Community Motorcycle Safety Utah Legalizes Form of Lane Splitting Called 'Lane Filtering'

Utah Legalizes Form of Lane Splitting Called ‘Lane Filtering’

‘Lane Filtering’ Now Legal in Utah: Second State Behind California

Last month, the Utah House of Representatives voted 54 to 12 to endorse HB149, a bill that would legalize lane splitting – or as its referred to in the bill, “lane filtering.”

This bill went to Senate for consideration, and was passed March 21. Utah is now the second state behind California to allow motorcyclists to “filter” through stopped traffic.

The bill does not allow lane filtering on freeways, and only on roads where the posted speed limit of 45 mph or less. Also, the motorcycle can only filter through stopped traffic at 15 mph or less – different from California’s lane splitting law that allows riders to pass moving traffic.

Utah legalizes motorcycle lane filteringThe bill was sponsored by State Rep. Walt Brooks, R-St. George, whom the Salt Lake Tribune reported was rear-ended twice. The Salt Lake Tribune also reported that between 2011 and 2017, there were 1,288 incidents of a motorcycle getting rear-ended in Utah.

The Utah Lane Filtering Bill HB149 provides the following provisions for a motorcyclist overtaking another vehicle:

  • Overtake vehicle in the same direction
  • Give right of way to overtaking vehicle
  • Be on a roadway with a speed limit of 45 mph or less
  • Overtaken vehicle must be stopped
  • Motorcyclist must travel at 15 mph or less
  • Movement must be made safely

Utah state says this law expires on July 1, 2022. If all goes well, Utah’s next actions will be to allow lane filtering on freeways – such as the California bill does now.

Following the news, on-highway government relations manager for the American Motorcyclist Association Mike Sayre commented: “This is a major victory for motorcyclists in Utah and across the country. As more states acknowledge the benefits of lane splitting, motorcyclists can become safer on the roads, and motorists can find some relief from traffic congestion.”

As of March, the only other state considering lane splitting for motorcycles is Oregon. HB2314 is the opposite of Utah’s, though, and would only approve lane spitting on freeways.

Utah’s lane filtering is much different from the legalized lane splitting in California, which has “guidelines” from the California Highway Patrol that says motorcyclists should not travel faster than 10 mph when passing other traffic that’s moving, and they should not lane split when traffic flow is at 30 mph or faster.

 

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

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