Minnesota Legalizes Lane Filtering

Lane Splitting Lane Filterning
Minnesota has legalized lane filtering, allowing motorcyclists to filter through traffic. Photo by Kevin Wing.

This month, Minnesota has become the sixth state in the U.S. to pass legislation allowing lane filtering, aka lane splitting.

Along with the lane-sharing law, which allows motorcyclists to filter through traffic “at not more than 25 miles per hour and no more than 15 miles per hour over the speed of traffic,” Minnesota has also added punishments for drivers who impede motorcyclists.

As shown by reactions to our recent post about Colorado passing lane-filtering legislation last month, the topic of lane sharing remains controversial. Data indicates that lane sharing reduces motorcycle accidents and decreases the severity of injuries in collisions, especially in rear-end accidents. But some motorists in places where lane sharing is not the norm are skeptical of the practice, even though it’s common on most of the world’s roads.

For an in-depth look at the practice of lane sharing, read “Split Decision: Are Lane Splitting and Lane Filtering Safe?” by Eric Trow. For more about the new legislation in Minnesota, read the AMA’s press release below.


Minnesota Passes Historic Lane-Filtering Legislation

With the signing of HF 5247 into law by Gov. Tim Walz (D) on Friday, May 24, Minnesota became the sixth state to legalize lane filtering.

Minnesota is now the easternmost state to legalize lane filtering and joins California, Utah, Montana, Arizona, and Colorado — which also signed filtering into law this year — as states that permit lane filtering.

“With this new ability to filter through slow-moving traffic and at stoplights, riders in Minnesota will benefit from increased safety on the open road,” AMA Central States Representative Nick Sands said. “The recent successes of lane-filtering legislation passing into law in Colorado and Minnesota signal excellent momentum for our efforts in that space, and the overall well-being of our road-riding members.”

As part of a supplemental budget bill — which impacted several departments, including the Minnesota Department of Transportation — motorcyclists in Minnesota will now be allowed to filter through traffic “at not more than 25 miles per hour and no more than 15 miles per hour over the speed of traffic in relevant traffic lanes.” Written by Sen. Scott Dibble (D-61) and Reps. Frank Hornstein (D-61A), Brad Tabke (D-54A), and Erin Koegel (D-39A), this section of the bill will take effect on July 1, 2025.

The legislation’s success came after AMA member and BMW MOA treasurer Phil Stalboerger told his story of being rear-ended on a motorcycle while in traffic to several legislators who wanted to find a way to prevent further accidents from happening.

“After telling my story to a lot of people and educating people on what lane filtering means for the motorcycle community, it’s very rewarding seeing this legislation pass,” Stalboerger said. “There was a nice rally cry from the motorcycle community, clubs, small businesses, and others saying that ‘yes,’ we want this. The passage of this legislation illustrates grassroots advocacy at its finest.”

In addition to the lane-filtering aspects, HF 5247 also added punishments for drivers that impede motorcyclists on the open road, stating that “an operator of a motor vehicle must not intentionally impede or attempt to prevent the operation of a motorcycle” when filtering.

The AMA remains supportive of all efforts regarding the legalization of lane filtering, as its well-documented success in other states, in addition to support from several studies, indicate that it’s an effective way to keep motorcyclists safe on the road.

The AMA’s position on lane filtering, as well as lane splitting, can be found on the AMA website.

To stay up-to-date on the latest legislative news, visit the AMA Government Action Center webpage.

44 COMMENTS

      • I don’t think we’ll change their mind but moderators should allow that comment so that we can rebuttle it.

      • These are the same people that early merge in construction and then get upset/won’t let people in who used both lanes up to the close point. Even tho everyone correctly should to minimize the backup.

    • So that’s a misunderstanding of the geometries. A motorcycle splitting the lane will get ahead of you. But since it isnt likely going to the same exit, it will never slow you down. At stop lights, they accelerate much quicker (due to weight) and mostly dissapear out of your way. Even when they are getting in front of you. They are dissapearing from in front of the traffic behind you…so every time your car isnt first in line at the light, its effectively a win for you.

