Arizona lane filtering law in effect

September 28, 2022

Keith Goble

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A new law now in effect in Arizona addresses lane filtering maneuvers.

As of Sept. 24, motorcyclists in the state traveling on congested highways are allowed to move between vehicles up to an intersection.

Gov. Doug Ducey signed the rule into law earlier this year. The new law permits lane filtering to be completed on roadways with two lanes of traffic in the same direction with a speed limit up to 45 mph. Vehicles must be at a complete stop.

Additionally, motorcycles could only travel up to 15 mph to complete the maneuver.

Advocates say that lane filtering, or lane splitting, is beneficial because it saves motorcyclists time and fuel. They say the practice also helps many motorcycles avoid overheating while sitting in traffic.

Some people in the trucking industry have raised concerns about motorcyclists attempting the maneuver around large vehicles.

Arizona is the fourth state to act to permit motorcyclists to use lane filtering to bypass congestion.

Utah was the second state to adopt a related rule.

State law permits motorcycles to move between stopped vehicles on roads with a posted speed limit of 45 mph or less.

The 3-year-old law allows motorcycles traveling 15 mph or less on roadways with two adjacent lanes to split travel lanes when traffic is stopped.

The “lane filtering” rule had a sunset date of July 1, 2022. Gov. Spencer Cox signed a bill into law this spring to extend the sunset date five years to July 2027.

The extension was recommended by the Utah Department of Public Safety to gather more data.

Rep. Walt Brooks, R-St. George, told legislators that state data shows that related vehicle accidents and deaths have decreased since the rule took effect, but the extension is necessary to get better data about how the rule is working.

The rule also permits motorcyclists to move to the front of a traffic light. Motorcyclists can only move to the front when vehicles are stopped.

Two more states permit the maneuver

In 2016, California became the first state to adopt a rule to permit so-called lane splitting with motorcycles.

Previously, state law neither permitted nor forbade the practice of riding motorcycles between rows of stopped or slowed traffic.

The Golden State’s rule allows motorcycles to travel between lanes at speeds up to 10 mph, provided that traffic is moving at 30 mph or less.

The California Highway Patrol offers tips for motorcyclists on how to safely perform the maneuver.

Montana

A Montana law enacted one year ago legalized lane filtering when “on a road with lanes wide enough to pass safely.”

Two-wheeled motorcycles are permitted to overtake stopped or slow-moving traffic at a speed up to 20 mph. Filtering between lanes of stopped traffic traveling in the same direction is permitted as conditions permit. LL

More Land Line coverage of state news is available.

Lucas Oil

Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.