Drivers: Expect to see motorcycles lane filtering, it’s legal under certain circumstances

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – As the weather continues to get warmer, Utahans can expect to see more motorcycles on the road — and more motorcycles means more lane filtering.

The Department of Public Safety wants to remind drivers they can expect to see motorcycles lane filtering, as well as remind motorcyclists of the conditions under which lane filtering is legal.

What is Lane filtering?

Lane filtering is when motorcyclists move between two lanes to the front of traffic that is stopped at an intersection.

Motorcycle lane filtering was made legal under certain circumstances in Utah in May of 2019. The decision came after the Utah legislature’s passage of HB 149 during the 2019 legislative session.

Officials say the law for lane filtering was designed to prevent or reduce rear-end collisions between approaching vehicles and motorcycles stopped in traffic.

They added, unlike lane “splitting,” lane “filtering” is intended to provide a “safety pocket” for motorcycles when encountering stopped traffic.

Since motorcycle riding is seasonal in Utah, some drivers may be surprised when they see motorcyclists who are lane filtering.

Officials emphasized that lane filtering between stopped vehicles on roadways with at least two lanes in the same direction and speeds of 45 mph and lower is legal in Utah.

Having a motorcycle pass closely to your stopped vehicle can be startling. However, officials say if you’re aware that lane filtering is legal and know to expect it, you can maintain an awareness of your surroundings and reduce the element of surprise.

Motorcycles can lane filter in Utah when the following conditions are met, according to officials:

  • The individual is on a roadway divided into two or more adjacent traffic lanes in the same direction of travel
  • The individual is on a roadway with a speed limit of 45 miles per hour or less; this means it is never legal on the freeway
  • The vehicle being overtaken in the same lane is stopped
  • The motorcycle is traveling at a speed of 15 miles per hour or less
  • The movement may be made safely

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