    • Yeah… this is gonna work out real well for bikers. As if they are not hated enough already this is a whole new road rage call. Most drivers wont even know about this stupid new law and make those quick last second lane changes anyway – right in front of Mr. Lane Filter lol. Oh well they got what they wanted 👍

  1. Let’s hope that:
    a) motorcyclists don’t abuse this new law, such as by swerving in front of larger vehicles, causing them to have to take evasive action, or, having gained a forward position in traffic, being sluggish in taking off at fresh green lights;
    b) drivers of four-plus wheeled vehicles learn about and accept the new law;
    c) drivers of four-plus wheeled vehicles don’t get envious or jealous of the freedom and flexibility afforded motorcyclists by this new law and act inappropriately, such preventing motorcyclists from moving to the front at a red light, racing to regain their “lead” at fresh green lights, or engaging in other mean-spirited or dangerous behavior.
    While operation at traffic lights is clear, I’m particularly concerned about behavior at un-signaled three- or four-way stops. I don’t know if the law addresses it specifically, but I can see that drivers of four-plus wheeled vehicles might not take kindly to motorcyclists breezing through and “stealing their turn”. It would help to have formal clarification on this point.

    • I hate to say it, but yes. There will be occasions when a rider does flaunt the new law. Just as drivers of cars continually flaunt rules of the road beneficial to automobile operators. It’s a numbers game, people. Auto’s and trucks outnumber motorcycles. It’s pretty obvious. Try paying attention. Just cuz you drive a car, doesn’t mean you’re above motorcyclists. What’s the problem here? If you want the perceived benefits of riding a motorcycle, join the club !!! It’s not exclusive, anyone can join.

    • The law does address 3 and 4 way stops, basically if it is single lane there is no lane share or lane filtering, needs to be 2 or more lanes is what I get from what I’ve read.

  2. Lane filtering and lane splitting are NOT the same thing, like the beginning of the article stated…. Splitting is done at speeds, like on a highway. I’m pretty sure it’s still only California that allows that. Filtering is done at intersections or roads where vehicles are coming to a stop and you “filter” between them at low speed up to the front of the line.

  3. Now that forward-thinking legislators are making intelligent, forward-thinking “laws”, it is now their responsibility to educate the narrow minded, uneducated, bigoted, arrogant, unskilled operators of 2 to 5 ton vehicles about new, said “laws”. Please also feel free to actually enforce and punish those who purposefully act out against said “law”. Both riders and drivers. It’s only fair, right?

  4. Dibble and Hornstein; the two Mn legislators who brought us the most expensive, ill-concived
    light rail project ever, the train to Eden Prairie. When their bad ideas fail, they always find someone else to blame. Right now it’s the Met Council, the group they used to praise. What, or who, is next?

    • The good news is, now you have a choice. You can ride like you always have. Others who want to adapt and embrace the new law, can if they CHOOSE to. I’ve been riding for 37 years and I will definitely choose to embrace this new practice when it appears prudent and safe to do so.

      This practice has been used for decades in many, many parts of the world and it’s been proven to be safer for motorcyclists.

  5. So glad to see MN legislators continue to focus on such important issues while so many Minnesotans continue to struggle with housing, food and transportation. How about looking for some real solutions for a change? Hint: additional taxes and unchecked spending are not real solutions.

  6. So if traffic is backed up 3 miles for road construction, motorcycles can just drive to the front. Can cars drive on the shoulders to do the same. Can motorcycles pass in right turn only lanes? Can of worms opened!

    • You’re thinking is just selfish. They’re not making your position in line any worse and it’s potentially removing some traffic in the way.

  7. Why ? Just why ?
    I have been riding the street every year since 1968. What am I missing out on ? There is NO NEED for this change.
    Make cell phone use a real enforceable,real punishable act. Enforce speeding and reckless driving. We have zero need for this, ride and be a patient rider like we all deserve.

  8. Actually, I prefer this law, as when a motorcycle is ahead or behind me, I find myself nervous and more concerned about his/her well-being. Move them right along and let them pass go!
    I would not want them ahead of me as you never know what idiot behind you is not paying attention and rear ends you into the motorcyclists. Be on a bike when that happens and you’ll wish for this new law. No I do not drive or ride motorcycles.

  9. It is great that we can do this. California had reductions in accidents with lane splitting. In stopnand gobit will be safer then waiting to be rear ended. Cars do need to make sure that keep look out for bikers. This may also increase riders because they will see bikers getting places sooner.

  10. The only thing about this law that makes me nervous is if a motorcycle rider is going 25(the max the law allows) and a car ahead swerves because of road debris or something, i an afraid a motorcycle could get hit or hit that swerving car in an unfortunate case of bad timing. People have to swerve all the time in the cities. Pothole city could be the areas nickname. I consistently have to avoid sharp metal items that have fallen off other vehicles. I just think this adds one more thing to worry about.

