As of the writing of this article, California is the only state in the country that has fully legalized and authorized motorcyclists to split lanes. For those out of the loop, this allows motorcycle riders to ride between lanes of traffic. This is often used as a means for riders to more easily traverse and get around traffic and backups.
Utah and Hawaii have also introduced laws that grant motorcycle riders special privileges during high traffic situations allowing them to filter between lanes or pass on the shoulder to get around the backups. However, these states still enforce no lane splitting during times where it is deemed unnecessary (i.e., when traffic is moving at a reasonable pace).
Recently, two more states have seen their legislative bodies introduce bills to make lane splitting legal on their roadways. The Arizona House of Representatives has introduced a bill that would allow riders to split lanes on roadways with more than one lane in a given direction and a speed limit of 45 mph or less and only when traffic is moving at less than 15 mph. There are clearly a great deal of exceptions to this bill, but this is likely done in an effort to make it more acceptable to all parties.
Virginia has recently seen a similar bill introduced to their own House of Representatives that would allow riders to lane split on roads with more than two lanes in one direction. However, in this instance, traffic would need to be moving at less than 10 mph for riders to be allowed to split lanes and they would be able to travel no faster than 20 mph while doing so.
Bills such as these always spark debate as to whether or not lane splitting truly is a safe practice. While being able to maneuver around congested roadways helps riders get to open roads more easily, there is still the considerable risk that inattentive drivers could cut them off while they attempt to lane split. Should you find yourself in an area where lane splitting is allowed and you choose to do so, we encourage you to do so with caution and ensure you’re able to properly react to any unexpected moves by the surrounding motorists.
For more motorcycle news and relevant articles for motorcycle enthusiasts, check out the other posts on the Current News for Riders page on hupy.com.