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Is Lane Splitting Legal In Arizona?

Read on for everything you need to know about lane splitting in Arizona, including whether it's legal and how a new law impacted the practice in AZ.

evident Editorial Team
August 30, 2023
Phoenix landscape

Navigating through the maze of traffic-clogged roads can be challenging for motorcyclists, inspiring them to explore innovative ways to maintain efficiency and safety on the road. One such maneuver that has stirred both curiosity and controversy is lane splitting. As motorcycle enthusiasts seek faster routes through traffic congestion, it's important to understand the intricacies of this practice, especially in the context of different states' laws.

Is lane splitting legal in AZ in 2023? The short answer is no, but recent changes to Arizona traffic laws have caused confusion. In this article, we'll explain the current state of lane splitting in Arizona, what laws recently changed, and everything else you need to know about whether you can split lanes in AZ.

Key Takeaways

What is Lane Splitting?

Lane splitting (sometimes called white-lining or stripe-riding) is a maneuver typically practiced by motorcycle riders. It involves navigating between two traffic lanes or adjacent lines or rows of cars moving in the same direction.

Lane splitting can be a method for motorcyclists to make efficient progress through congested road conditions rather than staying in the same lane. 

man, motorcycle

There's a related but different maneuver to lane splitting called lane filtering, which is a similar practice but refers specifically to motorcycles moving between traffic at stoplights or situations involving stopped traffic. While the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they are different practices and are treated differently under state laws. 

People sometimes also confuse lane sharing, which typically refers to more than one motorcycle riding side by side within a lane.

Although lane splitting can allow motorcyclists to navigate more efficiently through congested traffic, lane splitting can be controversial due to safety concerns. Some drivers view it as risky, while some motorcyclists argue it can reduce traffic congestion and improve rider safety by reducing the risk of getting rear-ended in heavy traffic. 

Is Lane Splitting Legal in Arizona?

gavel, judge

The simple answer to the question, "Is lane splitting legal in Arizona?" is no. As of the time of writing, lane splitting is illegal in Arizona.

To date, the only state to legalize lane splitting is California, despite varying opinions about the maneuver’s safety. 

Note that there has also been some confusion lately about whether lane splitting is legal in Arizona due to recent changes in the law, but the relevant law and riding maneuver covered by those changes was lane filtering, not lane splitting.

If you have specific questions about lane splitting in Arizona, or have been in a motorcycle accident, consider speaking with a motorcycle accident lawyer promptly.

Is Lane Filtering Legal in Arizona?

Part of the confusion about whether lane splitting is legal in Arizona stems from a new law regarding lane filtering. So, is lane filtering legal in Arizona? Yes, under certain circumstances. 

As of September 2022, motorcyclists may lane filter under certain conditions, such as:

  • The motorcyclist travels no more than 15 miles per hour
  • The motorcyclist is on a road with at least two lanes of traffic and where the posted speed limit is 45 miles per hour or less
  • The motorcyclist cannot pass other vehicles on either the shoulder or the median

So while lane splitting is illegal in Arizona, lane filtering is now legal when done under the conditions specified by the law. By making the change, Arizona joins California, Utah, and Montana as the only states where lane filtering is legal. 

FAQs About Lane Splitting in Arizona

When did lane splitting become legal in Arizona?

Remember, lane splitting is not legal in Arizona. Recent changes in Arizona law made lane filtering, a similar but different practice, legal under certain circumstances. 

Those changes took effect last year, so lane filtering became legal in Arizona in September 2022. But lane splitting remains illegal in Arizona.

Which states legalize lane splitting?

California is currently the only state to legalize lane splitting. Arizona is the fourth state to legalize lane filtering -- along with California, Montana, and Utah -- after recent changes to Arizona traffic laws. 

And state laws can change -- Colorado is considering a law to authorize a study into the possibility of allowing lane splitting in the state.

But lane splitting is not legal in Arizona as of 2023, or in any other state, except for California. 

The Final Word on Lane Splitting in Arizona

So, can you lane split in Arizona? No, lane splitting is legal in Arizona despite a new Arizona law addressing lane filtering.

Lane filtering is legal in Arizona under certain conditions, but motorcycles cannot split lanes in Arizona while traffic is moving. 

While Arizona may not allow lane splitting currently, laws can change, and staying informed is essential. But regardless of the legalities, motorists should always remember that safety should be paramount.

Ride responsibly, respect local traffic laws, and consider the well-being of all road users when you hit the road.