New motorcycle law in Utah

Mar 28, 2019, 7:34 AM | Updated: 7:34 am
Photo courtesy of

SALT LAKE CITY — Motorists will have an extra reason to watch out for motorcycle riders now that Utah has legalized lane filtering for motorcyclists.  The law in Utah will only allow the maneuvering where posted speeds are 45 m.p.h. or less and automobile traffic is completely stopped.  HB 149 also limits motorcyclists to 15 miles per hour while navigating stopped traffic.  A similar law was passed and enacted in California, and according to Road and Track magazine, 2017 saw a 30-percent drop in motorcyclist fatalities.

Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Nick Street says the difference in the laws passed in California and Utah is that lane splitting in California can occur at freeway speeds and while other traffic is moving.  However, in Utah, lane filtering can occur only on roads with 45 mile-per-hour speed limits or less, and vehicle traffic must be stopped.

“When cars are stopped motorcyclists can filter to the front on a red light or they can filter through traffic around a crash when cars are stopped behind it, but they can only do it in Utah when cars are stopped.  Once cars are moving again it is illegal for motorcyclists to continue, and they must then get back in line with the rest of vehicle traffic,” says Street.

He says lane filtering would only be allowed on roads with two or more lanes in either direction, which would exclude some streets in, for example, downtown Salt Lake City, where multiple lanes are restricted to bicycles and street parking, leaving only one through lane for vehicles.

Sgt. Street says there were 1,288 motorcyclists rear-ended in the state of Utah from 2011 to 2017.  He says the problem with even minor rear-end collisions involving motorcyclists is that there are usually injuries or even fatalities as a result.

“We see rear-end crashes all the time with cars and sometimes it’s just cosmetic, sometimes you just take it to a body shop.  When you rear-end a motorcycle, there’s typically gonna be an injury involved – if not a fatality, depending on the speed.  As a motorcyclist myself, I like the idea that I can get off that ‘X’ of danger.  So I’m stuck behind cars, I don’t like this, or I have a car approaching really fast from the rear, and I’m behind another car, I’m limited as to what I can do.  If I can filter to the center of the lane, I put myself away from that position, I am making myself safer as a motorcyclist,” says Street.

Street says it is up to motorcyclists to exercise caution in areas where lanes may not be as wide, or on bikes that may have wider handlebars or wide saddlebags, making maneuvering a little trickier.  He also hopes riders will remember that excessively loud motorcycles may make drivers nervous as they pass.

The law takes effect on May 14th.  It automatically expires on July 1, 2022.  If, for example, it turns out the law does more harm than good, lawmakers may simply allow the law to die and lane filtering would again become illegal.






Today’s Top Stories

All News

dead fish at a small tributary of the Klamath River, near Happy Camp, California, on August 5, 2022...
By Raja Razek and Christina Maxouris, CNN

Thousands of dead fish are washing up along a California river. It’s because of a massive wildfire and flash floods, the Karuk Tribe says

"Tens of thousands" of dead fish have washed up along the Klamath River in the area of Happy Camp in northern California this week.
23 hours ago
salt lake flooding...
Simone Seikaly

UPDATE: Flooding, road closures, and power outages in SLC

Rocky Mountain Power reports that more than 3,490 customers are without power in the 84115, 84106, 84105, and 84119 zip codes.
23 hours ago
Weather advisory....
Waverly Golden

UPDATE: Flood advisory for portions of Salt Lake Valley and Davis County

NWS reported that these storms historically produce minor flooding in low-lying and poor drainage areas. 
23 hours ago
Image of the scene where a man stole an excavator and broke a water line (Photo courtesy of Ray Boo...
Chandler Holt

Man steals excavator and starts ripping up the ground, breaks water line

A water line broke by a Smith's parking lot earlier after a man stole an excavator and began ripping up the ground. 
23 hours ago
A depiction of the Salem Witch Trials (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)...
Scottie Andrew, CNN

The last Salem witch has been exonerated, thanks to an eighth-grade teacher and her students

Elizabeth Johnson Jr., a woman convicted of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials in the 1690s, was finally exonerated last week after years of petitioning by Massachusetts teacher Carrie LaPierre and her eighth-grade civics students.
23 hours ago
costco samples senior hours...
Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN Business

The mysterious companies behind Costco’s Kirkland Signature and Trader Joe’s O’s

As prices surge, store brands -- also known as private labels, white labels or generic brands -- have become an even more attractive option for inflation-fatigued shoppers who are looking to switch from pricier name brands. Store brands can be anywhere from 10% to 50% cheaper.
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles