Step aside lane splitting and filtering, make way for shoulder surfing!

Some places allow lane filtering, others allow lane splitting, and then others forbid both—except on full moon nights and on Fridays the 13th. The list of of what motorcyclists can and cannot do can be confusing, especially if you regularly travel to different states. Ruling changes as you go.

In Hawaii, authorities have been debating allowing riders to practice lane filtering, while lane splitting is considered illegal. After much debate, Hawaiian riders will get neither: they get shoulder-surfing instead.

For people who don't ride, the concept of zipping between lines of slow-moving cars or of riding past everyone to be first off when the light turns green can sound complicated. That is why after a long debate about whether or not motorcyclists should be able to filter through traffic at stop lights in the state of Hawaii, it was decided that the practice would remain illegal.

Instead, the authorities evaluated another option: allowing two-wheel motorcycles to travel on the shoulder in designated areas, when there is congestion.

In Hawaii, the lanes are narrow, which makes lane splitting and filtering a greater concern. The motion was approved, however, Governor David Ige was initially against the idea, stating that the shoulder lane was reserved for stopped vehicles and emergency services. He considered that allowing motorcyclists to surf the shoulder would equate to higher risks of accidents.

Despite the Governor's initial intention to veto the motion, on July 12th, 2018, it was passed by default, without the Governor's signature. In Hawaii, any bill left unsigned and un-vetoed automatically becomes a law. Riders will be allowed on the shoulder on roads of at least two lanes in each direction and with a shoulder lane wide enough for a vehicle to circulate safely.

This experiment will also serve as an indication of whether this kind of measure concretely helps the flow of traffic or not. In case Hawaii in itself wasn't a good enough reason to go visit the islands on two wheels, here's one more.

Sources: Revzilla, Hawaii State Legislature