Here Is Every State That Allows Lane Splitting on a Motorcycle
When a motorcycle or bicycle passes between lanes of slow-moving or stopped traffic, it is lane splitting. This is not to be confused with using the shoulder to ride around traffic (shoulder surfing) or passing between vehicles waiting for a stop light (lane filtering or filtering up). Laws governing lane splitting differ by state.
Is lane splitting illegal?
Twenty-nine states have laws prohibiting lane splitting, though many are reconsidering their stance. Several states have already voted to allow some form of lane splitting, filtering, or shoulder surfing.
Another 12 states have no laws defining and allowing lane splitting, but no laws expressly prohibiting a motorcycle rider from doing it either. If you live in one of these states, and a police officer sees you splitting lanes, you may still be pulled over for riding dangerously or breaking some other law.
Which states allow lane splitting?
Without any further ado, here’s the list of lane splitting, filtering, and shoulder surfing laws–broken down by state.
|State||Lane Splitting Law|
|Alabama||Lane splitting is illegal.|
|Alaska||Lane splitting is illegal.|
|Arizona||Currently reconsidering its state laws governing lane splitting. (Senate Bill 1273)|
|Arkansas||Not specifically prohibited in state law.|
|California||Legal. California recommends only splitting lanes when traffic is slow and you keep your speed within 10 mph of surrounding traffic. You can still be pulled over for dangerous riding at a police officer’s discretion.|
|Colorado||Lane splitting is illegal.|
|Connecticut||Currently reconsidering its state laws governing lane splitting. (House Bill 629)|
|Delaware||Not specifically prohibited in state law.|
|District of Columbia||Currently reconsidering its laws governing lane splitting.|
|Florida||Lane splitting is illegal.|
|Georgia||Lane splitting is illegal.|
|Hawaii||Shoulder surfing is legal when traffic is stopped. Lane splitting and filtering are both illegal.|
|Idaho||Lane splitting is illegal.|
|Illinois||Lane splitting is illegal.|
|Indiana||Lane splitting is illegal.|
|Iowa||Lane splitting is illegal.|
|Kansas||Lane splitting is illegal.|
|Kentucky||Not specifically prohibited in state law.|
|Louisiana||Lane splitting is illegal.|
|Maine||Lane splitting is illegal.|
|Maryland||Currently reconsidering its state laws governing lane splitting. (House Bill 917)|
|Massachusetts||Lane splitting is illegal.|
|Michigan||Lane splitting is illegal.|
|Minnesota||Lane splitting is illegal.|
|Mississippi||Not specifically prohibited in state law.|
|Missouri||Not specifically prohibited in state law.|
|Montana||Motorcycles moving under 10 mph may filter up. Motorcycles moving under 20 mph may split lanes. Illegal to do so when conditions are unsafe.|
|Nebraska||Lane splitting is illegal.|
|Nevada||Currently reconsidering its state laws governing lane splitting. (Assembly Bill 236 passed, DOT must create regulations before it’s allowed)|
|New Hampshire||Lane splitting is illegal.|
|New Jersey||Lane splitting is illegal.|
|New Mexico||Not specifically prohibited in state law. Motorcyclists splitting lanes are breaking other laws governing lane placement and turn signal visibility.|
|New York||Lane splitting is illegal.|
|North Carolina||Not specifically prohibited in state law.|
|North Dakota||Lane splitting is illegal.|
|Ohio||Not specifically prohibited in state law.|
|Oklahoma||Not specifically prohibited in state law.|
|Oregon||Currently reconsidering its state laws governing lane splitting. (House Bill 2314)|
|Pennsylvania||Lane splitting is illegal.|
|Rhode Island||Lane splitting is illegal.|
|South Carolina||Lane splitting is illegal.|
|South Dakota||Lane splitting is illegal.|
|Tennessee||Lane splitting is illegal.|
|Texas||Currently reconsidering its state laws governing lane splitting. (House Bill 879)|
|Utah||Lane filtering is allowed. Defined as passing between traffic that is moving between zero and 15 mph.|
|Vermont||Lane splitting is illegal.|
|Virginia||Lane splitting is illegal.|
|Washington||Currently reconsidering its state laws governing lane splitting. (House Bill 5254)|
|West Virginia||Not specifically prohibited in state law.|
|Wisconsin||Lane splitting is illegal.|
|Wyoming||Lane splitting is illegal.|
Is lane splitting a good idea?
When I wrote up the legality of lane splitting, the comments I received were an excellent cross-section of how people feel about the practice. Some riders and non-riders argued that it is unsafe. Other riders and non-riders countered that it improves traffic flow and thus makes the roads safer.
Lane splitting is a personal decision. I am a lifelong motorcycle rider and lived in California for years. There, I did practice lane splitting on occasion. But other times, when I could have legally chosen to split lanes, I chose not to because I found the conditions unsafe. I don’t need to tell you, it’s your responsibility to make the best decision you can with the information you have.
Note that a recent study found that more accidents occur while motorcyclists are splitting lanes than while they are staying in their own. But the study did not confirm whether this might be due to other factors, such as riding during rush hour when most lane splitting occurs.
When it comes to the legality of lane splitting, I have collected information on each state courtesy of the Motorcycle Legal Foundation and the attorneys at Enjuris. But I am not a lawyer, and laws change. It is essential you do your own research on the most recent state and local laws governing lane splitting.
Next, read about whether lane splitting is actually legal where state laws are vague, or learn more about the practice in the video below: