Why are motorcycles allowed in HOV lanes?

The in basket: Shirley Sweetland said she was heading past the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton on Highway 304 the other day heading toward Gorst when a motorcycle passed her in the HOV lane with only just the driver aboard. 

“Can motorcycles go in that lane?” she asked.

The out basket: Yes, motorcyclists can legally use any HOV lane whether they are alone or have someone riding with them. Federal law makes it so on any highway for which federal money was used, which I imagine includes all highways in all states with enough traffic to warrant HOV lanes. 

Why this is true is the subject of some discussion on the Web, but it appears to be rooted in the belief that motorcyclists are safer if they don’t have to do a lot of start-and-stop driving.

I think there may even be signs along the Highway 304 HOV lanes reading, “Motorcycles OK.”

4 thoughts on “Why are motorcycles allowed in HOV lanes?

  1. Motorcycles in HOV lanes:

    1. Because you have NEVER waited in traffic behind motorcycles clogging up the roadway.
    2. Because motorcycles get twice the MPG of cars (and consequently reduced pollution).
    3. Because motorcycles don’t take up all the downtown parking.
    4. Because motorcycle riders are generally better drivers (because they have to be). yeah, I know about the punks doing wheelies on the freeway, and I am not counting them, although tht still takes skill.
    5. Because if half the cars were relpaced by motorcycles wed al lbe better off.

  2. Glad the question was asked. I must’ve been in the same traffic as Shirley when I saw the motorcycle rider in the HOV lane. Glad I saw the same question I had answered!

  3. Have you ever seen a motorcyclist talking on the phone,texting,reading,eating,changing a CD,putting on make up,yelling or playing with children in the back seat,etc…?
    Truth is motorcyclists pay attention to the task at hand.
    -better MPG’s
    -less clutter in our city streets
    -also being built with cleaner emmissions

  4. “Have you ever seen a motorcyclist talking on the phone,texting,reading,eating,changing a CD,putting on make up,yelling or playing with children in the back seat,etc…?”

    No, but I have seen them playing with thier GPS, popping wheelies, passing at a high rate of speed on the shoulder of the road, passing cars at high rates of speed, eating a sandwhich, etc, etc.

    Oh, wait, they are “green” so they must be angels?

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