Splitting Lanes In Nevada

May 2, 2013

All Posts, News

Nevada will probably become the second state to legalize lane splitting. Nevada Assembly Bill 236, sponsored by Representatives Skip Daly, Richard Carrillo and Jame Healey, was approved by the state assembly on April 18th and is now in the Senate Transportation Committee. If the bill is approved by the state senate, it will go into effect on January 1, 2014.

California has always permitted something called “lane sharing,” which allows bikes to “safely” occupy a lane with another motorcycle or car. But the definition of riding safely was always vague. Technically, stopping at a light with your left boot in one lane and your front tire in another was an illegal lane change. Earlier this year, the California Highway Patrol issued a set of guidelines that told bikers how to split lanes legally. Splitting lanes is legal in most countries except the United States.

California’s tolerance for lane sharing dates from the days when virtually every motorcycle was air-cooled – including the ones ridden by the Highway Patrol. Motorcycle patrolman understood that air-cooled engines overheat in freeway traffic jams on hot days. Anyone who has ever been stuck in traffic on the strip in Vegas in the daytime in August understands that the proposed Nevada law is just common sense. It is already legal for cops to split lanes in Nevada. It’s is just not legal for anybody else.

What Will Be Legal

The current version of the Nevada bill would allow motorcycles to split lanes but not mopeds. Bikers would be required to white line “in a manner that is reasonable and proper, having due regard for the traffic, surface and width of the highway, the weather, and other highway conditions.” The law also forbids splitting lanes while moving at more than 30 miles per hour and forbids splitting at more than ten miles an hour above the prevailing speed.

The California guidelines let you split at 40 if the surrounding traffic is only going 30.

Skip Daly, the author of the bill, also thinks lane splitting will reduce the number of bikers who are hit from behind. Daly told The Associated Press, “When you have the ability to do lane splitting, it increases the statistics about the safety of the road.”

The Moron Opposition

The Bill is opposed by people who couldn’t find the start button on a bike if their lives depended on it, the fun house mirror that is Vegas television news – multiple news stories described lane splitting as “bikers zooming in and out of traffic” – and some, but not all, Nevada police.

After the bill passed in the Assembly, a Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper named Loy Hixson was everywhere. He told Las Vagas ABC affiliate KTNV “Drivers are not used to seeing motorcycles. A vehicle may be tempted to make a lane change and that’s where we can see an accident occur.” Then during his standup with CBS affiliate KLAS Hixson declared “The biggest thing is, it’s unsafe. They (meaning us) will take that chance and they will do it because it will help them get to their destination quicker.”

But before the bill passed, Bob Roshak of the Nevada Sheriff’s and Chief’s Association told lawmakers that legalizing lane splitting would “significantly” reduce the number of motorcycles struck from behind. “I think it’s safe if it’s followed in the way the bill is written,” Roshak said. “With the low speeds it makes sense.”




24 Responses to “Splitting Lanes In Nevada”

  1. Phuquehed Says:

    Heh, ‘hot in the middle of August’ is such an understatement. When I was a junior in high school (’79) there, one day during summer I had a job delivering pizza’s. Got to the strip one day, in the middle of August, and all I had was my bought-and-paid-for 1975 Chevy Suburban w/ a 454 (dumbest fucking vehicle for the job, but I got it at a damned good price for a punk kid with not much scratch).

    At a stop light and this old man in his 60’s or maybe 70’s suddenly is at my passenger window (I never used the A/C and haven’t in any vehicle I’ve ever owned) asking me if I’ll give him and his wife a ride to some place (I can’t remember where, but it was maybe only a few blocks away IIRR). I told him it was just down the street as I was in a hurry and didn’t want to take the money he was offering me. He said he and his wife just weren’t prepared for how hot it was and he was starting to get a little scared and couldn’t flag down a taxi for the life of him. I felt sorry for them and told them to get in, ’cause he did look like he was about to fall out once I paid more attention to him. I took them the few blocks and they tried to pay me but I told them to just enjoy and stay inside as much as possible. They couldn’t thank me enough, made me feel good I’d done something good for someone who could’ve gotten hurt pretty badly. Oh…and I didn’t get a tip when I got the pizza delivered because I was so late getting it there, lol.

  2. slycechyx Says:

    Lane splitting, good & bad idea. I’m mixed on this, if traffic is stopped or crawling, then lane splitting is fine, if traffic is moving, in Phx traffic, it could be suicide.

