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State lawmaker wants a study on motorcycle lane splitting

The potential law would allow motorcyclists to pass traffic by driving between two lanes of vehicles.

DENVER — If Rep. Ron Weinberg, R-Loveland, gets his way, motorcyclists would be allowed to weave between cars in traffic.

But he’d have to wait for the results of a statewide safety study first.

Weinberg is sponsoring House Bill 23-1059, which would initiate a study by the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Colorado State Patrol. Weinberg told 9NEWS that the study is estimated to cost about $40,000.

“Lane splitting would be for motorcyclists themselves in between traffic at lower speeds of 40 miles per hour,” he said.

If the study finds a feasible law for Colorado and the state legislature passes it, Colorado would join 5 other states that allow motorcyclists to operate outside the bounds of traffic lanes.

The practice would allow a motorcyclist to pass motor vehicles by riding on a lane line, a practice some motorcyclists already do illegally in Colorado.

Weinberg said the purpose of the bill would be to allow motorcyclists to keep cool on extremely hot days.

“In the summer months when people are typically riding motorcycles anyway, it’s an oven out there at 100 degrees,” he said. “Even if it's 90 [degrees], the road is giving off temperatures upwards of 15+…you think of a dog trapped in a car, it’s the same concept.”

“Anybody who decides to wear motorcycle gear…or even if not… if they don’t have constant wind against them at a regular basis – it’s steaming hot and they’re sweating and they’re dying.”

Weinberg also cited a safety study out of California, which also allows lane splitting.

“It proved to show by the California Highway Patrol that it was safer for the motorcycle because they could legally react on the road when there’s a hazard,” he said.

Weinberg said law enforcement agencies, which have warned about lane splitting in the past, are neutral on the bill.

“Let’s trust the state patrol, as well as CDOT to do a study on this and see if we can even have it viable and safe.”

California, Utah, Montana, Hawaii and Arizona allow some form of lane splitting in state law. The practice is currently illegal in Colorado.


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