Lane Splitting is Against the Law in Colorado

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(COLORADO) – The Colorado State Patrol is sending a clear reminder to motorcycle riders that lane splitting is illegal in Colorado. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, “Passing or overtaking a vehicle in the same lane is illegal in Colorado; no lane sharing or splitting with cars. However, motorcycles can share a lane or ‘co-ride’ with one other motorcycle.”

Lane splitting, also known as “filtering,” “white lining,” or “stripe-riding,” is a traffic maneuver in which a motorcyclist drives between two rows of motor vehicles traveling in the same direction. While supporters of this concept feel this is safe and protects motorcyclists from collisions, the practice remains illegal in all US States except for California.

Research conducted on motorcycle lane splitting by Consumer Reports found that about half of the California motorcyclists it studied said they nearly hit a vehicle while lane splitting. Dangers of this traffic maneuver exist due to the limited space between vehicles, the lack of visibility of motorcycle riders (blind spots) for other drivers, and the fact the motorcycle rider is often going faster than the traffic around it.

In fact, a key study from a 2015 study by U.C. Berkeley stated that the biggest predictor of injury was the difference in speed between the motorcycle and surrounding traffic.  The risk of driving between cars shoots up quickly if motorcyclists are going more than 10-15 miles per hour faster than the vehicles around them.  

“When accidents occur from lane splitting, the motorcyclist will be on the losing side,” stated Sergeant Troy Kessler, Colorado State Patrol. “Whether a rider strikes a car side mirror, runs into a car, or travels too fast when a motorist attempts to change a lane, riding predictably helps everyone’s safety on the road.”

Motorcycle riders who are cited for lane splitting in Colorado commit a Class A traffic infraction, which involves a fine, and points can be put on their driving record.

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ABOUT THE COLORADO STATE PATROL
Since our origin in 1935, the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) has focused on preserving human life and protecting property within our communities. Our 1,100 members embody the core values of Honor, Duty, and Respect in their daily jobs.  In addition to our expertise in motor vehicle safety on the state’s roadways, the CSP is responsible for the Governor and other dignitaries’ protection, commercial motor vehicle enforcement, hazardous materials, homeland security, communications, investigative services, criminal interdiction, community education, aviation operations, and more. For additional information, visit us online at Colorado State Patrol or follow us on TwitterInstagram, YouTube, or Facebook.