Colorado Legalizes Lane Filtering

Lane Splitting Lane Filterning
Colorado becomes the fifth state to legalize lane filtering, allowing motorcyclists to filter through stopped traffic. Photo by Kevin Wing.

Colorado has passed a bill to allow motorcycles to lane filter between stopped cars, becoming the fifth state to legalize it after California, Utah, Montana, and Arizona.

Lane sharing remains a controversial topic. In his article “Split Decision: Are Lane Splitting and Lane Filtering Safe?” Eric Trow references studies to show the effects of lane sharing in states where it is legal and found that the practice reduces the risk of rear-end collisions and reduces injuries, although it also introduces some new risks. You can find a deeper dive into the topic of lane sharing by reading Trow’s article.

Read “Split Decision: Are Lane Splitting and Lane Filtering Safe?” here

The Colorado bill goes into effect on Aug. 7, 2024, and it will allow motorcyclists to filter through stopped traffic at a speed of 15 mph or less. For more information on the bill, read the American Motorcyclists Association’s press release below.

Colorado Signs Motorcycle Lane-Filtering Legislation into Law

Colorado has become the fifth state to legalize lane filtering after Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed SB24-079 on April 4, allowing motorcycles to filter between stopped cars in traffic and at stoplights.

The bill passed through both the Colorado House and Senate behind strong bipartisan support. Colorado now joins California, Utah, Montana, and Arizona as states with lane-filtering legislation signed into law.

“The signing of SB24-079 is a significant win for motorcyclists in the state of Colorado,” AMA Central States Representative Nick Sands said. “With this new legislation, motorcyclists will now be allowed to filter through stopped traffic, giving riders the ability to legally remove themselves from vulnerable traffic situations before ever coming into contact with a distracted or inattentive driver.”

The bill — sponsored by Sens. Nick Hinrichsen (D-Pueblo) and Jim Smallwood (R-Douglas), as well as Reps. Javier Mabrey (D-Denver, Jefferson) and Ron Weinberg (R-Larimer) — will go into effect on Aug. 7, 2024. It will allow all motorcycles to pass stopped motor vehicles in the same lane. Motorcycles will be required to travel 15 miles per hour or less when filtering and will only be allowed to do so if the road has lanes wide enough to pass safely. Conditions must also allow for “prudent operation of the motorcycle while overtaking or passing.”

For the next three years, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) will collect safety data on lane filtering and issue a report to the Colorado General Assembly regarding the newly passed law.

The AMA continues to support efforts regarding lane-filtering legislation, as its success in several other states indicates its long-term viability in protecting motorcyclists on the open road.

To stay up to date on the latest lane filtering news, visit the AMA Action Center.

The AMA’s position on lane filtering, and lane splitting, can be found here.


  1. Motorcycle operators doing lane splitting is same as cutting the line. We did not put up with it in the lunch line. It is wrong and unfair. If I drive through those states and bikers lane split beside me I am going to make an emergency lane change so they can buy me a new paint job, or I may have to open my door to release a yellow jacket, cutting them off suddenly. If bikers dont like it, they can kiss my rear bumper. When the traffic is stopped, bikers need to wait their turn like everyone else. They are not going to jump the line or cut me off.

    • Well this is a dangerous and selfish take, and you’re a trash human. You’re taking about attempted murder here. Why should I stay stuck in traffic, behind your 4 wheeled, climate controlled car, with distracted and entitled drivers like you out there? That’s the real unfairness. Just know, you’ll probably be caught on a motorcyclists helmet/dash cam. Good luck in court!

    • So you want to do something illegal to prevent something legal. Hope you get charged with the crime you’ll be committing.

    • How is it cutting in line? That motorcycle will be long gone, and in no hinderance to you. Much safer to be out of the pack of distracted cars, for sure. Your jealousy shows – just get a bike license. I can help, I’m an instructor.

    • So you’re going to commit vehicular assault? And no, it is not like “cutting in the lunch line”. It is a matter of safety, and furthermore reduces traffic congestion. Less vehicles waiting at lights means less traffic. Less traffic means you get where you are going faster. I hope someone catches you on camera and you go to prison.

    • Ummm…AI generated comment? Can anyone really be this arrogant and ignorant? Well of course they can. This is today’s entitled America. I like how the “author” mentions lunch lines in school. We’re (at least us adults, anyway), not grade schoolers. You’re showing your true colors. We’re adults making adult decisions. If you can’t handle it, stay home.

    • Just hug the line and they won’t have room. I have been riding for 40+ years and it is almost as stupid as legalizing weed and Colorado has done that too. That whole damn state is crazy now.

