Motorcycles that weave across traffic traveling in the same direction as them are said to be lane-splitting. Riders who are riding while the traffic around them is also moving are referred to as lane splitting in a technical sense. Another technique known as “filtering” occurs when cars are stopped while motorcyclists are still traveling.
People typically combine motorcycle lane splitting and filtering into a single category when describing their experiences with lane splitting. Actually, they are comparable; if traffic slows down while you are gently navigating through it, it doesn’t make sense to stop and weave back into a lane; thus, you may alternate between “splitting” and “filtering” depending on other drivers’ actions and the state of the road.
However, whether you’re in front of or behind a distracted driver, staying in the lane of (much heavier) traffic is riskier than it is to diverge ahead—hence the initial Splitting.
Is Lane Splitting Legal?
Five states have some form of lane sharing permitted as of October 2022. State-by-state differences affect the circumstances in which a motorbike rider may filter between cars.
Motorcycle lane splitting or filtering is permitted in the following states under specific circumstances:
California is the only state that has legalized motorcycle lane splitting thus far.
The following conditions must be met for lane filtering to be legal in Utah:
- Traffic is moving in the same direction in two lanes.
- the halting of traffic (typically at a stoplight or in heavy traffic)
- The maximum allowed speed is 45 mph.
- The motorcyclist is moving at a maximum speed of 15 mph.
Motorcyclists are allowed to pass stopped or slow-moving automobiles in Montana if they are going at most 20 mph and the traffic situation warrants it. Under the following circumstances, cyclists in Arizona may filter between automobiles:
- The halting of traffic
- The rider is not going any faster than 15 mph even though the speed limit is 45 mph or less.
On roadways with at least two lanes of traffic, motorcycle riders in Hawaii are permitted to pass stopped traffic on the side of the road. Motorcyclists may not travel between two lanes in Hawaii since the state’s highways are frequently narrow. It is the motorcyclist’s obligation to make sure the maneuver can be performed safely before riding the white line in all states.
State lane-splitting laws absent
It is theoretically lawful in 11 states because there are no regulations that forbid lane splitting. However, you could still receive a ticket for improper lane changes or dangerous driving, especially if you get into an accident. States without motorcycle lane splitting or filtering regulations include:
Additionally, lacking lane-splitting legislation are Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
Thirty-four states, including New York and Florida, expressly forbid any form of lane sharing. To legalize the practice, a few of these states—including Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Oregon, to mention a few—are considering or have contemplated passing legislation.
Benefits of Lane Splitting
Lane splitting is regarded as practical and advantageous since it can ease traffic congestion and increase the number of vehicles that can use already-existing highways and roads.
Traffic jams are never nice, but lane splitting can reduce pollution from all the cars on the road and keep motorcycle riders safe.
Difference between – Lane Filtering, Lane Sharing, and Lane Splitting
The practice of navigating between slower-moving or stopped-up traffic is known as lane filtering. This is a widespread practice throughout Asia and certain regions of Europe.
Although the legality of lane sharing varies, most Americans have likely witnessed it in action. A lane will be shared by two or more motorcycles in either stationary or moving traffic. They can either ride side by side or in a staggered fashion.
A rider who is swerving between flowing traffic at a faster speed is said to be lane splitting or “white lining.” The legalization of this varies greatly between states.
Although the terms “lane splitting” and “lane filtering” are sometimes used interchangeably, there is actually a significant distinction between the two, especially given that lane splitting is only officially permitted in one state.
Lane splitting enables motorbikes to share lanes with traffic traveling at normal speeds, while lane filtering typically refers to the technique of riding between stopped or slow-moving vehicles.
Do’s and Don’ts of Lane Splitting
This section will begin with the statement that we strongly urge you to always obey the traffic laws in your State.
AVOID causing drivers to overreact. They will only be able to notice something flash past in their peripheral vision if you ride too quickly.
DO continue driving in low-rpm gear. A distracted motorist may swerve as a result of one of these acts.
Do not prepare physically for cycling in traffic without also preparing emotionally. Yes, you should ride with a good mental attitude, but your survival instinct should also be on high alert.
DO be cautious of splitting while it’s moist. When it rains, it is less grippy to ride on painted lines.
DON’T believe that the law shields you from unsafe riding. Under some conditions, motorcycle lane splitting is allowed by bill AB-51/21658.1, and it is against the law for drivers to block or obstruct motorcyclists under CVC 22400. However, despite these facts, it is still appropriate to show basic decency to other drivers when doing the maneuver.
Be aware of lumps, bumps, and uneven terrain, as they can affect how your bike handles.
AVOID lane sharing at night or in low light. When sharing lanes at night, you run the risk of fooling divers into believing you have four wheels instead of two.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Lane Splitting
Is Lane Splitting Legal in the US?
California is the only state that has legalized lane splitting thus far.
How Does Lane Splitting Work?
The act of riding a motorcycle between two lanes of clearly marked traffic moving in the same direction is known as “lane splitting.
Why should Lane Splitting be illegal?
Motorists may have trouble spotting motorbike riders who are lane-splitting. This makes collisions more likely. Additionally, bikers themselves may be at danger if they split lanes.