New Motorcycle Lane Filtering Laws in Utah

Laws regarding motorcycles have changed in Utah, now allowing lane filtering which is different than what is known as lane splitting.

Lane filtering

Lane Filtering

Photo by: Paul Sableman

A new law was put into effect in May, allowing motorcycle riders to perform an action that is known as lane filtering. According to the Utah Department of Public Safety, “Lane filtering” means, when operating a motorcycle other than an autocycle, the act of overtaking and passing another vehicle that is stopped in the same direction of travel in the same lane. In other words – lane filtering refers to the process of a motorcyclist moving between two lanes to the front of traffic stopped at an intersection.”

Law specifics

Many drivers of motor vehicles are concerned with the new law, perhaps worried a motorcycle will come whizzing by them while they are stopped in traffic or attempting to switch lanes. Fortunately, the new law ensures the new action by motorcycles is done carefully, keeping other drivers’ safety in mind. Utah Department of Public Safety advises motorcycle drivers that:

  1. Lane filtering is only allowed when the road being traveled has speeds of 45 miles per hour or lower;
  2. Lane filtering can only be done on roads with at least two adjacent lanes of travel going in the same direction;
  3. Motorcycles can only filter between traffic when other vehicles are stopped;
  4. While lane filtering, motorcycle speeds may not exceed 15 miles per hour; and
  5. The motorcycle driver is responsible for making sure the action is done safely.

Utah laws vs other states

While all Utah drivers should be excited about any law that alleviates traffic while keeping motorcycle drivers safer, Utah motorcycle laws still differ from those in nearby states. California is currently the only state to allow an action known as lane splitting, which Utah motorcycle drivers should know is different from lane filtering. While lane filtering allows a motorcycle to travel individually between stopped vehicles, lane splitting is the act of multiple motorcycles sharing a lane of travel, otherwise known as riding side by side. Lane splitting is not currently allowed in Utah, and motorcycle riders could receive a traffic violation for doing so. Drivers of all vehicles on the road are encouraged to drive safely and consult with an attorney for any driving infractions that could end in criminal charges.


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