Call for motorbike filter lanes between traffic

Leave a gap lane filtering queue jumping

Drivers are still not understanding new rules that allow riders to filter to the front at traffic lights leading to calls for an education campaign and new line markings.

I recently experienced a driver who revved his GT sports sedan vigorously just before the lights changed in an obvious attempt to bully me into letting him go first.

When the lights changed, I pulled away swiftly on my Triumph Bonneville, hearing the screeching of his tyres as he vainly tried to keep up. (Yep, even a Bonne can outrun most cars – why do they even bother?)

Other Motorbike Writer readers have expressed similar bullying tactics and even road rage from drivers who are oblivious to the new rules which now apply in Victoria, NSW, Queensland and the ACT (still under a trial period).

Riders have called for a more aggressive public education campaign and we recently suggested separate stop lines at intersections in front of other vehicles such as they do in some parts of Europe and Asia.

However, it’s been pointed out that where such lines exist for cyclists, motorists, including bus drivers who should know better, encroach on these spaces.

Lane filtering lane splitting stop lines
Bus ignores stop line

It would also be expensive as the car stop line would have to be moved back and the inductor loop under the ground that detects a vehicle to trigger the traffic lights would also have to be relocated.

One of the biggest problems is that drivers don’t leave a gap.

So another MBW reader has suggested short sections of red dotted lines that visibly force motorists to leave space between the lanes. 

Filter lanes
Red filter lanes

This would be less expensive and could be quickly and cheaply painted at many intersections where there is enough space.

It would be a clear reminder to drivers and provide similar “box” protection to the cyclist boxes in front and sometimes to the left of traffic.

  • Which idea do you think is the best to facilitate lane filtering? Please leave your comment in the box below.


  1. I agree with the red line suggestion. If some grit was added to the paint the loss of traction could be resolved. But a TV ad campaign is essential.

  2. A public awareness campaign is vital – so many people do not know that this is actually legal. I am only a relative newbie on the bike, but I have been shocked to find the outpouring of anger that motorists go on with about lane filtering when they find out you ride a bike. So many of them “joke” about how they want to open their door on a passing rider or swerve out to hit the rider as they go past. This scares me as they find it funny to talk about actions that could potentially harm or even kill another human being. These are rational people normally, but seem to find aggression against motorbike riders extremely funny. Riders are dehumanised in their eyes and therefore they do not even see that these little actions can cause so much damage to someone riding a bike. There are many times that I have had cars actively block my path at lights to stop me. A public awareness campaign with adds on the TV would do well to make motorists realise that a person is actually behind the helmet and that person has a family and people who want them to make it home just as they do.

  3. There is a YouTube video of some self righteous moron attacking a rider and his girlfriend for filtering. Even after being punched in the helmet and having to get off his bike to defend himself the biker was somewhat polite and even gentle as he sat the fool on his ass and waited for the cops. No mention of charges for supposedly filtering illegally for the biker but the driver had assault false arrest public disorder and here’s the kicker DUI!
    That is the mentality we deal with drunk driving is ok but get ahead of me on your bike and your ass is grass.

  4. I’ve had drivers make space for me and I’ve had them try and block me off, while the former has gotten a little wave if I could safely manage it the latter has always been left with a stupid look on their face as I simply went around them . There will always be that kind of moron on the road and it would be good if they could receive a photo in the mail with a fine for being a dick head but failing that some red lines and a few billboards saying what they are for wouldn’t hurt.

  5. Driver education is vital. There is a dangerous overarching mentality for many car drivers that a motorcyclist lane filtering is simply a cue jumper. I have had multiple drivers purposely block the centre of the lane when they see me in their rear vision mirror. Its an anti motorcycle mentality that you just don’t see in European and Asian countries. Educate people about the benefits of lane filtering like reduced congestion .

    As motorcyclists we also have a responsibility to filter safely and within the laws. Splitting between cars at 80kph or worse still, once traffic is moving doesn’t help the greater motorcycling cause and is a bad look.

  6. Lane filtering!! That’s a great idea!! Lets not do almost any public awareness ads to alert the public to the change, but we will pop in a “Lane filtering is legal” leaflet in with your Rego reminder and invoice ..Oh and we will put a video up on YouTube..
    Unbelievable.. Yes but its true.. I had to write to the Motorcycle Council of NSW for “Lane filtering is legal” Stickers.. I live in Queensland.. < Yeah.. and I think the press aren't helping.. eg: When that truck rolled at Nerang on the M1 causing that massive traffic jam and the flow on was every major arterial road heading south became a slow moving mass.. I Texted our local ABC radio station, advising motorist to keep a eye out for motorcyclist "Lane Filtering" through the congestion… Nothing.. Not even a Traffic reminder from the traffic authority.. Zero eF's.. lucky
    Oh but a motorcyclists dyeing or crashing the public gets a update every half an hour on why they're stuck in traffic.. Never mind that the driver of the car didn't do a blind spot check..

    1. I’m with you Duncan. I have been lane splitting since I first started commuting back in the late 80’s. No fines, no accidents. Yes, I have been quizzed by a eager junior constables, and yes young men in V8 commodores and hi viz T-shirts have tried to drag me off at lights. Like all things in life, pick your fights.

      Let’s focus on phone use and let lane splitting grow naturally.

  7. I like the idea of the red lines if only because they would act as a form of driver education – “what are those new red lines for?”.

  8. The problem for riders when a car driver accelerates hard away for a set of lights is if the rider then accelerates away to get some distance away from the car is police could claim the rider is drag racing the car and invoke hoon laws.

    Here is where a camera would be useful but ah that is right police dont much like them either, catch 22

  9. It’s up to the road authorities to decide what they do at each intersection. Painted red lines introduce another loss of traction in the wet to the detriment of motorcyclists. They also can’t be enforced by the police. Driver education is the most effective long term solution through an ad campaign. For safety, we motorcyclists need only to get out of the path of a rear-ender. Getting to the front and in your safety bubble beyond the lights is secondary.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *