside-Out blog.

Author: EddieWren

Eddie Wren is the CEO and Chief Instructor at Advanced Drivers of North America. His driver safety background is given at: http://www.advanceddrivers.com/ceochief-instructors-resumecvbio/

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