    • This kind of redneck BS is what makes USA ridiculous all over the world. I am happy I live in Europe where lane filtering is commons sense and cars actually move over ‘Mozes and the splitting of the sea’ style and people actually have brains and use it.

    • Cute, because if you do that aggressive maneuver and cause damayor injury, YOU will be the one paying for a new motorcycle and someones hospital bills. So have fun with that!

    • Thank you for the road raging response. I now understand fully the evil of suv drivers in these Un-United States. Read the law. There is a huge difference between splitting lanes at high speed and moving smoothly at 15mph around stopped traffic. When you kill a motorcyclist because of your bad behaviour, you must be charged, fined and jailed accordingly. Learn to accept the fact that motorcycles are an energy efficient mode of transport. Leave the fuel and resource sucking suv at home or better yet, sitting to rot in the dealership parking lot. Either learn to drive a motorcycle, ride a bicycle, or You should take the train, pal. And everyone should live close to work. Eliminate the commute.

  2. This is a ridiculous law and dangerous.motorist are urged to watch out for motorcyclists and over 50 % of the time motor vehicle drivers are automatically accused it’s there fault when in fact it is the motorcyclist fault. There are good ones but the bad ones cause accidents by speeding , weaving in and out of traffic, not stopping at lights or stop signs. The law makers should be ashamed of themselves for making Colorado roads more Dangerous than they already are!

  3. yeah that makes total sense, so now during busy traffic times and when there are accidents that require cars to merg lanes, now we have to worry about some dumb person splitting cars in an imaginary lane. Because they don’t want to be hit.
    Well with Colorado being dual fault for traffic accidents, how does this affect cars. If Im sitting still or traveling 10 miles an hour and a motorcycle splits traffic but misjudges the distance and side swipes my vehicle; are you gonna tell me that is somehow my shared fault and my insurance rates go up??
    This is not well thought out at all. Insurance companies need to really look into this, because its going to be very bad, and no offense but all the politician that keep voting to follow in California’s footsteps on everything can all go to California because Colorado doesn’t need you.

  4. This law poses a grave risk to motorcycle riders as it may exacerbate incidents of road rage. As an individual who rides motorcycles, I have personally observed cars intentionally swerving in an attempt to impede lane splitting by motorcycles. Unfortunately, this legislation is likely to have unintended consequences. It is worth noting that Colorado drivers ranked second in the nation for aggressiveness last year. When motorcyclists feel threatened in such situations, it is not uncommon for them to react instinctively, and I must admit that I have done so myself. Under this law, motorcycle riders will now have the right to defend themselves against aggressive drivers in cars, potentially leading to situations where firearms are drawn and shots are fired into vehicles.

    • Granted, California has always allowed lane splitting and I have been doing so since I got a learner’s permit (at age 15 1/2, 1976) here so our populace may be a little more laid back. Hell, Californios have gotten to where they actually make room for us.

      Now, back in the 70’s and 80’s there was a bit of annimosity towards lane splitting amongst cagers but that’s been put away and since the state now has codified lane splitting here, there are also severe penalties for applying “Assault With A Deadly Weapon” aspect to openning car doors, pinching in etc.

      A process of effective PSA’s in the month leading up to the new law taking effect and procecutors actually taking action against road rage will all help.

    • Excellent point Mr Keith… road rage is a real thing. The best way for a motorcyclist to deal with that is to just twist the throttle and get away. Or use superior braking power by moving away. I would add that since the governing body has made the wise move by allowing such forward thinking safety measures. If they’re serious about it, might I suggest that they use those electronic billboards to continually educate cagers about the new law and to share the road. We’re all just tryin to get to where we wanna go safely and effectively. Perhaps if gubments encouraged more riders with nice incentives such as this legislation, more people would be inclined to ride, thus making this more commonplace, such making it safer, thus the fuel savings, thus the less-damaged infrastructure, thus a win-win for society as a whole. What a concept.

    • Wow, E sipes, take a chill pill dude. Cutting u off? I rode motorcycles for years in California and split lanes (that’s what it was called there) and never had a problem (so did the state troopers). Did it occur to you that a bike that gets past you isn’t another vehicle clogging up the traffic for everyone else. Try riding a motorcycle and u too won’t have to wait in line. What’s the difference with using the commuter lane? You hate them too? I think it’s a nice tradeoff for the risk we take riding with folks like you.

  5. So, having grown up in the motorcycle sport and industry here in California (riding dirt and street starting in the late 60’s) lane splitting has been the norm. It was never banned by state law and was left to the officers to determine if the rider was behaving in a safe and prudent manner. A few years back, the state codified that lane splitting is actually allowed by law and put a few limitations to help officers who indeed witnessed imprudent riding, something to actually take to court. It also gave the rider unfairly cited a means of defense.

