For most riders in the U.S., lane splitting is considered illegal, unless you’re lucky enough to either live or be riding in one of the few places where it is (hello, California). While a lot of riders wish that wasn’t the case, here in mid-February, 2023, it unfortunately is. That said, more states seem to consider legislation each year that re-examines the possibilities of lane splitting—or, at the very least, lane filtering.
On January 17, Colorado state representative Ron Weinberg introduced a bill in the first regular session of the 74th General Assembly of the State of Colorado that could affect the status of motorcycle lane splitting within the state. At the time of writing, lane splitting is currently illegal in Colorado, just as it is in most other U.S. states. To be clear, this bill does not, in and of itself, seek to make lane splitting legal.
Instead, HB 23-1059 seeks to fund a feasibility study to determine what a safe lane splitting law for Coloradans might look like. If passed according to the bill as it is currently written, the study would be conducted jointly by the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Colorado State Patrol.
The bill is titled “A Bill for an Act Concerning Studying Permitting Motorcycles to Drive Around Motor Vehicles Traveling in the Same Direction.” It specifically refers to this practice in the bill’s text as “lane splitting,” not “lane filtering.”
However, it’s worth noting that in an interview about this bill with local news outlet 9News, Colorado state representative Weinberg stated that “Lane splitting would be for motorcyclists themselves in between traffic at lower speeds of 40 miles per hour.” At this time, there is no such speed limit specification in the text as written—but after all, that’s what amendments are for.
The text of the bill requests a study that would, at a minimum, identify and analyze potential benefits and drawbacks of lane splitting, as well as safety issues. Those responsible for conducting the study must submit a report to the Colorado House of Representatives about their findings no later than December 31, 2023. If enacted as written, the bill would also be repealed effective on June 30, 2024—at the end of the current legislative session.
This bill’s official status within the Colorado state legislature is listed as having been Introduced and is currently Under Consideration. If passed, either as written or in an amended fashion, it could potentially pave the way for lane splitting to become legal in the Centennial State.