Motorcycle Lane Splitting: United States Guidelines

Motorcycle Lane Splitting Guidelines + Laws

Whether you call it white-lining or stripe-riding in your jurisdiction, there are state guidelines for motorcycle lane splitting, and you cannot ignore them regardless of the state you live in.

Motorcycle lane splitting is creating increasing concerns among riders and other road users in many different states in the United States.   

Interestingly, different states across the US have different legal provisions and guidelines that address some of the concerns of stakeholders about this controversial phenomenon. Is your state one of those states that has a place for lane splitting? Find answers to the question in this post.

What is motorcycle lane splitting?

Lane splitting has both conventional and legal definitions, but the two are not-too-dissimilar. The act of riding a motorcycle between two rows or lanes of stopped or slow moving traffic on the road is what is technically referred to as lane splitting.  Lane splitting allows riders to save time by bypassing traffic congestion.

In legal terms, the State of California defines lane splitting ‘as a motorcycle ridden between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane including on both divided and undivided streets, roads, or highways. 

Lane splitting achieves two things, namely, ensuring safety for riders by preventing them from the risk of rear-end collisions. Two, it also eases congestion by removing motorcycles from the traffic  lanes.

Other State’s names for Lane Splitting 

Lane filtering: When you use pseudonyms like lane filtering, we mean that a motorcycle is attempting to pave way for itself through a thick, slow-moving or stationary traffic, such as at a stoplight.

Lane Sharing: As the name suggests, lane sharing refers to a situation in which two cyclists are moving on the same lane, either by side or in a staggered direction.

Lane splitting:

However, when a rider weaves his way through moving traffic but at a faster speed, what he is essentially doing is lane splitting. This method is usually only applicable when there is a stopped traffic on the lane dividing line. Considered generally illegal, lane splitting is common in California 

Lane Splitting, Filtering or Sharing: Which one Does my State legalize?

Technically, California is the only state that officially recognizes lane splitting with other states recognizing it under different terms such as lane filtering, stripe riding, lane sharing, and white lining. 

In a state like Oregon, lane splitting is illegal. Until House Bill 2314 is passed into law and approved, motorcycles are still prohibited from traveling between cars on roadways where the speed limit is 50mph or greater. 

In Washington, Connecticut, Maryland and Utah, lane splitting is illegal; but Utah’s law provides for and recognizes lane filtering. However, if Washington’s Senate Bill 5254, Maryland’s House Bill 917, and Connecticut’s Senate Bill 629 scale approval, then lane splitting may be considered legal.

Hawaii, known for its narrow road network, has sanctioned shoulder surfing, which only allows motorcyclists to use the shoulder during traffic congestion. Legalizing lane splitting is not highly likely not in sight. 

Lane Splitting: General State Rules and Regulations 

Whether you live in states where lane splitting is legally recognized or states that prefer the choice of other pseudonyms, there are general rules that guide the manner of riders’ behaviors. 

Here are some of the dos and their corresponding don’ts about lane splitting.

The Dos

  • Maintain a gear that keeps engine revs low. If you keep changing 
  • Be aware the wet season always comes with its risk, including reduction in your bike tires’ traction to the road when it rains.
  • Look out for lumps, bumps and uneven surfaces. They can make easy handling and maneuvering a lot of hectic tasks easy.   
  • Above all, be careful, courteous, and conscious on the road.

Don’t:  

  • It never angers fellow road users, particularly drivers. You’ll violate this rule is you drive fat.
  • Don’t prepare only your physical self, be mentally prepared and alter on the road as well. 
  • Both the driver and the motorcyclist are protected under the law and are prohibited too not to impede each other’s movement. Bills AB-51/21658.1 and CVC 22400 respectively allow lane splitting and make it illegal for drivers to block motorcyclists on the road.
  • Don’t travel more than 10mph faster than the traffic is moving. The faster you pass, the less time available for you to attend to a distracting situation.
  • If you see a rider splitting a lane to your right, don’t try to stay parallel, but ease back. If you fail to comply, you could be pushing traffic into each other’s path.

Conclusion

Regardless of how sophisticated or strategically executed road laws can be, the best solution to prevent obstruction and unnecessary traffic is to obey instructions. Be responsible, respectful, reasonable, and beware of roadways. Ride safely! 

What is motorcycle lane splitting?

Lane splitting has both conventional and legal definitions, but the two are not-too-dissimilar. The act of riding a motorcycle between two rows or lanes of stopped or slow moving traffic on the road is what is technically referred to as lane splitting.  Lane splitting allows riders to save time by bypassing traffic congestion.

What is Lane Filtering?

Lane filtering: When you use pseudonyms like lane filtering, we mean that a motorcycle is attempting to pave way for itself through a thick, slow-moving or stationary traffic, such as at a stoplight.

What is Lane Sharing?

Lane Sharing: As the name suggests, lane sharing refers to a situation in which two cyclists are moving on the same lane, either by side or in a staggered direction.