Historically, the concept of lane splitting has been a regional issue with AMA members and motorcyclists in general. Where it is in widespread practice – California – the AMA endorses the concept and applauds the guidelines recently issued by the California Highway Patrol.
While lane splitting may be of interest in certain states, in many states riders have not identified lane splitting as a priority issue. In these cases, AMA members, clubs, and MROs are focusing their limited resources on ending motorcycle-only checkpoints, fighting raids on rider education funds, and defeating universal helmet laws, to name a few.
The AMA’s practice at the state level has been to support the efforts of motorcyclists that are consistent with AMA positions. Although the AMA Board of Directors has not adopted a formal position statement on lane splitting, the surge of interest in some states following the CHP’s recent issuance of guidelines has given the AMA board cause to revisit this issue. The AMA staff is currently preparing background information to assist the board with its decision.
While the AMA did not advocate openly or work behind the scenes in the case of the Nevada legislation, the AMA agrees with lane-splitting legislation that is not encumbered with conditions that discriminate against motorcyclists, such as rider training or additional insurance requirements.
Regarding the negative perception of motorcyclists, the AMA — since its inception in 1924 — has fought these negative perceptions and has strongly advocated responsible use.
For example, one of the most pervasive negative perceptions held by the general public concerns the issue of excessive motorcycle sound. AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman said as much in a 2009 interview: “The single greatest threat to motorcycling in America — both on- and off-highway, including ATVs — is excessive exhaust sound.” You can read the complete interview here: http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/669/24...gulations.aspx
. The AMA board has also adopted a position statement on excessive sound. You can view it, as well as all of the AMA position statements, at http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/...tionstatements
There is an emerging issue that feeds the public’s negative perception of motorcyclists: “stunting” on public roads, which includes illegal activity by individual riders or groups of riders performing wheelies, stopping traffic, etc. In fact, in states where the practice of lane splitting is not legal, many motorists view lane splitting as stunting. Of note, there are AMA members living in states that do not permit lane splitting that oppose legalizing the practice because they are concerned about reinforcing the negative image of riders held by motorists… some even fear retribution by car and truck drivers. So state-by-state, the legalization of lane splitting faces significant hurdles.