Texas Formally Outlaws Lane Splitting
New law becomes official Sept. 1
Photo by Kevin Wing
There are three topics that are big sources of contention between riders and non-riders, and even between motorcyclists: helmet requirements, loud pipes, and lane splitting. As of today, that last item becomes formally illegal in Texas.
Whether you call it lane splitting, sharing, or filtering, the practice of riding a motorcycle between other vehicles is commonplace in many parts of the world, but in the U.S., it is only considered legal in a few states. In other states, it’s officially outlawed, but in a lot of places, it falls into a bit of a gray area where it is generally considered illegal despite there being no law that specifically bars the practice.
That changes today, Sept. 1, in Texas, where a new law amends the Transportation Code that turns that gray area pitch black, formally making lane splitting illegal. Introduced earlier this year as House Bill 4122, the new law specifically makes it against the law to operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic, or for a motorcycle to pass another vehicle in the same lane.
The amendment also enshrines a motorcyclist to the full use of a lane and makes it illegal for another vehicle to crowd into it, though it also allows two (and only two) motorcycles to ride side-by-side in the same lane. And, of course, it allows an exception for police officers during the performing of official duties.