[UPDATE, September 23, 2022: The new Arizona state law that allows lane-filtering for two-wheeled motorbikes under very specific circumstances officially goes into effect on Saturday, September 24, 2022. The more riders and drivers that are aware of this change to Arizona state law, the safer everyone should be on the road.
The details of the law are outlined below, in our original piece from when the Arizona state legislature signed this bill into law in March, 2022. It does not allow lane splitting, but rather lane filtering, by motorbikes between traffic that is currently traveling at a speed of 15 miles per hour or less. Three-wheeled vehicles, such as trikes or sidecars, are specifically not included in this legal change.]
Original piece follows.
On March 24, 2022, Arizona governor Doug Ducey officially signed a bill into state law that legalizes lane filtering for two-wheeled motorcycles if certain conditions are met. Senate Bill 1273 previously passed through both the state House and Senate chambers with bipartisan legislative support, prior to arriving on the governor’s desk to be signed.
The bill was sponsored by Senator Tyler Pace, who clarified that lane filtering and lane splitting are not the same thing. This law will only for low-speed lane filtering in very specific situations as clearly outlined by the language in the bill. It was crafted to resemble a similar lane filtering initiative that became law in Utah in 2019.
According to the bill as written, amended, passed through both chambers of the State house, and signed into law, here’s the exact language used:
“The operator of a two-wheeled motorcycle may overtake and pass another vehicle that is stopped in the same direction of travel and in the same lane as the operator and may operate the motorcycle between lanes of traffic if the operator does all of the following:
1. Operates the motorcycle on a street that both:
a) Is divided into at least two adjacent traffic lanes in the same direction of travel.
b) Has a speed limit that does not exceed forty-five miles per hour
2. Travels at a speed that does not exceed fifteen miles per hour.
3. First ascertains that the movement can be made safely.”
Other provisions in the bill spell out the fact that, under Arizona state law, motorcycles are entitled to full use of a lane on the road. They may also ride two abreast—but no more than two can ride in this configuration across a single lane. Furthermore, motorcycles may not pass other vehicles within a single lane except in the specific situations outlined by the language above. Riding in between lanes is also not allowed by motorcycles in most situations, except in the specific circumstance outlined above.
It’s also important to note that this law specifically addresses two-wheeled motorcycles. Trikes and sidecars may not perform such maneuvers under any circumstances. That may seem like a common-sense issue, since these types of bikes are generally wider than most two-wheeled ones. However, the legislators made sure to include concrete terminology here for a reason. Hopefully, the momentum continues in other states to help protect riders from rear-end collisions that can seriously injure or kill us.