At Galperin & Associates, our legal team continually tracks legislative changes that may affect the strategies our Colorado clients use to seek compensation for personal injury or wrongful death claims.

One significant legislative update that affects all motorists is the new motorcycle lane filter law, which goes into effect on August 7, 2024. This follows Governor Jared Polis’ approval of a three-year pilot project for this traffic maneuver, outlined in the recently ratified bill, SB24-0749.

When will Colorado motorcyclists be allowed to use lane filters?

As of the specified date, Colorado motorcyclists will have the legal right to lane filter under these circumstances:

  • The adjacent motor vehicle must be stopped.
  • The roadway must have lanes that are wide enough to safely pass.
  • The motorcyclist must maintain a speed of no more than 15 mph while filtering.
  • Overall traffic conditions should support the safe operation of the motorcycle during the maneuver.

In addition, the new legislation states that motorcyclists are prohibited from filtering:

  • On the right shoulder of the highway.
  • On the right side of the far right lane on non-limited access roads.
  • Against the flow of traffic in any lane.

During the trial period, the Colorado Department of Transportation is charged with collecting and analyzing safety data to evaluate the effectiveness of this policy. The provision is set to expire on September 1, 2027, unless further legislative action is taken.


Exploring the nuances between lane filtering and lane splitting: Safety Perspectives

Lane filtering is defined as a motorcycle maneuver in which the rider navigates between lanes of stopped vehicles. While comprehensive studies of lane filtering are limited due to restrictions on vehicle speeds, it is generally considered to be safer than lane splitting.

Lane splitting involves a motorcyclist moving between lanes of moving traffic. This practice has been studied extensively by the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center at UC Berkeley.

Key findings from the UC Berkeley study include

  • Lane splitting can be considered relatively safe if the surrounding traffic is traveling at or below 50 mph and the motorcyclist does not exceed the traffic speed by more than 15 mph.
  • A speed differential of more than 15 mph above the surrounding traffic significantly increases the risk of accident and injury.
  • Lane splitting is reported as a factor in approximately 17% of motorcycle crashes.
  • Lane splitting has been shown to reduce the incidence of rear-end collisions.

When this practice is introduced, both motorists and motorcyclists may require an adjustment period, which could result in an initial increase in accidents due to drivers changing lanes without looking for motorcycles.

Legal Guidance and Safety Advocacy in Colorado

All Colorado drivers should familiarize themselves with these changes in order to contribute to safer roadways. If you or a loved one has suffered a motorcycle accident due to someone else’s negligence, our experienced Denver motorcycle accident attorneys at Galperin & Associates are ready to help. Contact us at (720) 501-3451 for a free consultation, or visit us online to learn more about how we can help you navigate your legal rights and remedies after an accident.

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Written and Legally Reviewed ByJacob Galperin

Jacob Galperin is a litigation attorney with an emphasis in personal injury. He has represented hundreds of injured victims and has been able to recover millions in compensation for his clients.

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