Is Lane Splitting for Motorcycles Ever Legal in Maine?
I love the idea of motorcycles.
I really do. I think they're cool AF. But... I'm 1000% terrified of them. My guess is that the best possible reason not to ride one, is if you're constantly in a terrified state of crashing. Murphy's Law states that if I'm that scared of something, I would inevitably face that terror in the real world if I decided to tempt fate.
Or worse, I'd love riding so much, I'd turn into a cocky jerk about it, and probably ride like a maniac everywhere I go. I have enough of that trouble when I'm just driving a car sometimes. But motorcycles require much more attention to the road around them. But there's one practice we all see sometimes that's allegedly safer for riders, yet illegal almost everywhere in America, including Maine.
What is 'lane splitting'?
Maybe you've been in fairly heavy traffic, and you've seen a motorcycle weaving in between cars by riding down the center line, while traffic is moving. This is lane splitting. This can easily be confused with lane filtering, which is when bikes do the same thing, but traffic is not moving. That's filtering.
Some believe lane splitting is safer for motorcycles because it spares them from being overlooked in traffic. Cars in front or behind offer an additional variable that cyclists can't totally control. Some riders believe that staying in the flow of traffic is a more dangerous situation than moving around in it. Especially in slow moving traffic.
Is it ever legal to do in Maine?
While this is sort of legal in some twelve states, Maine expressly forbids it. In Title 29-A, it makes it very clear that you can't do this. That's not to say it never happens, but a police officer could definitely pull you over for doing so. One could also interpret the law to say that filtering is also illegal. It's certainly a jerk move.
And that's the thing, Sometimes it may very well be true that it's safer for the biker to engage in these activities. But in a lot of cases, it's an act of someone being entitled and/or disrespectful, which is probably why it's illegal. Regardless, in Maine it's a pretty unadvisable to do.