States pursue rules that cover motorcycle lane filtering authorization

February 7, 2024

Keith Goble


The legalization of driving motorcycles between traffic lanes in certain circumstances is a topic that continues to receive attention at statehouses around the country. The practice commonly is referred to as lane splitting or lane filtering.

Advocates argue the maneuver is beneficial because it saves motorcyclists time and fuel, in addition to reducing their risk of getting rear-ended in stop-and-go traffic.

However, some in the trucking industry have raised concerns about motorcyclists attempting the maneuver around large vehicles.

Maneuver permitted in four states

California was the first state to adopt a rule to permit so-called lane splitting with motorcycles.

The 2016 rule allows motorcycles to travel between lanes at speeds up to 10 mph, provided that traffic is moving at 30 mph or less.

Utah followed suit in 2019. The Beehive State law permits motorcycles to move between stopped vehicles on roads with a posted speed limit of 45 mph or less.

Motorcyclists are permitted to travel 15 mph or less on roadways with two adjacent lanes to split travel lanes when traffic is stopped.

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

In 2021, Montana legalized lane filtering. The maneuver is permitted “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 of up to 20 mph. Filtering between lanes of stopped traffic traveling in the same direction is permitted as conditions permit.

Arizona enacted a law to permit lane filtering in 2022.

Motorcyclists in the state traveling on congested highways are allowed to move between vehicles up to an intersection.

The law permits lane filtering to be completed on roadways with two lanes of traffic in the same direction with a speed limit of up to 45 mph. Vehicles must be at a complete stop.

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

There are about a dozen states where lane filtering is prohibited.

According to an Oregon Legislature analysis, the list includes Arkansas, Delaware, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia.

At the start of 2024, the topic is receiving attention at multiple statehouses.


In Colorado, the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 7, to discuss legislation that would legalize lane filtering.

The bill, SB79, would authorize a motorcycle to pass another vehicle in the same lane if traffic is stopped and the motorcycle is moving at 20 mph or less.

The maneuver would be forbidden on the right shoulder or in a lane of traffic moving in the opposite direction.


Two Oklahoma House bills would legalize lane filtering.

The identical bills would authorize the maneuver when traffic traveling in the same lane is stopped.

Overtaking and passing stopped traffic would be permitted as long as the motorcycle does not exceed 10 mph.

HB3582 and HB3979 await assignment to the committee in the session that started this week.


A Missouri House bill would put into statute that lane filtering is allowed under certain circumstances. The rule would prohibit lane splitting.

HB2032 defines lane filtering as driving a motorcycle between rows of stopped or slow-moving vehicles traveling in the same direction on divided or undivided roadways.

Lane splitting is defined as driving a motorcycle between rows of fast-moving vehicles traveling in the same direction on divided or undivided roadways.

Lane filtering would be permitted when the motorcycle is traveling up to 10 mph over the speed of traffic and not more than 25 mph.

Any vehicle operator who intentionally impedes or attempts to prevent a motorcyclist from performing the maneuver could be ticketed.

Rhode Island

One Rhode Island bill would permit motorcyclists to move between lanes of traffic moving in the same direction when the vehicle being passed is stopped or moving at a speed up to 10 mph.

S2209 would permit motorcyclists to complete the pass at no more than 10 mph above the speed of traffic.

Additionally, the posted speed on the highway must be above 50 mph to perform the maneuver.

If approved, the rule would have a Jan. 28, 2025 sunset date.

The bill is in the Senate Judiciary Committee.


Utah already permits lane filtering.

The House Transportation Committee voted unanimously to advance a bill that clarifies what is permissible when performing the maneuver.

Rep. Stephanie Gricius, R-Salt Lake City, said the rule revision is requested by motorcyclists to clear up where the maneuver is permissible.

HB311 states that lane filtering is permitted on roadways divided into two or more adjacent traffic lanes in the same direction of travel. Additionally, the maneuver would be authorized on an off-ramp of a freeway or other limited access highway.

Lane filtering would be prohibited on an on-ramp of a freeway or other limited-access highway.

The bill awaits a final House floor vote. If approved, it would move to the Senate. LL

More Land Line coverage of state news is available.