Skip to main content

Is Lane Splitting Safe in Arizona?

Motorcycle enthusiasts often debate the merits of lane splitting, a practice where motorcyclists ride the white line between two lanes of traffic. While lane splitting is legal in some states, it remains a topic of contention.

Lane Splitting Safety Factors

There are several factors that impact motorcyclist safety when lane splitting. In a study completed by the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center at University of California Berkeley, the following considerations were found to be important to safe lane splitting.

Legality and education

The study found that lane splitting is safer in places where it is legal and practiced. In states where it is illegal or the average citizen is unaware that it is legal, it may catch car drivers by surprise. This can lead to motorcycle collisions.

In states where lane splitting is legal, efforts should be made to educate drivers about the practice in order to prevent accidents.

Speed differentials

The UC Berkeley study also found that the speed differential between motorcyclists and surrounding traffic play a significant role in motorcyclist safety. When a motorcycle rider is traveling no more than 10-15 miles per hour faster than the traffic around them, lane splitting tends to be safer.

Additionally, when traffic is slow-moving or stopped, lane-splitting motorcyclists can travel at lower speeds, improving safety for everyone in the area.

Rider experience

Bikers who have more experience and skill are better-equipped to perform lane splitting maneuvers in a safe manner.

What Are the Benefits of Lane Splitting?

Saved time

One of the main advantages of motorcycle lane splitting is the potential for time savings. In congested traffic, motorcycles can maneuver through lanes more easily, allowing riders to reach their destinations faster. It can also reduce traffic congestion for other drivers.

Reduced risk of overheating

Riding in slow-moving or stationary traffic increases the risk of motorcycles overheating. Lane splitting allows riders to move and benefit from the air flow, reducing the chance of engine overheating. This is especially useful in Arizona, where temperatures can soar into the triple digits.

Increased visibility

Visual of Motorcyclist in in the side mirror of a car

One of the top causes of motorcycle accidents is failure to see the motorcycle rider. By traveling between lanes, motorcyclists can enhance their visibility to surrounding drivers. This visibility may help reduce the risk of accidents caused by drivers failing to notice motorcyclists in congested traffic.

Prevention of rear-end accidents

When bikers are stopped at red lights or in heavy traffic, they run the risk of being rear-ended by motorists who aren’t paying attention. This type of collision can be deadly for the motorcycle rider, who is far more vulnerable than people in passenger cars. By moving to the front of the line in between cars, the motorcyclist can potentially avoid a rear-end collision.

What Are Potential Risks of Lane Splitting?

Motorcycle safety concerns

The primary concern with lane splitting is the safety of both motorcyclists and other road users. Motorcycles are more vulnerable to accidents, and lane splitting may increase the risk of collisions if drivers are not expecting motorcycles to be maneuvering between lanes.

Differences in legality between states

Currently, California is the only state where lane splitting is expressly allowed. A handful of states allow lane filtering, but not lane splitting. Many states have no law specifically prohibiting the practice, and others have outlawed lane splitting outright.

These differences in laws can create safety concerns, as it can be difficult to keep track of where lane splitting and filtering are allowed vs. where they are prohibited. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the local laws and ordinances in any area where you plan to ride.

Negative perception

Lane splitting can be seen as aggressive or reckless by some motorists. This perception can lead to tensions between motorcyclists and other drivers, potentially exacerbating road conflicts.

Is Lane Splitting Legal in Arizona?

Currently, lane splitting is not legal in Arizona. Lane filtering, however, is legal, thanks to a bill that went into effect in September of 2022.

Other states that have legalized lane filtering include Utah, Hawaii, and Montana.

What Is the Difference Between Lane Splitting and Lane Filtering?

The difference between lane splitting and lane filtering is a matter of speed. Lane splitting refers to lane sharing on any roadway at any speed. Lane filtering, on the other hand, is only done when surrounding traffic is stopped.

In Arizona, motorcyclists may only filter between lanes on roads where the posted speed limit is no more than 45 miles per hour. Traffic must be at a stop, and the lane filtering rider may not travel faster than 15 miles per hour.

How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help?

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident as a lane splitting rider, you may be entitled to financial compensation. An injury lawyer with The Advocates can help you determine whether you have a case.

If you do decide to pursue an injury case, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will likely do everything they can to avoid paying you a fair settlement. Your Advocate will take on these multi-million dollar corporations to help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

The Advocates will be by your side throughout the entirety of your case, from the moment you first contact us to the day your case is settled. We will help you access the medical care you need, get your motorcycle repaired, and get on the road to recovery.

For your motorcycle collision claim, you deserve an attorney who truly cares about you and your recovery. You deserve an Advocate.