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Colorado Makes Filtering Legal – and Complicated

Filtering…we all do it, and according to the Highway Code, common sense rules apply – there is no legal right to filter in the UK, nor is it specifically outlawed, but riders are expected to exercise caution.

Now the North American state of Colorado has made filtering legal but hedged it about with several restrictions. First off, the vehicles being passed must be stationary – if they start moving, riders have to slip back into the traffic stream. Only two-wheelers are allowed to filter (which presumably means Yamaha Tricity and Piaggio MP3 riders can’t) and at no more than 15mph. Actually, not many in the UK would disagree with the 15mph limit, but the ultimate restriction for urban riding is that Coloradan riders can only filter between lanes of traffic running the same way – trickling down the middle of the road against an oncoming stream is out.

The Colorado filtering law is still in its trial stage, with the incidence of collisions being monitored to see how they are affected. Law makers have until 1st September 2027 to decide whether to revoke the new law or make it permanent.

BMF Chair Jim Freeman thought there was a lot to be said for the UK’s common-sense approach to filtering law. “This sounds a lot like filtering laws in other parts of the world. In practice most are ignored without issue, which is probably what will happen in Colorado. The speed restriction’s reasonable, the old school habit of ‘filtering’ at 50mph on motorways, between moving lanes of cars doing 30mph, much beloved by couriers back in the day, always had a touch of the ‘Darwin Awards’ about it. As does filtering up the inside. But sitting behind stationary cars in a traffic jam, like you’re supposed to on Autobahns, nobody does that, surely?”

Written by Peter Henshaw

Top image courtesy of Nabeel Syed – Unsplash