    @phquehd, I never run the a/c in my truck either.

    I love the heat, born & raised in SE AZ. As long as I’m moving, I will ride when the temps are over 110. I’ve worn the leathers in 70 degrees because I was cold. It just barely hit 100 a couple days ago & people are freaking the fuck out, really? Do they not realize in a couple more months, 100 would be considered comfortable?

  3. Paladin Says:

    Loy Hixson is a perfect example as to why law enforcement should be seeking recruits from a higher IQ pool.

    The only thing more embarrassing than ol’ Loy Bozoing all over the place, is the fact that he’s doing it at the request of his Department.

    Long May You Ride (to those that deserve to),


  4. Base Says:

    Lane splitting only legal in California?


  5. Wretched Man Says:

    @ Base
    YUP! I visited last year, thankfully one of my bro’s warned me that your piggies get very excited when we lane split….
    Here in South Africa (in the big cities) bikers have been known to do a “buck” in Freeway traffic jams moving at 30mph…really gets the adrenalin flowing

    much L&R

  6. Docb Says:

    “Two in a lane” and “Lane-splitting” is not Illegal in KY. It’s not legal either. It simply has not been addressed by the Legislature. Probebly won’t be either since it’s not a big city state. Because it hasn’t been legalized it gives law enforcement a lot of leeway in writing tickets. They just use the tried and true wreckless driving charge if they don’t like your patch or the way you’re splitting lanes.

    California might be the only state in which it has been legalized, but that doesn’t mean it’s Illegal in all the other states. It’s not Illegal till they pass a law against it. We all know a cop will find a reason to write you anyway if he doesn’t like your patch or what you just did, and insurance companys and accidents are probably another story too.


  7. Snow Says:

    With the piss poor drivers down my way I don’t I would even if it was legal, fortunately traffic jams are fairly rare.

  8. rookery Says:

    In Paris at the weekend its not uncommon to find packs of 20/30 bikes racing through semi stationary traffic on the main ring road. Most of the machines hurtling through microscopic gaps between trucks at a 100 plus seem to have a small cute girl glued to the back as well. I was with a couple of bro’s from the US, they were totally speechless at what they were seeing. doesn’t work like that in the states apparently…lol

  9. WARTHOG Says:

    This was brought up at my last ABATE meeting to see where the members stood on the issue since Illinois is considering allowing lane splitting. Surprisingly there were a couple people against it, but they were quickly told to STFU. If you don’t want to do it, then don’t do it. It has been passed on to the state that my chapter was behind the bill.




  10. DesertH-D Says:

    The Northern Nevada COC has a paid lobbyist that has been working this issue closely. About a year ago, the COC decided to hire a lobbyist to promote issues of interest to the Confederation in the state legislature, and lane sharing was one of the topics that came up. Others were handlebar height, and of course the helmet law. It was decided that the helmet law was probably a lost cause for now, but lane sharing and handlebar height probably had a reasonable chance of getting through. The committee hearings in both the Assembly and the Senate were very civil and effective. There was little prejudicial expression from the legislators, but there were many honest questions. Our team did an excellent job in addressing the concerns that were raised, and as a result Nevada has a chance to pass a law that could be a model for similar laws around the country.

    The next step will be getting information out to the general public, to educate them about the meaning and basis of the new law. As has been mentioned, there have already been hysterical news reports, which make it sound as if motorcycles will all of a sudden be able to wreak havoc and chaos on the highways… We will have to be diligent to combat the hysteria with facts.

  11. DesertH-D Says:

    Here’s a link to the Nor-Nev COC site, with a schedule for next week’s NCOM convention in Reno. This topic will certainly be discussed.


  12. lurker Says:

    here’s a link to the text of the bill. you can click on the “votes” tab to check the status:


    its all relative to stoplights & low speed stuff. not so much for the freeway action like in the people’s republic. now if the casinos were “taken to the wall” on their alphabet soup induced, “unconstitutionally selective ban on colors” at rallys, this could be a fun place for folks to roll into again.

    respects, lurker

  13. Grumbler Says:

    There’s another aspect to lane-splitting that hasn’t been addressed here.

    Have always lane-splitted to the front or behind first waiting cage at the two-lane metered freeway on-ramps in Kalifornia. The sign says “Two cars per green.” I’d just wait until the light turns green for my lane before rolling the throttle. Motorcycles are exempt from carpool violations, and I’ve never been cited for any metering obligations.

