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Due to recent changes in the law, Arizona is now giving motorcycle riders a little extra room when traveling down the road. Lane splitting, also called lane sharing, gives motorcycle riders the ability to move through lanes to pass between two cars traveling in the same direction. In most states, this practice is illegal and considered dangerous to all travelers on the road. However, in the new terms of the Arizona lane splitting law, motorcycles are able to now share lane space but only in specific situations.

Changes to the Arizona Lane Splitting Law

Arizona is a motorcycle-friendly state, with over 275,000 motorcycle registrations across the state. Lane splitting has long been a source of controversy for Arizona residents, with the primary concerns coming from a regard for motorist safety. While some believe that lane splitting positively impacts traffic and congestion, others are more skeptical. In order to understand the changes to Arizona’s law, you must understand the difference between lane filtering and lane splitting.

Lane Splitting vs Lane Filtering

The only state that legalizes lane splitting is California. Lane splitting often happens during periods of intense traffic, as riders move quickly around or between cars in clearly marked lanes to reach their destination more quickly without the constant fear of being hit. The inconsistent stopping, starting or emergency braking of traffic congestion is a safety and accident concern. However, the Arizona lane splitting law doesn’t legalize this activity.

Lane filtering involves a motorcycle stopped at the rear of a line of motor vehicles moving between the vehicles to the front of the line. This generally happens at signalized intersections where the motorcycle can easily accelerate back on the road. Arizona is now the fourth state in the nation to legalize lane filtering.

Requirements of the Lane Splitting Law

Under the new law, motorcycles are able to travel between lanes of stopped vehicles provided the driver doesn’t exceed a speed of 15 mph. There are also restrictions on where a rider may pass, as riders can’t pass on either the shoulder of the road or the median. This lane splitting is only allowed on highways where the speed limit is either 45 mph or less.

Opinions About the New Arizona Lane Splitting Law

Those who are in favor of the changes to the law acknowledge that these allowances are not the same as lane splitting, which typically allows motorcyclists to maintain regular speeds to travel between rows of moving cars. The argument in support of lane filtering is the increased safety and reduced risk of being read-ended when a motorcycle is sandwiched between two cars and has low visibility.

Addressing the Arizona Lane Splitting Law

Bikers believe the new permissions from the Arizona lane splitting law will improve their safety, as they can move ahead of traffic easily. However, bikers must remember the restrictions on use in order to legally take advantage of the changes. Failing to follow the rules jeopardizes the safety of everyone on the road by increasing the risk of an accident. Contact the Sargon Law Group for expert assistance if you need legal help following a motor vehicle accident.