So close, and yet so far.
Just a few days after a pro-lane sharing bill passed legislative approval with bipartisan support and a healthy majority, Oregon’s governor has shot down the idea. After Senate Bill 574 reached her desk, Gov. Kate Brown responded with a veto.
“I have several concerns with the bill as currently drafted, particularly related to public safety and noncompliance,” Brown said in a letter to the House leader and Senate president, reported NPR. “Based on these concerns, I am returning SB 574 unsigned and disapproved.”
Why did Brown veto the bill? It seems complaints from law enforcement and traffic safety authorities got to her. Officials from Portland, in particular, were unhappy with the bill. So, SB 574 got the axe, despite passing with a very healthy margin of bipartisan support.
It’s got to hurt the moto groups that have been pushing hard for motorcycle lane sharing in Oregon. For the past decade, they’ve been pressuring state politicos to bring in some lanesplitting or filtering accommodations, and this was the closest they’ve come yet. However, it’s worth pointing out that SB 574 was really most valuable as a precedent. It only legalized lane sharing in narrow circumstances, at low speeds and on state highways. Definitely a far cry from anything-goes California! You can get a better explanation of the bill in the video above, from BikePAC of Oregon.
If the bill had passed, Oregon would have joined California, Utah, and Montana as states with legalized lane-sharing. Several other states are considering the issue. Here in Canada, there have been grassroots-level attempts, but neither the CMA nor the MCC has pressed the issue in recent years, that we have noticed.