Utah Legalizes “Lane Filtering”

March 27, 2019

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Utah Legalizes "Lane Filtering"

Last week, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed into law a bill that will allow very limited “lane filtering” for motorcyclists on Utah roads.

The new law allows motorcyclists to ride between lines of cars under certain rigid conditions: The cars must be stopped; the roads must have a posted speed limit of 45 miles per hour or less; and the motorcycle cannot exceed a speed of 15 miles per hour or more. The new law takes effect on May 14 and it specifically describes the maneuver as “lane filtering” rather than “lane splitting” or “lane sharing.”

The law is intended to reduce the number of accidents in which a motorcycle is struck from the rear by a moving automobile while the bike is stopped in a traffic jam. According to Utah Highway Patrol spokesman Sergeant Nick Street, 1200 motorcyclist were rear-ended in Utah from 2011 to 2017.

California

The new Utah law differs radically from the rules in California, the only other state that allows motorcycles to drive between lines of cars on multi-lane roads.

California law has been influenced by year-long riding in the southern part of the state and the practical experience of its motorcycle patrolmen. California has always allowed “lane sharing,” which allows motorcyclist to share a lane with another vehicle. California motorcyclists can legally ride side by side. You can see patrolman Jon and Ponch doing it in the video below from the late 1970s television series CHiPs.

Because law enforcement is often capricious everywhere, the California Highway Patrol published a set of “Lane Splitting General Guidelines” in 2012. The guidelines assured bikers they would not be ticketed if they did not split at more than 10 miles an hour faster than other traffic, did not split going faster than 40 miles per hour, only split in the far left lanes and used “reasonable care.”

Regrettably, a professional gadfly named Kenneth Mandler had nothing better to do than to sue the CHP for publishing an “underground regulation.” The California legislature eventually passed a bill that allows a motorcyclist to split lanes if he was going no faster than 50 and no more than 15 miles an hour faster than the traffic in the lanes he is splitting.

AMA

The new Utah law falls far short of that. It is set to expire on July 1, 2022.

The American Motorcyclist Association praised the lane filtering law. In a written statement Mike Sayre, on-highway government relations manager for the AMA, said “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.”

The statement continued, “The AMA endorses lane splitting, given the long-term success in California and the University of California study by Berkeley researchers showing that it enhances motorcycle safety. And the AMA will assist groups and individuals working to bring legal lane splitting and/or filtering to their state.”

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13 Responses to “Utah Legalizes “Lane Filtering””

  1. Knucklehead Says:

    That .05 BAC in Utah is actually an improvement. It was zero tolerance. Good Mormon kids were getting DIIs from using mouthwash. No shit. So now a man can be fresh when courting sister wives

  2. david Says:

    @ commensense Maybe the chick also had a vibrator between her legs.

  3. white witch Says:

    @TxBiker, If Texas is worse than Florida then I feel for ya.

    I have lived in 8 states and rode a bike all over the country and I have never seen anything like Florida. Driving here is a competition sport. If the driver of the cage is not drunk then no charges will be filed. It is the old ” i did not see him” rule here in the sunshine state. Pedestrians and bikers are run over here on a daily basis. They will run you over on purpose here.

    ride free
    white free

  4. oldskewl Says:

    roame Says:
    March 29, 2019 at 5:14 am
    Utah passed a .05 BAC = DUI. That could be coming to your state too. Two beers and you could be over the limit.

    Fuck me! I wake up with a .5 so I’ll never go to Utah again.

  5. roame Says:

    Utah passed a .05 BAC = DUI. That could be coming to your state too. Two beers and you could be over the limit.

  6. P Says:

    Also hard to be seen on a bike if youre going 40+ when traffic is stopped.

  7. Johnny Rotten Says:

    @TxBiker

    here in floriduh…
    they dont jus try and hit you…
    they do…
    and then jus drive off…
    huh…
    i didnt feel or hear nuthin…

    if i had a tenth of a cent fer every time i shoulda had a camera go pro gimmick or whatever runnin as i almost get dirtnapped……
    id be a gazillionaire and had made the best horror movie ever..
    its rough out there everywhere..
    for those who do every day…
    be safe..

    respects

    Johnny

  8. commensense Says:

    To stoker I agree. 15 years ago when I started riding full time I found myself stuck in traffic. I decided to split lanes from a dead stop. Without looking over my back shoulder I started to pull into the center lane and a street bike came flying by me at 50 mph. My bad almost caused an accident. That will never happen again. Another time I was on a road with 2 lanes going the same way. As I go to pass this old beat up piece of shit Toyota it drifts into my lane and I back off. As I go by the 2nd time she drifts over again and I just throttle up and go by her. We end up at red light and this chick was driving with her knees, smoking a cigarette and scratching a lotto ticket. I know we all got a story but I believe street bike riders make better car drivers because we are aware.

  9. jrino Says:

    Did not go anywhere in Colorado this year,Legislature would not even take it up on suggestion. State patrol swashed it.

  10. TX_Biker Says:

    @ White Witch, Florida is bad, Texas is the worst. They try to hit you here.

  11. white witch Says:

    I have been splitting lanes in socal for over 30 years. Only major incident was getting hit from behind by another bike!! I would not do it down here in Fla. because Florida has the worst drivers in the country. Cali drivers are used to bikes splitting lanes, I would not trust the drivers in other states to be ready or accepting of lane splitting as cali is.

    ride free
    white witch

  12. Cavey Says:

    I just hope this is a stepping stone for true lane splitting since the real headache is on the major roads with higher speed limits.

  13. stroker Says:

    The last video clip Rebel gives us, a compilation of “lane splitting” points out the arrogance, and blithe stupidity of some riders when it comes to interacting with traffic. We are NOT invincible! We ARE invisible to many cage drivers, ESPECIALLY when we come up on them faster than their attention span. Riders should always remember, people in cages don’t look for us as it is. What makes anyone on a motorcycle think they “own the road?” and people should somehow just KNOW we’re there?!
    I try to ride like nobody’s looking. I watch eyes when they’re coming towards me. I watch 5 or more cars ahead on both sides when splitting. People in cars and trucks don’t typically look behind them when crawling along in a traffic jam…..how any rider can expect people to just somehow “SEE” them when they’re splitting at a faster than safe pace, is beyond me. And I see it all the time! Young riders especially think all those vehicles idling along in a traffic scrum are somehow NOT going to change lanes for no reason at all….they somehow will NOT throw a milkshake out the window at you….or open their door, or any number of dumb pissy things that people do if the DO see us coming!
    I think splitting (ok, “sharing”) lanes can be done, if we’re not assholes or idiots about it. I try to go no more than 5 or 10 mph faster, and will slow even further if traffic is slowing in front of me….only when traffic begins to accelerate again do I give it some more throttle.
    But I’ve been clipped, hit, spit at….and I don’t look to aggravate drivers anymore than I have to these days. They’re already in a shitty mood cause they’re stuck in traffic….I’ll even give a little wave to drivers who notice me coming, and move over a bit.
    Dangerous riding….but we all do it…..just a little common sense about HOW to do it, helps.

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