Montana becomes the third US state to legalize motorcycle lane splitting

Around the world, motorcycle lane-splitting can be a polarizing subject. Ask any motorcycle rider and they're likely be in favor of it. But ask a non-motorcycle rider, like car drivers, and they'll have strong opinions against it.

To clarify the argument, lane-splitting is using the same lane already occupied by another vehicle, while in motion hence, “splitting” the lane. Some may call it lane filtering, but that's something else entirely. Lane filtering is moving through vehicles that are stopped (not moving), such as at a red traffic light.

Whatever the case, here in the Philippines, both are technically and currently illegal.

It's a hot topic recently because motorcycle riders in France gathered by the thousands to stage a protest against their country’s decision to ban lane-splitting. Prior to the ban, it was technically illegal. However, it was widely tolerated and no specific fines or violations wer set. The new decision fines violators up to €135 (approximately PhP8,005), as well as three points on their licenses.

Lane-splitting in the US

While lane-splitting is widely tolerated across the globe like it is here, in the US, some states have already made the effort to make it legal and have put it into law.

In the US, the State of Montana, has just legalized lane-splitting for motorcycle riders and will become effective October 1, 2021. Montana governor, Greg Gianforte, has signed the bill into law, which was introduced to the state’s legislature last December 2020.

The new Montana lane-splitting law allows a motorcycle rider to split the lane or filter with other vehicles if:

A) The operator of a two-wheeled motorcycle is on a road with lanes wide enough to pass safely;

B) The overtaking motorcycle is not operated at a speed in excess of 20 miles an hour (32 kph) when overtaking the stopped or slow-moving vehicle; and

C) Conditions permit continued reasonable and prudent operation of the motorcycle while lane filtering.

Also, the new law defined lane-splitting as “the act of overtaking and passing another vehicle that is stopped or traveling at a speed not in excess of 10 miles an hour (16 kph) in the same direction of travel and in the same lane.”

Montana now joins Utah and California as the only 3 states in the US that have legalized lane-splitting.

Do you think it’s time for the Philippines to make lane-splitting legal too?