Why Won’t Colorado Make Lane-Splitting Legal?

Not long ago we talked to you about a bill in California that would make lane-splitting legal. Unfortunately, that bill stalled out in the legislative process, though it showed much promise. Since then Colorado lawmaker Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt proposed a lane-splitting bill in our beautiful state, which would have kept many motorcyclists safer in dense traffic situations. However, the Colorado House Committee struck it down.

Why Won’t Colorado Make Lane-Splitting Legal?Realities Ride 2013

The measure failed in an 8-5 vote despite support from the motorcycling community and scientific studies that proved lane-splitting to be a much safer alternative to motorcyclists sitting in traffic. The study performed by UC Berkley examined 6,000 motorcycle accidents and found that motorists commonly just missed motorcyclists sitting in traffic, which led to rear-end collisions. Despite this evidence and massive support from the motorcycling community, the bill was still voted down.

The Colorado State Patrol sent a legislative liaison, David Hall, to the session. He argued against the passing of the bill and cited Colorado drivers were not used to lane-splitting, which would make it unsafe. However, some motorcycle riders feel like their safety is being neglected for the sake of driver convenience.

The bill would have allowed motorcyclists stuck in traffic moving 5 mph or slower to move into the space between cars in order to keep moving forward—those motorcyclists were also limited to riding at 15 mph when moving between cars. This would have reduced traffic congestion, and removed motorcyclists from dangerous situations that could lead to rear-end accidents, but for now riders must wait for the next lane-splitting bill to be submitted to the legislature.

If the issue can pass in other states, then it can also pass in ours, so keep following our blog for more updates, and be sure to speak up to your representatives in Denver. Motorcyclists may not make up the majority of road users, but our safety is just as important as theirs.

10 thoughts on “Why Won’t Colorado Make Lane-Splitting Legal?”

  1. Motorcyclist need to ban together and overcome this archaic obstacle. Basically every country on earth allows filtering, and the country that has the widest, biggest roads does not. Its safe, common sense practice. What can be done to move this forward again?

    1. Thanks for the comment! It is amazing that our country isn’t more friendly to the safety needs of its motorcyclists, but thankfully we live in a land where speaking out can make all the difference. Contacting your state representatives and senators is a good way to get the ball rolling, but spreading the word is just as important. Motorcyclists are a minority in this country and we have to make sure our needs aren’t neglected by speaking up and being heard.

  2. I live in California where lane splitting is legal. Cant tell you how much of a win this is for us! The reason im here and posting is because my husband and I (both riders) want to move to CO and we are flabbergasted at the fact that a helmet is not mandatory but lane splitting is illegal. So absurd. Hoping when we make the move that we will be able to help get this bill passed to keep our fellow riders safe!

  3. I split lanes everyday for over 20 years to and from work in California’s Silicon Valley. 20 to 40 miles each way. Splitting is a Godsend to motorcyclists in stopped traffic, of which there is nothing but in the SF Bay Area. I’ll contact my Colorado representatives and am happy to give testimony for future bills.

    1. Thanks for the comment Frank! It’s great to see motorcyclists getting involved in the legislative process. That’s the only way to let lawmakers know what the people in our community needs.

  4. My first mode, and now current, of transportation, was two wheeled. It’s a natural fit for me. When I do drive it is a car but I’ve watched several moto vlogs on youtube and see the first hand benefits of the CA law and how the rest of the country is putting rider safety at risk. One of the guys I’ve watched and listened to is a police officer for L.A. and he rode for the dept. for a while (different unit now) and said splitting has helped him both as a civilian rider and when he was on duty. To me that’s a *huge* piece of solving this puzzle for CO.

    As a man powered biker, I support the move for splitting. I came up on a bike in slow moving traffic on I-25 and almost didn’t see him because he and his bike’s colors were the same to the vehicle in front of him. I felt so bad and it scared me. It made me extra cautious and aware, esp. during ‘riding season’. And in regards to helmets…I understand it can be safer for just eye protection when in town so you can hear better but I say if you go out on the open road be it interstate, US/CO highway or just county backroads, thats when you should be required to wear a helmet.

    1. Hi Terrance, thank you for the insight. Sharing your experiences will help others learn about the potential safety improvements lane-splitting/lane-sharing has to offer. As for the issue of helmets, here in Colorado, it is the personal freedom and choice as to when and where a helmet should be worn. Thank you for sharing how you would choose to use your helmet.

    1. Thanks for the comment Michael! Improving safety for riders everywhere should be a priority for everyone in Colorado, and if we speak out about safety issues riders face, then public officials can be informed about ways they can protect motorcyclists.

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