Some states in the U.S. are taking steps to allow motorcyclists to lane split and filter, while others are working to put a stop to the practice. Texas has now positioned itself in the latter camp.
On September 1, lane splitting officially became illegal in the state of Texas. House Bill 4122 addresses operating motorcycles specifically, stating that a rider may not:
- Operate the motorcycle between lanes of traffic moving in the same direction.
- Pass a motor vehicle while in the same lane as the vehicle being passed.
There are really no “ifs” or “buts” or “you see, officers'' about the wording in the new law. If you’re planning a ride to the Texas Hill Country, River Road, or the Golf Coast, remember to stay in your lane.
It’s worth mentioning that lane splitting wasn’t legal in Texas even prior to this new law—but neither was it illegal. It was a gray area that’s now been made explicitly black-and-white.
Currently, California is the only U.S. state where lane splitting is legal. In addition, Arizona, Hawaii, Montana, and Utah allow lane filtering under certain slow traffic conditions.
Another 10 states currently stand where Texas until recently did, and have no laws explicitly allowing or prohibiting lane splitting, including:
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
Still others are considering legalizing lane splitting, filtering, or sharing but have not yet taken concrete action.