Utah legalizes lanesplitting

Utah has become the third state to legalize some form of motorcycle lanesplitting.

In January, Utah’s state government started examining House Bill 149, a proposal to allow lanesplitting. It’s been working its way through government ever since, and late last week, the state governor signed it into law.

So what exactly does the bill permit? For now, Utah residents will be allowed to ride motorcycles between cars under a specific set of conditions. Motorcyclists can ride between cars on roads with a speed limit of 45 mph or less, with at least two lanes in one direction. Motorcyclists must move at 15 mph or less while riding between cars. And, they are only supposed to pass stopped cars, not moving vehicles.

Utah’s bill calls this practice “lane filtering.”

Utah also looked at a similar bill in 2017, which did not pass. Currently, Oregon, Maryland and Connecticut are looking at similar legislation.

At this point, some sort of lanesplitting or filtering is now legal in three states—Hawaii, California and Utah. In California, despite the best efforts of legislators, there aren’t any real rules around the practice. The California Highway Patrol had published guidelines on its website, but has since removed them.

Hawaii legalized a very watered-down form of filtering last summer, which allows riders to use the shoulder to move forward in congested traffic, bypassing cars. But, Hawaii only allows motorcyclists to do so on roads that are at least two lanes wide, with a paved shoulder in good repair.

Here in Canada, the Canadian Motorcycle Association is supposed to be polling its riders for opinions on the practice, to develop a policy, and the city of Toronto is actually looking at the idea of a pilot project examining some sort of lane filtering legalization—more on that here.

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