Colorado’s recent lane filtering law goes into effect August 7 – what is it?

Colorado Lane Filtering vs. Lane Splitting –What’s the difference?

Recently, the state of Colorado passed a lane filtering bill that will go into effect August 7, 2024. While lane splitting and filtering have long been controversial, motorcycle riders and drivers need to understand the rules going into effect to ensure a safe experience on our shared roadways.

“The first thing Coloradoans need to understand is that there is a seemingly small but important difference between lane filtering and lane splitting,” stated Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “One will soon be legal, and the other remains prohibited, so let’s all start by getting on the same page.”

Lane splitting is prohibited in Colorado, and it is the act of operating a motorcycle between two rows of moving traffic or stopped traffic traveling in the same direction. It typically involves riding the motorcycle down the painted line dividing the lanes on either side.

Lane filtering will become legal in less than a month. Lane filtering is the act of passing a vehicle going in the same direction only when the vehicle is at a complete stop. This maneuver will likely be most common at stop lights or gridlocked traffic and will legally allow riders to navigate toward the front of the line, avoiding being sandwiched between two vehicles.

One of the biggest differences between lane splitting and lane filtering comes down to the movement of the surrounding vehicles. It’s important to note the differences between these practices and the rules associated with Colorado’s filtering law.

According to Colorado’s new filtering law, five rules must be followed to filter:

  1. The vehicles a rider wants to pass must be at a complete stop.
  2. The lane must be wide enough to fit the vehicle and motorcycle while passing.
  3. The motorcycle must go 15 mph or less.
  4. The rider must pass safely and control the motorcycle.
  5. The rider must pass on the left and not enter the oncoming traffic lane.

“It’s up to the rider to assess each situation and determine if the conditions are safe and legal to filter – it’s an option, not a requirement to filter,” stated Col. Packard. “It is also the responsibility of every motorist to share the road. Drive with etiquette and with the law in mind. Respecting each other and driving without distractions will make all of our commutes faster and safer.”

Changes to road rules take time to catch up with the vast motoring public. However, Coloradoans need to know that lane filtering is not new; it is just new to Colorado. Limited forms of filtering are already legal in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Montana and Utah. California is the only state that permits lane splitting.



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