Lane-Splitting. It’s the practice of riding a motorcycle between rows of stopped or slow-moving traffic. You probably know that it’s been legal in California for many years, but what you may not know is that it’s explicitly or implicitly illegal in every other U.S. state.

But what about Texas? After all, Texas prides itself for being filled with rugged individualists who don’t want government telling them what to do. If you’re not hurting anyone – indeed, lane-splitting on a motorcycle reduces travel time for motorcyclists and reduces congestion by encouraging motorcycle commuting, so it’s actually a public good – why would the Great State of Texas ban it?

Well, the truth is that it’s not really illegal, but it’s not a good idea to try it, either. Current Texas law requires drivers of all vehicles – including motorcyclists – to use a separate lane to pass other road users, so you could be cited for an illegal pass. Do it too fast and you could be cited for speeding or reckless driving as well!

When faced with this mess, Texans on bikes have to suck it up and wait in line in the heat with everybody else.

Some confusion surrounding lane-splitting still exists in Texas. In December 2016, State Senator Kirk Watson (D) introduced Senate Bill 288, which would have allowed lane-splitting in Texas, so long as the rider was travelling in traffic moving slower than 20 mph and was going no more than 5 mph faster than other road users. Unfortunately, the bill failed to make it from the committee to the floor of the Senate for a vote, which means it’s likely dead. Currently, there is no word about its reintroduction, according to the Senator’s office.

News of the bill’s introduction and referral to the Texas Senate’s Transportation committee sparked a spate of lane-splitting among motorcyclists. Unfortunately for them, the practice is still illegal in Texas, and many riders were awarded with citations, despite the pending legislation.

So what can you do? Exercise your rights as a motorcyclist! Join the AMA – which doesn’t not support lane-splitting – as well as other rider’s groups in Texas that are working to convince the public and politicians that lane-splitting is safe and saves time for everyone. Ride safe!