In some states like California, you can drive your motorcycle between lanes of moving or stopped vehicles. This is called lane splitting, and you can do it on roads, highways–divided or not–and residential streets. Many California automobile drivers find this practice unnerving, but it is nonetheless legal.
Lane Filtering is Different
Now in Arizona, you can do something related to lane shifting called lane filtering.
Arizona Senate Bill 1273 says:
“The operator of a two-wheeled motorcycle may overtake and pass another vehicle that is stopped in the same direction of travel and in the same lane as the operator and may operate the motorcycle between the lanes of traffic if the movement may be made safely.”
The above legalese means that Arizona now allows a motorcycle to be driven between stopped cars and trucks in adjacent lanes in order to move to the front. This would normally occur in an intersection with a traffic signal.
Some specifics of the new motorcycle lane filtering law are:
- You can only pass stopped vehicles.
- The lane-filtering speed limit is 15 miles per hour.
- Lane filtering is only allowed on roads that have speed limits of 45 miles per hour or less.
- Lane filtering is not allowed on freeways.
- Lane filtering is only allowed on streets with two or more lanes that go in the same direction.
Reasons for the New Law
Motorcycle drivers fear being hit from behind, and many feel that this situation could be mitigated by allowing motorcycle drivers to filter to the front of the line at a stoplight. Being at the front of a stoplight gives a rider the freedom to be at the head of the pack instead of being potentially sandwiched between two vehicles.
Three-wheelers Do Not Qualify
Only two-wheel motorcycles are allowed to practice lane shifting. Three-wheelers–like sidecar riders–are prohibited from practicing lane shifting.
Senate Bill 1273 was written and introduced by Arizona State Senator Tyler Pace, and was based upon a similar bill that had become Utah law in 2019.
Other Arizona Senate Bill 1273 Provisions
- Motorcycles are entitled to use a full traffic lane for themselves.
- Motorcycles can ride two abreast but no more than two abreast.
- Regular riding between two lanes–lane shifting–is specifically not allowed.
In 2020, there were more than 2,300 motorcycle accidents in Arizona. Most of these accidents occurred during daylight hours and over three-quarters happened in urban areas. Motorcycle rider speeding was a factor in over 500 motorcycle accidents.
Seek Qualified Yuma Legal Help
If you, a loved one, a friend, or an acquaintance are involved in a motorcycle incident, accident or crash, there is a lot to consider including:
- Who was at fault?
- Was anyone ticketed?
- Were there immediate injuries?
- Did some injuries appear later?
- How much damage occurred?
- Did each party carry insurance?
Any vehicle accident can be complex and motorcycle accidents are no exception. Prudent Yuma residents know to call an experienced and highly qualified Arizona motorcycle accident attorney when a motorcycle accident has occurred. Attorneys Cid R. Kallen, Marlo Arnold, and Alan Bowman are ready to help you with your motorcycle accident issue. Call their firm, Territorial Law, at 928-543-5092 today for a case evaluation. You can also request your evaluation online.