Follow us:

Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

January 31, 2013 at 7:24 PM

Senate committee considers changes in motorcycle laws

A number of bills before the state Senate could relax regulations on Washing­­ton motorcycle riders, allowing them to ride without helmets and sometimes drive through red lights.

Senate Bill 5141 would allow motorcyclists to proceed through red lights, in certain instances. Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, said he filed the bill because many motorcycles aren’t heavy enough to prompt weight-triggered traffic signals. Riders would be able to proceed through red lights if they wait a full signal cycle and the light doesn’t turn green.

Capt. Rob Huss, a spokesman for Washington State Patrol, said his agency opposes the bill because it could cause unnecessary accidents. More than 30 motorcycle advocates attended the hearing to support the bill, including Larry Walker of the Washington Road Riders Association.

“We end up sitting in a traffic signal with absolutely no way to get out of it,” Walker said.

Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, filed House Bill 5143 allowing motorcyclists 18  and over to ride without helmets. Several motorcyclists spoke in favor of the bill, including Confederation of Clubs of Washington spokesman David Devereaux, who said the current law mandating helmets was a “violation of privacy.”

Health-care and traffic-safety advocates also testified, but in opposition to the bill. Dan Overstreet of AAA Washington said passing the bill would be irresponsible, as motorcycles account for 3 percent of vehicles in the state, but 14 percent of accidents. 

Comments | More in Politics Northwest, State Legislature | Topics: Motorcycles, Sen. Curtis King, Sen. Don Benton

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►