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Mark Wetzel, KSL TV

UHP: Confrontation between motorcyclist and driver shows need for lane filtering education

By Carter Williams, KSL.com | Updated - Jun 17th, 2019 @ 6:50pm | Posted - Jun 17th, 2019 @ 1:43pm



SALT LAKE CITY — A video showing an incident on University Avenue in Utah County between a motorcyclist and a pizza delivery driver over the weekend is an indication the state’s new lane filtering law is still misunderstood by some people, authorities say.

The video, posted by Collin Hansen, of Payson, in a Facebook group called “Utah Motorcycle Riders" on Sunday shows Hansen driving down a road in Utah and beginning to split lanes. He passes three vehicles before he encounters a silver sedan with a Pizza Hut delivery sign on top of it.

The driver opens his front door to block the motorcycle.

“Hey, you’re supposed to be in the lane,” the driver of the sedan says.

“Yeah, it’s called lane filtering. It’s a new law. Close your door,” Hansen responds back.

The whole incident continues for a few more seconds before the light turns green and both Hansen and the driver of the sedan go their separate ways.

Hansen didn’t respond to KSL’s request for comment about the incident.

His video was shared more than 1,000 times on Facebook in less than 24 hours. It has also garnered more than 2,000 comments on Reddit, where the video was also uploaded. It came with arguments and discussions about the law.

Utah’s lane filtering bill officially went into law on May 14 and, according to Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Nick Street, technically, both motorists were in the wrong within the span of the video.

Motorcyclists are allowed to split or “filter” lanes on roads like University Avenue as seen by the motorcyclist in the video, but with a 15-mph speed limit and only when the vehicle they’re passing has come to a stop. The video shows at least one of the vehicles was still moving as the motorcyclist passes by. That’s an infraction, according to Utah’s law code.

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“According to the new lane filtering law, those cars have to be stopped before you begin filtering,” Street said as he watched the video play out on his phone. “There are some cars moving and then the door comes open.”

Street sighed as he watched that part of the video.

The law, Street reminded, was put in place as a mechanism to keep motorcyclists safe from being rear-ended and to also ease traffic on roads with multiple lanes in the same direction and a 45 mph speed limit.

“(It’s) an obvious case that the gentleman that’s driving his personal vehicle for Pizza Hut needs an education on the law,” Street continued. “That behavior is not OK whether the law is in place or not. (If) you open your door to a motorcyclist coming down between the lanes; if they get hurt, that’s an assault.”

A month after the law went into effect, Street said state officials are doing their best to educate motorists about the new law. They’ve posted public service videos online to inform Utah residents. They’ve also received public feedback on the law change.

The incident posted Sunday indicated that not everyone is aware of the law change.

“This is an egregious case and we’re glad it’s documented — that the motorcyclist had a helmet cam to capture this incident because this is an excellent opportunity for us to put out the good word that, 'Hey, this is legal now.' There’s a good reason for it,” Street said.

He added that troopers planned to reach out to Hansen, the driver of the car and to law enforcement in Utah County as more of an outreach effort. Officials said Monday they don’t believe any tickets will be issued in the case.

Pizza Hut tweeted Sunday it was investigating the incident on their end.

“We have been made aware of this and our team is looking to investigate this further,” the pizza chain tweeted in response to someone sharing the link online.

Contributing: Ashley Kewish, KSL TV; Mary Richards, KSL Newsradio

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