Montana Has Legalized Lane Splitting

Scooters and motorcycles filtering lanes in Bangkok traffic
Scooters and motorcycles filtering lanes in Bangkok traffic
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Three states down, forty-seven to go. With the passage of a new law, Montana will be the third state in this nation to allow lane splitting, or lane filtering. The law won’t go into effect until October, but will make riding in the state much easier and safer once it does.

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The entire text of the bill is one page long, with another page reserved for signatures to make it official. It passed both houses and was signed into law by governor Greg Gianforte, as written and unamended. The law allows two-wheeled riders the opportunity to pass when they are “on a road with lanes wide enough to pass safely”, not operating at more than 20 miles per hour, and when conditions allow for “reasonable and prudent operation” of the motorcycle. This all seems fair to me, honestly.

While lane splitting is handy for navigating stalled traffic on the highway, for example, my favorite use of this two-wheeled tool is when riding on surface streets with lots of traffic signals. Pulling up to the front of the line at a red light is not only a great time saver, but it prevents you from sitting at the tail end of a line of traffic waiting to get squished between the rear bumper of the car in front and the front bumper of the inattentive iPhone eyes driver behind. I would much rather suffer a glancing blow with a car trying to change lanes through me than a hard impact from a car behind not even touching the brake pedal.

As a resident Nevadan, I truly hope that my state is the next to allow the practice as Utah and California on either side already support lane filtering motorcycles. And please don’t take this as support for the asshole riders who zip through tiny gaps at 100 miles per hour on the freeway at night. I do not and will never support those riders in their endeavor to quickly end their own lives.

Jalopnik contributor with a love for everything sketchy and eclectic.

DISCUSSION

rigidjunkie
rigidjunkie

Montanan here, the header pic isn’t Montana doesn’t even look like America.

That said this makes sense in Bozeman and Missoula. Half of Bozeman moved from California in the past 18 months so that area should just follow California laws. They should also stay in Bozeman.

Also being debated is a law that would require a set amount of reflective clothing and a reflector and a light to ride a bicycle after dark.