    The reason for an interest by staes to impllement similar law is the simple fact that on an overall basis, the practice in the end can be a benefit to all motorists and allows motorcyclists to be able to avoid the dreaded cell phone pilot rear ending them and possible crush the rider against the next car. It has also been shown to improve traffic flow which benefits everyone by getting to their destination quicker.

    Currently lane slplitting is a long running part of the motoring culture not only in California but the European Continent, the UK and Ireland. In all these locations it has been proven that lane splitting isn’t more hazardous but less hazardous even though there are hazards to riding between cars but frankly, when done well, the new hazards are (in the end) less risky.

  6. It’s the splitting or white loning that happens when traffic is moving that makes people really mad at the idiots that do it.

  7. For those of you hating on lane splitting and making it about “waiting your turn”, please do some simple scientific research. Without it, when bikes are in line like everyone else, it makes the whole line longer and means longer waiting times for everyone. It will actually help traffic to flow more smoothly. Think of it as an added lane, vs cutting in line.

    Another example of this is ignorant people that think it’s “polite” not to use both lanes all the way up to a merge point. Why do you think signage telling drivers to do just that exists? 3 miles of single lane traffic vs 1 mile of single lane traffic is bad for everyone; it’s science.

    Lastly, yes there are bad riders and good riders just like bad drivers and good drivers and bad people and good people. Don’t be a bad person and throw hate at a group of people just because they ride bikes. Before jumping to anger, try riding first, with all the variables that can be devastating as a rider. Gain a little understanding and empathy please.

    • Exactly, it’s much more akin to some of the people waiting in line simply getting out of line, rather than new people cutting in front of you. If you’re waiting in line for something and 15% of the people just walk away, are you going to get mad? Or happy that you get to the front sooner?

    • We certainly don’t condone violence, threats, intimidation, or any such behavior, especially when aimed at motorcyclists who are abiding the law. E sipe’s comment illustrates the resistance of some drivers to lane splitting/filtering, and the sort of anger it inspires in those with a childish, selfish mindset (cutting in the lunch line, really?). Responses to E sipe’s comments by others clearly show how ridiculous, dangerous, and inappropriate this point of view is. A motorcyclist riding down the centerline in no way puts gridlocked drivers at a disadvantage (we’re not cutting “in” line, we’re riding “between” the lines of traffic), and in fact lane-splitting motorcyclists in sufficient numbers actually reduce traffic congestion, which benefits all drivers.

      For a deeper dive into the practice of lane splitting/filtering and its legality in other states, we recommend reading Eric Trow’s excellent feature, “Split Decision”:

  8. North Americans are ignorant people….just go to Spain and Italy at any city and you’ll see the beauty of line splitting

  9. Lane splitting works best if you have a narrow bike with no saddle bags. A luggage bag or box or trunk works great as does a tank bag (or both).
    Lane splitter in California 1969 through 1997. Now reside in a no lane splitting state – too bad for all concerned.

  10. True story from California; lane splitting between fast lane and middle lane in slow moving traffic (less than 10 mph) on Interstate 5 in LA north bound just before the Firestone exit with two bikes lane splitting in front of me: The first bike was a California highway patrolmen. A car from the middle lane cut off the highway patrolmen in an attempt to exit to the left at Firestone. The highway patrolmen turned the flashing lights on the car cutting him off lane splitting.
    Justice for motorcyclists!

  11. Coming from a Canadian perspective were lane splitting, filtering has never been a legal right.
    I see on a daily basis vehicle drivers slowing down at stop signs, not coming to a complete stop and drivers racing to beat the vehicle to there left through the roundabout.
    I have had good friends, all over the age of fifty with serious inguries from this and many other related accidents.
    We wait till mid April to hope that the rest of the driving public get the message that bikes are back on the road.
    I have taken refresher courses both one and two up to improve my driving skills.
    I did read Eric’s last article on lane filtering / splitting and learned alot.
    I forgot to mention that the first motorcycle accident I was in almost 40 years ago involved being rear ended at a stop light by an inatentive driver, this was well before cell phones were common place on the road. My driver training helped save my bacon that day.
    As long as we have people on the roads as forementioned, we will always be in harms way.
    Passing with a GoldWing with two up and full luggage is difficult enough when you have the full lane to pass others properly with curtious drivers on the road.
    Unfortunatly were I ride the driving puplic seems to be heading in a different direction.
    If I were to try and filter to the front of the line at my local stop light in a major Canadian city you would be adding me to the statistic list….. sad but true.


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