Lane Filtering Motorcycles and What it Means for Montana
Later this fall, don't throw yourself into a road rage when a motorcycle creeps past the side of your vehicle at a stoplight. Last week, Governor Greg Gianforte signed bill SB9 that will allow lane filtering for two-wheeled vehicles on Montana roads. Montana now becomes one of just three states that allow the technique, which is also legal in California and Utah. The new lane filtering law in Montana becomes effective October 1, 2021.
So what is lane filtering?
Essentially, lane filtering allows motorcycles to move forward between lanes of stopped vehicles, like when at a stoplight. Not to be confused with lane splitting or sharing, a somewhat similar law that allows motorcycles to share a lane with moving traffic.
The American Motorcycle Association endorses lane filtering, citing long-term research backing it's safety for riders. In a press release, Tiffany Cipoletti, on-highway government relations manager at the AMA stated,
With the signing of S.B. 9, Montanans have recognized the benefits of lane splitting, which allows motorcyclists the choice to filter in traffic when it is safe to do so.
The law says lane filtering in Montana may be performed when traffic is stopped, when there is sufficient room to do so safely, at under 20 mph and with "reasonable and prudent operation of the motorcycle." You can read the full bill HERE.
OPINION: Motorcyclists in Montana obviously support the new law, but I wouldn't be surprised if it draws the ire of some drivers who might feel like it's unfair that motorcycles get to basically "cut to the front of the line" in traffic. Here is my reminder to share to road.