It’s been a wild legislative season for Coloradans and there are two key bills that will become law that will affect riders: Lane Filtering and the Mobile Electronic Devices & Motor Vehicle Driving (AKA: Distracted Driving and/or Hands-Free Driving ) bills. We want to take a bit of time to explain what that means so you are ready for the upcoming changes.

Motorcycle Lane Filtering in Colorado

This new law is definitely shaking things up and we found that right out of the gate, even news agencies were calling it “lane splitting” and sharing other inaccuracies about what this means on the road.

In the video above, Scott O’Sullivan shares the critical components regarding SB24-079 for riders to know. As well, we encourage you to review the signed act. This law is intended to allow riders to, in stopped traffic, to move forward between traffic to avoid being rear-ended by other vehicles. Then, when traffic moves again (say, the light turns green), the motorcycle rider who is naturally able to accelerate faster than the cars on either side, does so and then safely moves into a lane as usual.

Here are the details regarding legal lane filtering:
  • It starts on August 7th, 2024 – There is a period between now and August where the state will release educational information to the public about how the law works for riders as well as educating auto drivers about what to expect. Don’t start filtering before August 7th.
  • Filtering is only for those on 2-wheels – Sorry trikes, Spyders, and those with side-cars. This law isn’t for you.
  • Traffic must be at a full stop – This specifically excludes lane splitting where motorcycles are able to ride between lanes of moving traffic.
  • Move at 15 MPH or less – When you filter, do it slowly and carefully. Exceeding 15 MPH is illegal.
  • Conditions must be safe – It is your responsibility as a motorcycle rider to ensure that there is enough space between lanes to filter.
  • You may not:
    • Pass on the right shoulder
    • Pass on the farthest right-hand lane (if the highway is not limited access)
    • Pass in a lane of traffic moving in the opposite direction
  • The law expires on September 1, 2027 – this is a testing period. Statistics will be reviewed and if they show excessive abuse or that lives were not saved, the law goes away.

It’s important that we, as motorcycle riders, educate our auto driving friends about this law and the difference between lane filtering and lane splitting. Lane splitting, when motorcycles move between lanes in moving traffic, is still illegal in Colorado. There are drivers who are extremely nervous about this change and there are others who are angry. The more we can explain that this isn’t a license for irresponsible riding, but a way to save lives, the better.

If you have ideas how we can help in this process, let us know!

Colorado Department of Transportation Motorcycle Lane Splitting Graphic
Colorado Highway Patrol rules for motorcycle lane filtering

Distracted Driving / Hands-Free Driving Law

Technically called the Mobile Electronic Devices & Motor Vehicle Driving law, it prohibits any individual who is operating a motor vehicle from using an electronic device when driving unless they are using a hands-free accessory.

There are exceptions for electronic device use including when individuals need to report an emergency to state or local authorities, first responders, and when an individual is in a vehicle that is parked.

You can read the final Act here.

Thank you, one and all, who helped get this law passed in Colorado. See Scott’s video above thanking the individuals and organizations who helped pass this law.