Lane Splitting Laws Across America

Lane Splitting Laws Across America

In March 2021, Montana became the third state of the United States to allow motorcyclists to weave through traffic, also known as lane filtering, and to join California and Utah to do so through the legislation passed by the Senate.

The law is direct and transparent and allows those travelling on two wheels to take more of their means of transport when the traffic decreases.

This Montana law, as in other states, is designed to speed up traffic. At the same time, it promotes the use of the motorcycle and makes it seem much more efficient.

Still, there are some finer points to establish division laws. For example, in most of the places that allow to divide the lane, to advance the vehicles that stop or move slowly cannot be done faster than 30 mph. This applies in roads with lanes wide enough to carry out the manoeuvre safely and in relation to vehicles that travel in the same direction. And there are other details to notice when the lane is divided elsewhere.

So how is the division of paths defined throughout America, and how do the laws concerning this practice differ depending on where it goes? Let’s look closer.

Lane splitting on North American highway

Via Pew Trusts.

Why should I import someone?

Lane splittingis when a motorcycle rider moves next to vehicles that have stopped or are moving slowly, typically less than 30 kilometers per hour. This speed limit exists because the lane that divides at high speeds is dangerous and increases the risk of an accident.

Motorcycles should only use this technique when there is enough space on both sides. This helps prevent collisions with other vehicles and allows pilots to safely merge into traffic flow.

Of course, the lane division has numerous risks, and if you enter an accident while splitting, you may have legal implications (see more:opinion of a lawyer on the broken lane).

What States allow to divide the lane?

Several bills have passed in several states of America to regulate the lane division. However, the following are the only states in the United States that have formally legalized this technique:


California was one of the first states to embrace the supply of lanes even before it was legal; motorists and motorcyclists approved of practice for years. Finally, in 2016, he was declared legal throughout the state through the Assembly Bill No. 51. As a result, California was the first state in the United States to make the lane officially divided legal.


In March 2019, following California’s example, Utah formally became the second state in the United States to legalize the filter lane through the HB 149 law. Although not as permissive as California’s lane division laws, this still helps motorcyclists avoid being followed on the road.


In Montana, motorcyclists crossing the road no longer need to wait in traffic. Senate Bill 9 adopted in March 2021 is in force. As a result, Montana became the third state of the United States to allow motorcyclists to divide the lanes and work through traffic, joining California and Utah.

Lane splitting on busy North American roadLane splitting on busy North American road

Via Ride Apart.

What should you know as a driver about Lane Splitting?

Motorcycles should never use filter in situations where there is not enough space. They should also be careful with the filtering of lanes in areas with pedestrians and cyclists, such as commercial districts, commercial areas or stops close to public transport. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen.

As a driver, you should be more vigilant for motorcyclists in the states where the division of lanes is allowed (and even in other places, as some drivers occasionally divide lanes illegally). If you are driving a truck or another large vehicle with more ground cleaning, you should be extra careful to check your blind spots for bikers while in transit, as motorcycles can be hard to detect.

Be careful to open the doors of your vehicle in traffic too. Always check the area around for bikers before leaving the vehicle for any reason, even when parked on the side of the road, as some riders can try to filter through the parking lane.

lane filtering on French roadslane filtering on French roads

Via French motorcycle.

Rail filter in other parts of the world

Trailer practices and laws vary from country to country. For example, France has just banned the lane from dividing after a 5-year pilot test in Paris, Bordeaux and Lyon from February 1, 2016 to January 31, 2021.

The measure is based on the discouraging results of indicators produced during this period, where accidents increased by 12 per cent. In response, they declared this manoeuvre illegal, and the country’s motorcyclists were unhappy.

As of February 2021, those who ride on two wheels in France have not been allowed to filter through the traffic. The trapped by cutting in front of the traffic will have 3 points applied to your license and a fine of 130 euros. Beyond the amount of the fine, committing this crime repeatedly may invalidate your license.

In South America, Brazil is the only country we know—there may be more—where the law allows us to filter or separate the lane. In fact, in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the habit of motorcyclists to filter through the endless queues of virtually stopped cars is a common vision.

Motorcycle accident on public roadMotorcycle accident on public road

Via San Antonio Joint Base.

The UK is another country where this manoeuvre is totally legal. It is not only permissible to work between cars up to a speed of 15 mph, but it is also normalized.

For example, on a two-way street or avenue, pilots often use the opposite lane to take cars when they stop at a traffic light and move to the front just before the pedestrian route.

POV of motorcyclist filtering lanesPOV of motorcyclist filtering lanes

Via Motoricista Online.

These are not isolated countries. On the contrary, the list of nations that allow this practice is quite extensive: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands (where even in the case of an accident, case law assigns responsibility to the car), New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Poland (where the vehicles are most diffused on the routes so that in addition to those that come to the front can be safely lifted), Portugal, Qatar, Singapore, Spain, South Africa

As with many other road practices, it is essential to know the laws in every state, both of them and not, and to respect the rules that promote the safety of motorcyclists, drivers and pedestrians.

The post Lane Splitting Laws Across America first. GCBC.


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