Petition: Legalize Lane Filtering in Illinois

Illinois resident Michael Andersen has created a petition on to legalize lane filtering in Illinois. In particular, the the petition calls for the overturn of an existing statute (Illinois Vehicle Code 11-703) that currently prohibits motorcycles and scooters from filtering through slow or stopped traffic.

Currently only Californians enjoy the benefits of lane filtering, something of which motorcyclists around the country would love to be able to legally take advantage. Yet if anywhere could benefit from better two-wheel safety and convenience, it’s Chicago.

From the petition:

In California, the only state in America that does not prohibit the act of Lane Splitting/Filtering, the practice is taught to student riders and even encouraged by the California Highway Patrol due to benefits to safety, congestion, and environment. Lane Filtering is also practiced safely elsewhere in the world, including Europe, Asia and Australia.

I understand that the law may have had good intentions, taking into account a lack of understanding at the time, but recent statistical analysis and studies looking specifically into Lane Splitting and Filtering have the potency to clear whatever doubt one may have about its legitimacy.

  • California, when compared to Texas and Florida, has a 30% REDUCED rate of rear-end collision deaths for motorcyclists because they have Lane Splitting.
  • A University of Berkeley study in California showed that Lane Splitting is safe if done at speeds of 50 mph or less and if motorcyclists do not exceed the speed of other vehicles by more than 15 mph. Speed differentials up to 15 mph were not associated with changes in the frequency of injury; and
  • Compared to riders who were not splitting lanes, lane-splitting motorcyclists were markedly less likely to suffer head injury (9% vs. 17%), torso injury (19% vs. 29%) or fatal injury (1.2% vs. 3%); Lane-splitting riders were significantly less likely to be rear-ended than non-lane-splitting riders (2.6% vs. 4.6%).

Looking at these statistics that observe California’s ability to Lane-Split at speeds above 20mph can easily be extrapolated to determine that legalizing sub-20mph Lane-Filtering would only see results that improve these values. Support for this idea could be found by referring to the EU MAIDS Final Report 2.0, which found that filtering is SIX TIMES safer than sitting in traffic.

What riders in Illinois are asking for is the Legalization and Regulation of Motorcycle Lane Filtering. The proposed regulations are as shown below:

  1. Lane Filtering is limited to speeds less than 20mph.
  2. Speeds shall not exceed a differential of 10mph if the traffic is moving.
  3. Lane Filtering is not allowed in school zones during school hours.
  4. Lane Filtering is only allowed when it is safe to do so.

Illinois is an excellent candidate to pave the way for the understanding and acceptance of Motorcycle Lane Splitting, and I believe that Lane Filtering is the essential first step we need to take to improve the safety of motorcyclists everywhere. Lane Filtering benefits everyone, and the legalization will show that the law can indeed reflect our unique needs and concerns.

The Illinois-based staff here at ScooterFile have already signed this petition, and we’d encourage you to jump onboard as well. Perhaps Illinois could be the lead domino in better scooter and motorcycle safety across the country.

Sign it yourself right here: Legalize lane filtering in Illinois

Post photo: Flickr user gth_42

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