Lane Filtering for Motorcycles in Montana is Legal October 1st
Improved Safety & Efficiency for Motorcyclists in Traffic
Montana has a new law effective October 1st that enables motorcyclists to safely and efficiently lane-filter in traffic.
The new MT SB-9 bill, which was passed by the Montana state legislature in March follows the lead of Utah and California which codify the practice.
S.B. 9 allows the operator of a two-wheeled motorcycle to overtake stopped or slow-moving vehicles at a speed not in excess of 20 mph, to filter between lanes of stopped traffic traveling in the same direction as conditions permit, and specifies reasonable and prudent motorcycle operation while lane filtering.
The Montana version specifically legalizes “lane filtering”, which is somewhat different than “lane splitting” or “lane sharing”. Lane splitting and sharing is a common practice on congested freeways where motorcycles are allowed to move between traffic traveling at ongoing speeds. Lane filtering (which is what is has now been legalized in Montana) allows motorcycles to move between lanes at stoplights when traffic is slowing for the light, and/or is stopped.
While lane filtering looks dangerous to non-motorcyclists, the practice has proven for years where it is legal to be much safer to riders who are otherwise vulnerable to inattentive drivers and far more exposed to rear-end collisions. Lane filtering also effectively removes one more vehicle from the queue at stop lights, resulting in more efficient traffic flow when the light turns green.
“With the signing of S.B. 9, Montanans have recognized the benefits of lane splitting, which allows motorcyclists the choice to filter in traffic when it is safe to do so,” said Tiffany Cipoletti, on-highway government relations manager for the American Motorcyclist Association.