    Those metered on-ramps can be deadly for motorcyclists as I’ve come too close to being rear-ended by distracted cagers while waiting for the light to turn green. Good thing I was at inside of lane as they locked up their brakes and skidded by.

  14. DesertH-D Says:

    Lurker – That’s being addressed too… The NCOM National Convention is being held at the Silver Legacy Hotel / Casino, next week. I think when this event goes off well, it will go a long way towards getting the rest of the properties to re-think their policies.

    And BTW, it’s not just the alphabet soup that’s stirred the pot, although they’ve certainly done their share… But even promoters such as “Road Shows” (Street Vibrations promoter) have put the bite on the properties to have “no colors” policies. The promoters would be only too happy to have nothing but the rubadubs at their event. The local cops then are oh so willing to get in line and push it too, telling the properties they HAVE TO put in a policy, until we’ve called them out on it… Then they say “Oh no, we never told them they had to do that.” Yeah, right, of course you didn’t! That would violate our rights, and you’d never do that, huh? (assholes…)

    But another factor most people haven’t thought of is the INSURANCE companies… Last year at Street Vibes, some of the insurance companies refused coverage unless there was a no colors policy.

    Bottom line is, we have to fight them on all fronts.

  15. just an RFM Says:

    I am not sitting in traffic anywhere. I split lanes whenever I need to. Fuck the law.

  16. Rebel Says:

    Dear RFM,

    I like your style. I usually find it tough to split some of the 30 car long backups on the strip in Vegas.


  17. stroker Says:

    Rebel covered this pretty well in the above article, but if anyone is interested, here’s link to LA Times article from this March:


    We’ll be covering this issue at NCOM next week (among lotsa other stuff). And speaking of that convention, those attending WILL be allowed to fly their colors (so far, at least).

  18. OC VAGO Says:

    Ah yes, wonderful jam packed L.A. fwys. We had to split lanes from 134 all the way down the 5 to the Beach Blvd. exit yesterday. Gotta watch out for the Immigrants in the minivans with the cell phone in one hand and a soda in the other though.

  19. Tim D. Says:

    Boy 2 days ago I wish I could have lane split, 80 fucken degrees and a jam packed fwy with a cop behind me no doubt profileing me with his computer running my plates he stayed about 15ft behind me even when we were stoped, which was most of the time, I seen so many time that I could have lane split, and cool my bike down as wwell as me, the people in cages dont relize that we on our harleys are almost on top of our motors, hot motors, and to top it off 80 to 90 degrees, which is rare in portland oregon, they dont relize we could get heat stroke and maybe crash down the road because we were stuck on the fwy frying and couldnt lane split, then there is the pissed off cage driver after work stuck in traffic and when a bike lane splits because we have to, they get pissed off because we got ahead of them, like we cut in front of them in the store line,I hope they pass the bill in navada, I wish they would consider passing a bill like that here in oregon, maybe we can lane split here in oregon, I dont know, never checked the law on that. Respects Tim D.

  20. Uesque Says:

    I had my doubts at first but the research shows that at the very least it’s no more dangerous than being in stop and go traffic and may even be safer. I interviewed Harry Hurt shortly before he died and he was a huge proponent of lane sharing.

    You just have to get the word out to the idiots in cars that get all worked up because they think you’re cheating. If the motorcycle is out of the way, you’re getting to your destination one car faster.

  21. Erudite Hillbilly Says:

    I can’t imagine not being able to split lanes. The only flack I get is from jealous folks stuck in their cage and the occasional idiot that wants to play drag race off the line after I filter forward. The latter just adds a little rush to the ride.

  22. Austiin Says:

    1) We will have to be diligent to combat the hysteria with facts.

    Love this – Good advice in almost any situation.

    2) My only problems with lane splitting have come when I sorta forgot what motor I was operating and have made the move to split in my (very small, but not quite THAT small) car. It’s just instinct to go for the hole in traffic.


    So – if I cut you off anywhere between San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix or LA – Sorry!!

  23. lurker Says:

    “lane-splitting bill moves on to full Nevada Senate for final vote.”

    “On Friday, the state Senate Transportation Committee unanimously approved an amended version of Assembly Bill 236, which would allow the practice known as “lane splitting”, but only when all adjacent traffic is stopped and the motorcycle doesn’t go faster than 10 mph.”

    as is typically the case it looks like the curly dick suckers watered it down to please the enforcers:


  24. lurker Says:

    Nevada Assembly Bill 236 defeated 5-Y, N-16


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