Lane Splitting & Filtering is Legal in the Following States

The legality of lane splitting has long been a cause for debate in the United States. Many consider the act of riding a motorcycle between lanes in standstill traffic dangerous. In fact, in most states, lane splitting is illegal. It’s up to all motorists to obey the law and the rules of the road, regardless of personal opinions or views on the matter.

motorcycle lane splitting

What is Lane Splitting?

Lane splitting occurs when a motorcyclist passes one or more vehicles in the area between two lanes, often the area of the road where the road line is painted. It is also known as white lining to seasoned motorcyclists. Typically, motorcyclists will use lane splitting to avoid stopping in heavy traffic. A study by the University of California Berkeley has found that lane splitting may be safer for motorcyclists than traditionally riding in a lane during heavy traffic periods. However, there are two other types of traffic maneuvers motorcyclists do that are similar to lane splitting.

Lane Splitting, Lane Filtering, and Lane Sharing

1. Lane splitting (white lining) – a motorcyclist weaving between moving traffic at a higher speed
2. Lane filtering – a motorcyclist weaving between slower-moving traffic or traffic that is stationary
3. Lane sharing – when two or more motorcyclists are sharing the same lane either side-by-side or staggered


The study found that motorcyclists are more likely to be hit from behind by cars. Lane splitting eliminates that possibility for motorcyclists who will pass between lanes because no cars can hit them from behind. Additionally, most occurs at speeds slower than 50 mph, and at these speeds, injuries are usually less severe overall.

Where is Lane Splitting Legal in the U.S?

Over the years, several bills have been passed in different states to legalize lane splitting, and the following states have legalized the practice. So, if you’re riding a motorcycle, it’s essential to keep these states in America where lane splitting is legal:

  • California – California was one of the first states to embrace lane-splitting even before it was legalized; motorists and motorcyclists respected the practice for years. In 2016, it was declared legal across the state. California is the only state in America to make lane splitting legal officially. Assembly Bill No. 51.
  • Arizona – Lawmakers in Arizona first attempted to legalize lane splitting with Senate Bill 1007, but it failed to pass. At the beginning of 2020, however, Representative Noel Campbell introduced House Bill 2285 that aims to restart talks about legalizing lane splitting in Arizona. Discussions are still underway, but people expect this motion to pass this time. AZ SB1007 | 2020 | Fifty-fourth Legislature 2nd Regular.
  • Hawaii – Though lane splitting is technically not legal because Hawaii’s roads may be too narrow, the state has allowed shoulder surfing for motorcyclists on the island when there is traffic congestion.
  • Connecticut – Senate Bill 629 was recently introduced in Connecticut, and lawmakers are currently discussing legalizing lane splitting and filtering. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Transportation, but there hasn’t been any news since proposed. S.B. No. 629. Session Year 2019.
  • Utah – In March 2019, Utah followed California’s example by becoming the second state to legalize filtering formally. Although it’s not as permissive as lane splitting, lane filtering can help motorcyclists avoid being tailgated when on the road. Utah lane filtering guidelines.
  • Oregon – House Bill 2314, a proposition to make lane splitting legal, has been introduced to the Speaker’s desk and is currently in discussion. If the bill passes, motorcyclists will be allowed to travel between cars on roadways with speed limits of 50 mph or more and traffic moving at 10 mph or slower.
  • Washington – In 2015, Washington introduced a bill to legalize lane splitting, which did not pass. Then, four years later, lawmakers reintroduced Senate Bill 5254, which was left hanging for discussion. On January 13, 2020, the same Senate Bill was reintroduced and is still pending approval.
  • Virginia – At the beginning of the year, Representative Tony Wilt introduced House Bill 1236 to amend the Code of Virginia, this allowing land splitting in the state. This bill has already been referred to the Committee on Transportation and awaiting approval.

If you happen to live in a state where lane splitting bills are still pending approval, contact your legislator to support lane splitting legalization. And if you are involved in an accident, be sure to contact a motorcycle accident lawyer.

What is the Safety?

Wikipedia notes that not much safety research has been done in the United States for lane splitting and lane filtering. However, the European MAIDS report has studied the causes of accidents in four countries related to motorcyclists where lane splitting is legal and one country where it’s illegal. But there is no conclusion as to whether it has contributed to accidents or helped prevent them.

The only information we have for the United States about lane splitting safety is comparing motorcycle accidents in states where it’s legal and illegal. For example, in California, the motorcycle accidents from being rear-ended are 30% lower compared to Florida. In California, lane splitting is legal, and in Florida, it is illegal.

It gets lost in a gray area when addressing responsibility and liability issues surrounding lane splitting. In states where it is legal, motorcyclists involved in an accident could be seen as responsible. At that time of the accident, lane splitting could be used against them in an accident claim because the maneuver was not a safe one to make! This would also make it difficult to prove that the accident wasn’t entirely their fault to adjusters and insurance companies.

About the Author

Michael Steinger
Michael Steinger

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MICHAEL S. STEINGER, founding partner of Steinger, Greene & Feiner, believes in representing real people, not big businesses. Since the firm’s creation in 1997, Steinger, Greene & Feiner has never represented an insurance company or large corporation, and he vows to keep this promise. Over the course of his career, Michael has handled thousands of Florida accident cases, recovering millions of dollars for his clients and earning him membership into the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Staying up-to-date on the ever-evolving laws protecting injury victims and their families, Michael is an active member of the American Bar Association, the Palm Beach, and St. Lucie Bar Associations, and sits on the Auto Insurance Committee of the Florida Justice Association.