Motorcycle Lane Filtering Now Legal in Arizona
Arizona’s new motorcycle law SB 1273 permits lane filtering by motorcycles. The law allows a motorcycle to proceed at a safe speed and filter between stopped or slower moving vehicles if the rider feels it is safe to do so.
This new law brings Arizona in line with many other states that have already legalized lane filtering, including California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, and Texas.
Lane filtering can be a great way to avoid being stuck in traffic, and it can also help riders stay safe by keeping them out of the blind spots of other vehicles. However, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and use caution when lane filtering, as it can be dangerous if not done properly.
Lane Filtering vs. Lane Splitting or Lane Sharing
Lane filtering is sometimes confused with lane splitting or lane sharing, but there are important differences between the three.
- Lane filtering occurs when a motorcycle rider moves between lanes of stopped traffic.
- Lane splitting, on the other hand, refers to a motorcycle rider passing other vehicles by riding in-between them while they are traveling in the same direction.
- Lane sharing is when two motorcycles ride side-by-side in the same lane.
Is lane splitting legal in Arizona? According to Arizona motorcycle laws, lane splitting is still illegal.
The Pros and Cons of Lane Filtering
Lane filtering can have both positive and negative effects. Some of the potential pros of lane filtering include:
- Allowing motorcycles to avoid being stuck in traffic, thereby reducing congestion on the roads
- Helping riders stay safe by keeping them out of the blind spots of other vehicles
- Giving riders the opportunity to get where they are going more quickly
However, there are also some potential cons of lane filtering, which include:
- Distracting other drivers and causing accidents
- Making it difficult for other vehicles to traverse intersections
- Causing motorcycle riders to crash if they filter too closely to other vehicles
Importantly, whenever laws change, it can take a while for drivers and even other cyclists to be aware of them.
Safety Tips for Lane Filtering
Some safety tips for lane filtering:
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times and use your mirrors to check for vehicles in your blind spot before changing lanes.
- Use caution when filtering around trucks and buses, as they have large blind spots.
- Do not filter through red lights or stop signs.
- Use caution when filtering in rainy or wet conditions, as it can be more difficult to see around other vehicles.
- Don’t attempt illegal maneuvers such as lane splitting; only filter when vehicles are fully stopped.
You should always drive with caution especially when lane filtering, as it can be an inherently dangerous maneuver.
Tips for Avoiding an Accident with Motorcyclists
There are a few things drivers can do to avoid accidents with motorcyclists, whether they are lane filtering or not:
- Be aware of motorcycles on the road and give them space when passing.
- Check your blind spots for motorcycles before driving.
- Use extra caution when turning, as motorcycles may be in your blind spot or passing you.
- Be extra cautious in bad weather, as road conditions can be more difficult for motorcycles.
- Drive defensively and always expect the unexpected from other drivers and cyclists.
What to Do If You’re in a Motorcycle Accident
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, it is important to stay calm and call 911. Try to move your motorcycle out of the roadway if possible, and turn on your hazard lights. If you are able, exchange information with the other driver, including insurance information. Take pictures of the scene of the accident but do not talk to anyone about the accident until you have connected with an experienced motorcycle attorney.