Lane Splitting & Filtering Is Legal in the Following States

Lane Splitting & Filtering Is Legal in the Following States

Roadways are rife with hazards for motorcycle riders, including drivers who don’t see them or who are simply driving while distracted. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a recent year saw over 82,000 riders injured and nearly 6,000 killed in motorcycle accidents.

What you might not know is that certain practices could reduce some of the most common hazards for motorcyclists, not to mention severe injuries and death. How do lane splitting and filtering factor in, and what states have legalized these practices?

What Are Lane Splitting and Filtering?

Lane splitting and lane filtering are two types of lane sharing practiced by motorcyclists when moving through congested traffic. Both involve riding the line between lanes of traffic on multi-lane roadways when cars in those lanes slow or stop, typically paired with accelerating to pass between slower-moving automobiles.

The difference is that lane splitting refers to this practice within limited-access freeway settings. In contrast, lane filtering typically applies to city streets featuring intersections, signs, and signals that bring traffic to a standstill.

Lane splitting often allows riders to hold a steady speed while continuing to move forward through traffic. Filtering enables riders to weave to the front of the line of traffic at a stoplight and then get out ahead when the light turns green.

Which States Allow Lane Splitting and Filtering?

In 2016, California became the first state to legalize lane splitting and filtering, with the law going into effect in January 2017. At the time, the practice was already widely accepted, with the law serving to make it official. Since then, a handful of other states have passed legislation regarding lane filtering, in some cases with restrictions.

This practice is now legal in:

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Hawaii
  • Montana
  • Utah

A few states are also considering legislation regarding lane splitting or filtering, including Missouri, Oregon, and Tennessee. In addition, several states view lane sharing by motorcycle riders as neither legal nor illegal, leaving it up to the discretion of law enforcement.

These states include:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • West Virginia

To date, California remains the only state that specifically allows lane splitting.

Safety Concerns Associated With Lane Filtering and Splitting

Lanes on the highway are designed to guide and direct motorists, ostensibly to keep them from crashing into one another. In many states, lane splitting and filtering are only illegal because there are no laws specifically permitting them.

States that allow these activities cite benefits such as the following:

  • Reduced instances of rear-ending motorcyclists in dangerous traffic conditions
  • Better visibility and potential reaction time for riders
  • Reduced traffic congestion and fuel consumption

Studies have also shown that lane splitting reduces the risks of riders suffering head and torso injuries, as well as fatalities. Still, lane splitting and filtering may come with inherent risks of their own. For example, riding between cars leaves less time to react if drivers swerve or change lanes, often unaware of a rider behind or next to them.

This leads to an increase in riders rear-ending cars. However, even when car accidents of this nature do occur, damages appear to be less severe and deadly for the motorcycle riders involved.

Lane Splitting and Filtering Are Gaining Ground

Laws concerning road-sharing practices differ by state. However, awareness and attitudes have changed significantly over the last decade, with more beginning to pass and consider laws that legalize lane splitting or filtering in some form. It’s a trend that seems to be gaining momentum.

Contact the Texas Motorcycle Accident Lawyers of The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd Personal Injury Lawyers in Friendswood, TX for Help Today

Please contact an experienced a motorcycle accident lawyer at The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd Personal Injury Lawyers to get a free initial consultation today. We can also help you recover as much compensation as possible; keep in mind the insurance company does not have your best interests in mind.

We have offices in Friendswood and Galveston, Texas. Call us at (281) 519-3849.

The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd Personal Injury Lawyers – Galveston
2101 Mechanic St. Suite 253
Galveston, TX 77550

The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd Personal Injury Lawyers – Friendswood
312 S. Friendswood Dr.
Friendswood, TX 77546