Why Do Motorcycle Lane Splitting Legal? – (Explained)

Compare Motorcycle Insurance!
Motorcycle Insurance - Compare and Save up to 40%
It's fast and easy to compare motorcycle insurance quotes! Get My Quotes! Motorcycle Image

Don’t be surprised if you see a motorcyclist splitting the lane or filtering through traffic. It’s because lane splitting and filtering are legal in some states of America. California was the first motorcycle-friendly state that legalized lane splitting for motorcycles in August 2016.

So, why is motorcycle lane splitting legal? After hot debates, the California state government passed the law for lane splitting for motorcycles in August 2016. According to the state government, lane splitting for motorcycles reduces traffic jams and improves roadway safety.

California is the only state in the USA where lane splitting is legal. However, there are four more states- Arizona, Hawaii, Montana, and Utah where lane filtering is allowed with certain restrictions.

Motorcyclist Splitting Lane
Image Credit: motorcycle.com

Why Do States Allows Lane Splitting For Motorcyclists?

In the assembly debate, the researcher stated that lane splitting would reduce traffic and improve roadway safety for motorcycles. So, the government legalized lane splitting legal for motorcyclists.

This reduces traffic jams and makes commuting time faster for motorcyclists. It also helps reduce carbon footprint because more people shift from cars to motorcycles. Moreover, lane splitting is legal in various countries in Europe and Asia.

Is It Legal For Motorcycles To Split Lanes In All States?

No. Lane splitting is only legal in California. However, other states of the USA have strict rules against lane splitting, and you may be prosecuted for breaching the laws.

California state government legalized lane splitting for motorcycles. Moreover, four more states, Arizona, Hawaii, Montana, and Utah, have legalized lane filtering with certain restrictions.

What Is Lane Filtering Vs. Splitting?

Don’t mix between lane splitting and filtering because both are different. Only the California government has legalized lane splitting for motorcycles. Other four American states – Arizona, Hawaii, Montana, and Utah have legalized lane filtering. Lane splitting means driving your motorcycle in another lane (30 Mph is the speed limit), while lane filtering refers to crawling through vehicles when traffic is stopped.

Motorcyclists Filtering Traffic
Image Credit: advrider.com

List Of States Where Lane Splitting And Filtering Legal

AlabamaNot AllowedNot Allowed
AlaskaNot AllowedNot Allowed
ArizonaNot AllowedAllowed
ArkansasNot AllowedNot Allowed
ColoradoNot AllowedNot Allowed
ConnecticutNot AllowedNot Allowed
DelawareNot AllowedNot Allowed
FloridaNot AllowedNot Allowed
GeorgiaNot AllowedNot Allowed
HawaiiNot AllowedAllowed
IdahoNot AllowedNot Allowed
IllinoisNot AllowedNot Allowed
IndianaNot AllowedNot Allowed
IowaNot AllowedNot Allowed
KansasNot AllowedNot Allowed
KentuckyNot AllowedNot Allowed
LouisianaNot AllowedNot Allowed
MaineNot AllowedNot Allowed
MarylandNot AllowedNot Allowed
MassachusettsNot AllowedNot Allowed
MichiganNot AllowedNot Allowed
MinnesotaNot AllowedNot Allowed
MississippiNot AllowedNot Allowed
MissouriNot AllowedNot Allowed
MontanaNot AllowedAllowed
NebraskaNot AllowedNot Allowed
NevadaNot AllowedNot Allowed
New HampshireNot AllowedNot Allowed
New JerseyNot AllowedNot Allowed
New MexicoNot AllowedNot Allowed
New YorkNot AllowedNot Allowed
North CarolinaNot AllowedNot Allowed
North DakotaNot AllowedNot Allowed
OhioNot AllowedNot Allowed
OklahomaNot AllowedNot Allowed
OregonNot AllowedNot Allowed
PennsylvaniaNot AllowedNot Allowed
Rhode IslandNot AllowedNot Allowed
South CarolinaNot AllowedNot Allowed
South DakotaNot AllowedNot Allowed
TennesseeNot AllowedNot Allowed
TexasNot AllowedNot Allowed
UtahNot AllowedAllowed
VermontNot AllowedNot Allowed
VirginiaNot AllowedNot Allowed
WashingtonNot AllowedNot Allowed
West VirginiaNot AllowedNot Allowed
WisconsinNot AllowedNot Allowed
WyomingNot AllowedNot Allowed

Note– Lane splitting and filtering is allowed with certain restrictions, so please read the motor vehicle act of your state.

Can You Filter Through Traffic On A Motorcycle?

If you live in California, Arizona, Hawaii, Montana, and Utah, you can filter through traffic on a motorcycle.

Other states of the USA have strict laws against traffic filtering and lane splitting. If caught breaching the transport laws, cops will take you to court with different charges.

So, before lane splitting and filtering, please consider reading the transport laws of your state carefully. Lane splitting is completely unlawful in many states, with limited or no exceptions.

Also Read: Can Motorcycles Use HOV Lanes?

Is Lane Splitting Safer Than Sitting In Traffic?

It depends on how you ride your motorcycle and where you live. In California, motorcyclists are allowed to split lanes at 30 Mph speed.

According to a study, it’s found that splitting the lanes is safer than sitting in traffic because lane splitting allows motorcycle riders to move between vehicles in traffic, giving them an escape route where there is congestion.

Can You Get A Ticket For Lane Splitting In Texas?

Yes. Splitting lanes in Texas is illegal and prohibited, and you’ll get a ticket for lane splitting. Everyone should drive their vehicle completely within a single lane—however, the state is legalizing lane splitting for motorcyclists with certain restrictions. Currently, a $175 fine is provided for lane splitting in Texas.

How Fast Can You Lane Split In California?

California is the only state where lane splitting is legal, but with certain rules and restrictions. It is recommended that motorcyclists only split lanes into low-speed areas and not exceed 10 miles per hour faster than surrounding vehicles. If the speed limit is 30 miles per hour, a motorcyclist should not exceed 40 mph while lane splitting.


In the United States of America, California is the only state where motorcyclists are allowed to split lanes with certain restrictions.

The government passed this bill in August 2016, stating that- this would reduce traffic and improve road safety.

Some states, Arizona, Hawaii, Montana, and Utah, have legalized traffic filtering for motorcycle riders. So, please read the vehicle act of your state.


  1. https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB51
  2. https://surovellfirm.com/motorcycle-accident/is-lane-splitting-legal-in-virginia/

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *