Mark this as a win for those in favor of seeing lane-splitting becoming legal in the United States as the State of Utah has just passed a law that makes it legal to filter lanes in the Beehive State.
Signed into law on March 21st, the law (HB 149) doesn’t provide for full-out lane-splitting in Utah, but it does make it legal for a motorcyclist to filter through traffic when the automobile traffic is stopped and where the speed limit is 45 mph or slower.
This effectively means that lane-splitting won’t be legal for Utah riders on the freeway, and the pragmatic result of the bill is that it will allow motorcyclists to move through stopped urban traffic during rush hour commutes.
The Utah lane-filtering law makes the following provisions:
- The vehicle operator must be on a motorcycle (no autocycles)
- There must be two or more lanes of traffic going in the same direction
- The posted speed limit must be 45 mph or less
- The vehicle(s) being passed during lane-filtering must be stopped
- The motorcyclist may not filter the lanes faster than 15 mph
- And a catch-all that the lane-filtering must be conducted safely
- Without further action from the Utah State Legislature, these provisions will expire on July 1, 2022
The hope from passing HB 149 is that once Utahns see that lane-filtering doesn’t result in the doomsday of crashing motorcyclists, and instead creates benefits on the roadway, that this law can begin to carve out other privileges for motorcycle riders.
The same approach is currently under way in Oregon, where a restrictive law bookends what has been passed in Utah. Instead of pushing for lane-filtering on urban streets, the Beaver State is close to passing a law that would allow lane-splitting on highways during slow traffic situations.
The two examples created by Utah and Oregon hold the promise of showing other jurisdictions that not only can lane-sharing and lane-filtering work in states that aren’t named California, but that instituting these laws at this point in time doesn’t create unsafe motoring conditions.
We have said many, many times before that the issue of lane-sharing and lane-filtering should be priority #1 for both the AMA and MIC, as it would help fill add to the motorcycling population and help sell motorcycling as more than just a recreational pursuit.
That being said, it is good to see the grassroots efforts taking place to make this goal a reality. Keep on pushing on, my lane-splitting friends.