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What is Lane Splitting?

Lane splitting (or filtering) is the practice of motorcycles driving in between lanes of traffic when the traffic is stopped. A common practice across Europe and Asia, in the US it is only legal in a limited number of states.

States with a Craig Swapp & Associates Office

Utah – Lane splitting or lane filtering in Utah became legal very recently, May of 2019. This new lane splitting law means that motorcycles can drive in between lanes of traffic when:

  • The speed limit on the road is 45 mph or less, and never on freeways.
  • The road has 2 or more adjacent traffic lanes in the same direction of travel
  • There are stopped vehicles (a red light, stop sign, etc.)
  • Motorcycles must keep their speed at 15 mph or lower when lane filtering
  • The movement can be made safely 

Idaho – Lane splitting or filtering is illegal in Idaho.

Washington – Lane splitting or filtering is illegal in Washington.

Legality in the Other States

California  – Lane splitting or filtering is legal and there are few restrictions or guidelines. The State of California Department of Motor Vehicles simply warns that lane splitting motorcycles should:

  • Watch their speed
  • Assume people in cars do not see you
  • Avoid blind spots in other vehicles, particularly large trucks

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, 80% of motorcyclists lane split on the freeway.

Lane splitting or lane filtering is currently illegal in every state except for Utah and California. Other states are expected to pass lane splitting laws in the future.

Lane Splitting Controversies

In the California Office of Traffic Safety’s 2014 study, 60% of drivers disapproved of lane splitting. More than half of those who disapproved said it was because they felt lane splitting was unsafe. Many drivers in Utah and California erroneously believe lane splitting is illegal. Confrontations about lane splitting between drivers and motorcyclists have led to road rage incidents.

On the other hand lane splitting decreases traffic congestion. Supporters of lane-splitting argue it is safer for motorcyclists who can avoid being rear-ended by distracted drivers in stop-and-go traffic. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration explains that the practice is common in many other countries and is worthy of further study because it offers a means of reducing congestion in addition to possible safety benefits.

An Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver you deserve fair and full compensation. Oftentimes insurance companies are quick to place blame, unfairly on the motorcyclist. At Craig Swapp & Associates our experienced attorneys take pride in fighting for the rights of motorcyclists. On your behalf we’ll pursue fair compensation for:

  • The repair or replacement of your motorcycle
  • All medical bills associated with the accident
  • General pain and suffering
  • A loss of quality of life
  • Lost wages due to time missed from work
  • Much more depending on the specifics of your case

Call us today at 1-800-404-9000 to set up a free consultation with one of our specialists, or tell us this story by filling out the online form at the bottom of this page.

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