Motorcyclists now have the choice to lane filter. This new law has caused some confusion and misconceptions among motorcyclists and car drivers. The reasoning for this law taking effect was not to give motorcyclists the right of way or to let them cut in line. It was passed as an initiative to reduce motorcycle accidents and fatalities by removing the rider from traffic because they are at greater risk of injury if rear ended at a stop. For those who are still not sure about the details here are five things everyone needs to know about Lane Filtering:
Filtering may only be executed when two lanes travelling in the same direction are completely stopped.
Overtaking/Passing the stopped vehicles is only legal if passing between these two lanes.
The only approved roads for this process must have a speed limit posted 45mph or less.
The motorcycle speed cannot be greater than 15 mph while filtering.
Whether the motorcyclist is experienced or inexperienced the rider must use good judgment and extreme caution in order to execute in a safe manner.
My personal experiences with lane filtering have all been great. However, it is easy to see why only experienced riders should filter in certain scenarios. One scenario would be if the rider has luggage on the motorcycle making it wider and the stagger of the vehicles stopped could make it more challenging to comfortably navigate. Not all vehicles and motorcycles are created with similar dimensions adding different variables that must be considered before choosing to filter. The use of common sense and good judgment must be practiced to make the drivers of the vehicles comfortable when being passed. An added perk to practicing this law is the time savings, especially if you have to commute through heavy traffic areas like Salt Lake City, Provo, Orem or downtown Ogden!
As a licensed driver in Utah we are all in this together, if you have further questions about the law visit Lane Filtering or contact the office at Utah Rider Education.