Lane splitting in the United States is a point of contention for most drivers and legislators. Generally, most agree that driving in between lanes of traffic is a dangerous act that can lead to unsafe driving conditions for everyone on the road.
The subject is often up for debate and is even legal in some other parts of the world such as Europe. So you might be wondering, is lane splitting legal in the United States?
Lane splitting is not legal in the United States (in most states), that being said, there are some exceptions. Lane splitting is only fully legal in one US state, California. For the other 49 states, the act of lane splitting is either fully illegal, or no clear legislation on the matter currently exists.
This guide will help you break down the legality of lane splitting across all 50 states as well as any special circumstances regarding lane splitting that might be relevant.
Use this table to determine the legality for your state. Those states marked as ongoing legislation are currently debating the legality of lane splitting in court, which will lead to a concrete decision on the matter sometime shortly.
States marked “other form legal” have legalized some other form of lane splitting that is legal under certain conditions. These special circumstances will be broken down in detail later in this guide.
|State||Legal?||Ongoing Legislation?||Other Form Legal?|
The next part of this guide will break down the legality of lane splitting by state and highlight any special circumstances that might be relevant to your particular area.
Is Lane Splitting Legal In Arizona?
Lane splitting is not currently legal in Arizona. The state government is currently actively debating the topic and new legislations are expected to go into effect sometime shortly.
This is the second time that the matter of lane splitting has been discussed, with the first call for legalization failing to pass. You can expect to pay the average ticket price of $82 if you are caught lane splitting in Arizona.
Is Lane Splitting Legal In California?
Lane splitting is currently legal in California. California is the only state where the practice of lane splitting is explicitly legal. Although, there are a set of guidelines set in place by the California Highway Patrol that riders must abide by when lane splitting.
Is Lane Splitting Legal In Connecticut?
Lane splitting is currently not legal in Connecticut. That being said, lawmakers are currently discussing the legality of lane splitting.
The introduction of Senate Bill 629 has brought the subject back up for debate and the government is likely to issue new legislation regarding the issue soon. For now, you can expect to pay around $67 if you are caught lane splitting.
Is Lane Splitting Legal In Florida?
Lane splitting is currently not legal in Florida. Riders are not permitted to go between traffic under any circumstances.
Should you choose to lane split in Florida, you risk receiving a traffic violation or encountering dangerous driving conditions. The average price of a ticket for lane splitting in Florida is $100.
Is Lane Splitting Legal In Hawaii?
Lane splitting is currently illegal in Hawaii. That being said, Hawaii affords motorcycle riders special circumstances that allow them to bypass traffic on the shoulder of roads legally if the traffic is congested. You can expect to pay the average price of $75 for a lane-splitting ticket in Hawaii.
Is Lane Splitting Legal In Maryland?
Lane splitting is currently illegal in Maryland. There is currently an ongoing debate on the subject that could result in a legislation change. As of now, if you are caught lane splitting in Maryland, you risk a fine of up to $105.
Is Lane Splitting Legal In New Jersey?
Lane splitting is currently illegal in New Jersey. Riders are not permitted to deviate from the standard rules of the road in any way. The cost of a lane-splitting violation in New Jersey is around $110.
Is Lane Splitting Legal In New York?
Lane splitting is currently not legal in New York. Although you will commonly see riders lane-splitting in the more congested parts of the city, this practice is illegal and can land you a moving violation that could cost you up to $150.
Is Lane Splitting Legal In Ohio?
Lane splitting is currently neither legal nor illegal in Ohio. The state has not taken a concrete stance on the subject of lane splitting. It is still not advised that you attempt to lane split in Ohio, as you could still incur some type of moving violation under a different policy that the state has in place.
Is Lane Splitting Legal In Oregon?
Lane splitting is currently illegal in Oregon. The legality of lane splitting is currently being actively debated and could result in a change in legislation. As of now, if you are caught lane splitting you could face a fine of up to $95.
Is Lane Splitting Legal In Texas?
Lane splitting in Texas is neither legal nor illegal. There is no clear definition of the legality of lane splitting in Texas. It is not recommended that you lane split in Texas, as you could still incur a moving violation under some other policy that the state has in place.
Is Lane Splitting Legal In Utah?
