US Congress Passes Motorcyclist-Friendly Laws, Lane-Splitting Still Not in the Bill

Rider in Alaska 1 photo
The US Congress passed a new highway bill, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, a legislative initiative that introduces more motorcycle-friendly provisions, and which is now waiting for President Obama's signature.
According to the AMA, who has been involved with the law-making process for quite some time, this new bill promises to solve some of the issues motorcyclists have confronted for years. Namely, the American Motorcyclists Association hails the ban on funding motorcycle-only checkpoints and the funding that will go into recreational off-road trails.

The AMA says that these issues represent two of the biggest concerns of the Association, and adds that having them regulated in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act must be regarded as a major victory for the riding population.

The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act includes, amongst others, the following motorcycle-favorable provisions, as enumerated by the AMA:
  • Continued funding for the Recreational Trails Program, which provides funding to states for maintaining, improving and expanding off-highway recreational opportunities;
  • A prohibition against using federal funds for discriminatory motorcycle-only checkpoints;
  • Reestablishing a Motorcyclist Advisory Council to coordinate with and counsel the U.S. Department of Transportation administrator on specific infrastructure concerns to motorcyclists;
  • Funding of highway safety grants that include programs to reduce distracted driving, including language that make it easier for states to successfully qualify for and receive the money;
  • Measures to ensure privacy and security in vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure technology; and
  • No expansion of pilot programs to place tolls on the nation's existing interstate highways under the Interstate System Reconstruction & Rehabilitation Pilot Program.

No word on the eternal "lane-splitting war"

Wayne Allard, AMA vice president of government relations, adds that the future for off-road trails development now looks more certain and stable. The administration of the Recreational Trails Program moved from the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) as the latter was eliminated.

Instead, a separate, standalone fund was created within the Federal Highway Administration, so the prospects of the whole matter are now more predictable as they no longer depend on non-self-sustaining programs.

However, no mention about lane-splitting was made, so it looks like the battle will carry on.
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