Lane filtering is an extremely common practice in the civilized world. The act of moving between lines of cars to pull up to the front of the queue at red lights is not only safer for riders, but it alleviates a lot of traffic congestion by making lines shorter for everyone. This is a practice that should be in place across the United States, but it is currently only legal in California, Montana, and Utah. There’s a long list of states with legalization bills on the books, and two more were just added; Arizona and Virginia.
The Arizona Senate Transportation and Technology Committee just passed SB1273 on to a vote. The bill needs to pass the full Senate and House before being passed along to the Governor, but at least some movement has been committed on the bill. I know if I were a rider in Phoenix, I’d really want to make sure that bill passed. There’s almost nothing worse than sitting in traffic on a hot, vibrating engine in triple-digit heat during the summer. Not to mention the added safety of being shuffled to the front instead of sitting at the tail end of a line of cars waiting to get rear-ended by a cager playing Wordle.
Arizona’s bill is very similar to the one recently legalized in neighboring Utah. The stipulations are pretty strict, as it would only legalize filtering on multi-lane surface streets with a speed limit 45 or lower. Furthermore, filtering is only allowed when surrounding traffic is completely stopped, and the rider cannot exceed 15 miles per hour. Even still, if you’re allowed to filter to the front of the line, you’re out in clear air when the light turns green, and that moving air feels a lot better.
Virginia’s HB838 is similar in effect, but as written is much more broad. This one allows lane filtering on any road with two lanes or more in either direction where traffic is travelling at speeds under 10 miles per hour. Filtering bikers would be allowed to ride at no more than 20 miles per hour. This effectively allows for low-speed lane splitting on highways as well as surface street filtering.
Apparently Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri and Texas are considering putting similar bills to committee. Oregon recently passed a lane splitting bill through both Senate and House, but it was killed by gubernatorial veto last year.