  11. I just moved to MN from So. Cal about 6 months ago. I’ve been reading the comments above and it amazes me how narrow minded people can really be. Lane splitting and sharing is a proven law that makes the road safer for EVERYONE when there are motorcyclist around. Some speak of abuse… that’s funny…what is there in this world that no one abuses one way or another…When on a motorcycle not only does one have to pay attention to what we are doing but we have to be extra wary of what other people are doing around us. Most people don’t notice that there are motorcyclist around when they are, so this new law helps to prevent accidents more then we realize.

  12. I wonder how many accidents involving motorcycles there will be? Minnesota like California have too many people who use their cellphone while driving and now they have motorcyclist’s that they can hit because they don’t have their minds on what they are doing?

  13. This is already being abused. I see them on the freeway going well over the speed limit when there is no “traffic”. I love how they twist it to say it will be safer for bikers, really will it? If the concern is getting hit from behind, then the law could have been written differently the scooting in and out of “traffic”. Are there truly studies showing this is safer, highly doubt it. Prove me wrong, someone.

  14. I have been riding bikes since 1974.
    I have been rear ended sitting at a light ,5 times.
    After the last one I decided to never let that happen again and I have been lane splitting ever since
    . I would rather get a ticket or make someone mad than take a ride in the ambulance.
    Becouse some one saw the truck in front of me but did not see me.

  15. I have ridden motorcycles since 1967 and Lane splitting and filtering are ideas that are completely insane. People once again proving how stupid humans can be.

  16. Been splitting and filtering for years outside the US. The stats is solid, it cuts down on rear-end fatalities and injuries significantly. Side swipes from changing lanes are much less lethal than rear ends for us, statistically. We’ll done, MN. Do it if you feel safe and want to, otherwise don’t.

  17. California resident here. Lane filtering and splitting for 20 years. I feel safer knowing I have the option of removing myself from the possibility of getting rear ended. I’m fortunate to be in a state where the majority of the motorists on the road are familiar with this and even will move over a bit to allow us to pass safely. I echo the sentiment that you can choose to participate in this or not. Your choice, but to label this as “stupid”, etc.. is just ignorance. Once MN motorists get used to seeing this in real life the backlash will go away. All of you long timers will simply follow the herd and enjoy the privilege and “freedom” of lane filtering. It has been great seeing more states adopt this recently. Let’s hope the local agencies do a good job of educating the masses to ensure best practices.

  18. My 2 cents…..
    I was rear ended 4 days after I purchased my first motorcycle over 40 years ago.
    That was on a Honda 750 Saber.
    If lane fitering had been legal at that time I might have been able to avoid it.
    But as a new rider at that time, and a saftey course under my belt I managed to pull into the intersection to lessen the impact. I was checking my mirrors and saw it coming.
    40 years later I ride a Goldwing often with my wife as the passenger.
    For me its a toss up between being seen at a stop or trying to filter my 850 lb bike plus riders through stopped traffic.
    Are we that visible on a black bike with a red jacket / Red helmet and a high visible vest ?
    Riding between vehicles at a slow speed in there blind spot hoping they will adopt the new laws.
    Unfortunatley in Canada we do not have this option.
    Travelling to Minnisota this weekend. Think I will just observe and decide….
    Options are always good, you decide and stop telling others what they should or should not do.
    Oh wait, I just told someone what to do ! 🙂

  19. You advocates of lane sharing or lane splitting should stop referring to the practice as “safer.” For one thing there is inherent risk in riding, so motorcycling isn’t safe to begin with. One way we minimize that risk to to leave a space cushion. Lane splitting or filtering eliminates space cushion, thereby increasing risk, a syllogistic given. The very premise of filtering is to ride to the head of the line at a traffic light and accelerate ahead of traffic when the light turns green, a dangerous practice. Something not mentioned so far in this discussion: Far too many motorcyclists run with loud pipes, for whatever reason. I can just visualize any number of these riders filtering up to the light and blipping the throttle into the ears of the adjacent driver; that will go over well, especially with a driver already fuming at the motorcyclist’s sense of entitlement for, in his eyes, flouting the common rules of the road. Legal or not, that perception among drivers is not likely to change, further undermining our image and likely increasing the danger to ourselves.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here