Lane splitting is currently illegal in Utah. The state has however legalized a form of lane splitting called filtering, which allows the rider to weave between stopped or extremely slow-moving traffic. You could still incur a fine of up to $72 if you are caught lane splitting in Ohio.
Is Lane Splitting Legal In Virginia?
Lane splitting is currently not legal in Virginia. There has recently been a bill introduced that is awaiting approval that will legalize the act of lane splitting in the state.
It is expected to be approved and go into effect sometime this year. As of now, if you are caught lane splitting in Virginia you risk a fine of up to $88.
Is Lane Splitting Legal In Washington?
Lane splitting is currently illegal in Washington. There is currently an ongoing legislative review that will determine the legality of lane splitting in the state.
A decision on the subject is expected to be reached later this year. For now, if you are caught lane splitting in Washington you can expect a fine of up to $112.
What Does A Lane Splitting Fine Cost?
If you have been caught lane splitting in one of the many states where it is currently illegal, you can expect to pay the national average of $145 to cover your fine. This is a rather expensive ticket to receive in the hopes that it discourages this type of riding behavior.
The table below lists some states and their average lane-splitting fine. Use this table to estimate the total cost of your fine. To avoid incurring any fines in the future, use this guide to help you determine the legality of lane splitting in your area. All average costs rounded up to the nearest dollar.
|State||Avg. Lane Splitting Fine Cost|
What Exactly Is Lane Splitting?
Lane splitting is the act of passing a vehicle in the area between the lanes, or on top of the painted lines. It is a driving technique used by motorcyclists to avoid heavy traffic and in some instances keep themselves safer on the road.
A recent study has shown that lane splitting could help keep motorcyclists safer on the road. This is because the most common injuries that are incurred by riders on the road are caused by being rear-ended in a heavy traffic setting.
Why Is Lane Splitting Illegal In So Many States?
As mentioned above, California is currently the only state in the US where lane splitting is explicitly legal. The rest of the states have deemed the act of lane splitting dangerous and distracting to other drivers on the road.
It is a consensus that lane splitting could potentially cause fatal accidents on the road or other unsafe driving conditions. As more states work towards legalizing lane splitting, this opinion on the matter could change drastically over time.
What Is Lane Filtering?
Lane filtering is similar to lane splitting with one key difference. When lane filtering, riders weave through the middle of slow-moving or stationary traffic as opposed to the high-speed weaving that is done when lane splitting.
Lane filtering is legal in Utah and can be used to help motorcycle riders avoid heavy traffic and keep themselves safe from any potential rear-end accidents.
Is Lane Splitting Safe?
Lane splitting has been found to be safe under the right conditions. These conditions include an experienced driver and proper traffic conditions to ensure the safety of everyone on the road.
Some studies have been carried out that actually show that lane splitting helps reduce the rate of from-behind accidents that are experienced by motorcycle riders.
That being said, if you are involved in an accident while lane splitting, the act will likely be used against you and you will be found liable for the accident. It is recommended that riders outside of California avoid lane splitting until the legality is more widespread.
Should You Lane Split?
You should still avoid lane splitting in the states where the law has no clear definition of the legality of lane splitting, as you will likely still incur some form of traffic violation under some other existing policy that the state has in place.
This guide has provided you with up-to-date information regarding the legality of lane switching across the United States. You can use this guide to track the legality in your area and make sure that you are riding within the confines of the law.
Lane splitting is currently illegal for the most part in the United States, except in California. That being said, several states have the matter up for debate which could change current legislators in favor of those who support lane splitting. Until lane splitting is made legal in your state, use this guide to ensure that you are riding safely and legally.
It is important to drive responsibly, especially when operating a motorcycle. Lane splitting in a state where it is not legal could lead to unsafe driving conditions that could result in injury or death. Because of this, it is not recommended to attempt lane-splitting until the legality is more widespread and other drivers have time to adjust to the new legislation.
I’m William Guzenski, ASE certified master automobile technician & automotive expert. I love to attend race events and car shows throughout the country. I also loves to travel 40-foot motorhome, exploring abandoned mines and ghost towns. I’m currently building another car for Bonneville Salt Flats and will be campaigning a drag car at several events.