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Motorcycle lane splitting has been around since the beginning of the motor age. Squeezing between cars is nothing new, but the practice is controversial. Now, Texas adds to a slowly growing list of states that are outright banning the practice. Where does your state stand in the lane-splitting debate?

What’s strange about lane splitting is that some states have nothing on the books that prohibits the act, while only California, Arizona, and Montana have state laws allowing it. Oregon, Massachusetts, and Virginia are progressing toward a similar law to make it legal. 

Lane splitting in Bogota, Colombia
Motorcycles lane splitting | Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty

But the Texas House Bill 4122 amends the former law by adding Section 545.0605 (a) (3) stating that motorcycles cannot: (B) operate the motorcycle between lanes of traffic moving in the same direction; or (C) pass a motor vehicle while in the same lane as the vehicle being passed. 

As with most states, before the amendment, it wasn’t illegal nor legal to lane split. Nothing was on the books. However, it does not normally meet with police approval. In most instances, if a motorcyclist were stopped for lane splitting, the police would cite them for a different law that could be interpreted as applying to the act. 

Lane filtering is also part of the law. This is essentially riding between slower cars, sort of like forming your own lane between two rows of cars. Some also call it “white lining.”

Each state has certain laws or wording that make it a crime to lane split but do allow things like shoulder surfing. Hawaii has such a law, but only if traffic is not moving and there are two lanes going in the same direction. 

Motorcycle in traffic
Motorcyclist in traffic | Bob Riha, Jr. via Getty

Montana allows lane splitting, but only if traffic is traveling above 20 mph. In Utah, the state allows lane splitting, but there are many caveats which restrict riders from doing so. But for the most part, states don’t have laws on the books prohibiting it. These states are: 

  • Delaware
  • Arkansas
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Idaho
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • West Virginia

Which states don’t allow lane splitting at all?

Two men riding motorcycle
Two men on motorcycle | Ernst Haas via Getty

Is It Actually Legal for Motorcycles to Ride Between Lanes of Slow-Moving Cars?

These are the states where it is illegal to lane split:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

For those riders in Texas, new verbiage helps to clear up other motorcycle practices. According to Adventure Rider, motorcyclists can ride two abreast in the same lane. So yes, two bikes in the same lane can pass each other. And just as motorcycles can’t pass cars in the same lane, cars cannot pass bikes in the same lane.