Cyclists and pedestrians hamper lane filtering

Cyclists in bike lanes ride to work day lane filtering

Cyclists and pedestrians are obstructing the introduction of lane filtering in Victoria from September 1 with the use of bike lanes already axed.

Online public consultation has now closed and Vic Roads has entered the design phase, but Australian Motorcycle Council secretary Tony Ellis says there have been delays because VicRoads has invited the bicycle lobby and Pedestrian Council to take part.

“Needless to say they’re both anti-filtering and we can’t work out the reasoning,” Tony says.

“Because of this widening of the consultation process we’re getting obstructionism from agencies that are only peripherally involved but who all want to comment,” he says. “Their people all seem to be cyclists.”

The Victorian Motorcycle Council had suggested motorcycle and scooter riders be allowed to use bike lanes and cyclists argued against it.

Now it seems they have got their way as Roads Minister Luke Donnellan has announced bike lane access will not be going ahead, citing “the incompatibility between bicycle and motorcycle speed, weight, speed and” and the “likelihood of crashes”.

(By that reasoning, bicycles should not be allowed on the roads, either! – MBW)

Bike lanes lane filtering ride to work

Pedestrian Council of Australia chairman Harold Scruby says the police and Insurance Council of Australia opposed lane filtering in NSW and Victoria Walks had opposed it in Victoria.

He says their main objections are that people crossing the road legally outside of pedestrian crossings between stationary cars could be struck by a motorcycle and that filtering riders tend to illegally invade pedestrian crossing areas.

However, the main point of contention in the public feedback seems to be the speed limit factor.

Riders are arguing for at least 40km/h, which is more than the 30km/h limit allowed in NSW and Queensland, but less than some of the speeds suggested in several states of the US which is considering introducing the laws.

Separate, but compatible submissions have been made by several rider groups including the Victorian Motorcycle Council, Independent Riders’ Group and Victorian Scooter Riders Association.

They argue that the speed limit in the Melbourne CBD where most lane filtering will be practised is 40km/h and it makes no sense to impose a slower speed on riders.

Lane filtering

Other points made by the various rider group submissions include:

  • No new offences. Existing laws cover dangerous riding.
  • No ban on filtering between parked cars and traffic.
  • No ban on filtering between the line of traffic and kerbside.
  • No ban on on filtering around large vehicles such as buses and trucks.
  • New stop lines to separate pedestrians from bicycles, motorcycles and scooters and to separate the two-wheelers from cars, improving safety for all road users.
  • L plate riders restricted to safe traffic filtering through stationary traffic at controlled intersections which is currently legal under road rule 141.1.c.
  • Support for a ban on filtering at tram stops and safety zones because of the narrower lanes.
  • Edge filtering allowed as in Queensland, but on roads marked at 80km/h or higher, not 90km/h.

With about a month to go before the final draft is submitted to the minister, Tony says they are optimistic about the final outcome “since we know we have good support within the Minister’s office”.

However, the bike lanes issue now seems buried by that same Minister.

VicRoads Acting Manager Vehicle and Motorcycling Policy Ben Matters says they have “no plans to present a draft plan before seeking in-principle ministerial endorsement”.


  1. Vicroads honesty and integrity are very much in doubt over this filtering proposal. I attended the community consultation night on 16 June. I was optimistic, but came away concerned that Vicroads already had a position – undisclosed on the night – and that the consultation was not to gain opinion but more to enable them to tick the “public consultation” box.

    There are two very, very significant points that need to be remembered before anyone degenerates into the strident opinionated garbage that the Vicroads forum rapidly degenerated into. These are:

    1. Vicroads first “Policy Principle”, written in all documentation, is that anything which is currently legal will not be rendered illegal by any changed rules.

    2. Filtering is currently legal, between stationary vehicles, under rule 141-1 (c), without any restriction; in all traffic zones, on all Victorian roads.

    The Vicroads proposal to ban filtering in 40kph zones is directly at odds with this.
    The Vicroads proposal released soon after the “consultation” meeting also fails to reflect the general opinion of the participants that night, which was that we need to formalise that which is already happening. Some Vicroads suits and a bicycle zealot were contrary views, I accept.

    Subsequently I have learned that, unlike NSW and Qld, we don’t have a technical description of a “school zone”. Yep, we use the term, we see the signs, and we all know what they mean, but in Vicroads-speak they do not exist; they are merely another 40kph zone. Vicroads need to do what they should have done when school zones were introduced, and draft their rules correctly to class “school zones” differently to other 40kph zones. Frankly, I think that any argument to allow filtering in school zones is doomed to fail, but Vicroads are being lazy and dishonest by wanting to apply a blanket ban in 40kph zones just because they can’t be bothered doing their job properly in the first place.

    Now the sneaky bit. Yep, Vicroads opened an on-line forum. I made some of the first comments on it, and was dismayed to see the rapid decline of the subsequent inputs to extremist views on both sides, but some very provocative diatribe from the anti-filterers. When I went to reiterate my key observations, guess what? I was blocked from doing so. I could log on to the site, but not add a comment. Vicroads IT pixies spent a week “trying to fix” that, but then the forum closed. I’ll bet that Vicroads will cherry-pick the forum views for consideration, but that mine won’t be amongst them.

  2. Mark, this is a really confusing article. Is it bicycle lane access that Minister Donnellan has canned or filtering?

    The proposal from VMC was for LIMITED access – to be allowed to dive into a bicycle lane where RIDER SAFETY required, for up to 100m at a time. Right now ANY VEHICLE has access for up to 50m in order to exit the road. ***Other voices*** were asking for greater access. The bicycle lobby took those calls and went all chicken little foaming at the mouth and as it turns out, cyclists can argue longer and harder than we can.

    The other issue is about pedestrians and the supposed conflict with proposed filtering speed.

    Right now, right this VERY SECOND there are 100’s of kilometres of 40km/h pedestrian zones – a speed which has been set for pedestrian safety. A motorcycle filtering at that or lower speed is therefore COMPLYING with the underlying principle of that pedestrian safety zone.

    Right NOW, right this VERY SECOND, riders can and do filter stationary traffic legally under road rule 141.1.c and do so in these very pedestrian zones AND HAVE BEEN FOR YEARS, and pedestrians aren’t being mowed down in droves as the likes of Scrubby would have you believe.

    Right NOW, RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND, 3 filtering jurisdictions have filtering in accordance with their state rules in 40km/h pedestrian zones (where permitted) and pedestrians are not at risk. The proof is in the pudding.

    For whatever reason, YOUR ARTICLE is being interpreted as filtering has been scuttled by the vested interests because rider advocacy groups asked for too much.

    Was that your intent?

    Rob Salvatore – VMC Chair

      1. Tell that to my phone calls and the VMC facebook page where we shared your article.

        Thankfully, filtering implementation is still moving apace.

        Since Vicroads had never placed bicycle lane access in the proposed filtering framework, the pedestrian and cycling groups have pretty clearly overreacted to the rider requests to access bicycle lanes. It’s a bit of a long bow then to say that these lobby groups have put the brakes on filtering.

        Anyway, let’s get back on point.


    1. Hi Rob,

      This discussion is more about the lack of a just and neutral position of the government towards policies and legislation that would greatly favor bike rider safety and bring major ease to traffic conditions with minimal cost and risks to others sharing the same roads.
      The outrage is created by the fact that, even though legislation allows it and it is being done already, the bodies responsible for fine tuning and creating proper, clear and fair legislation choose to ignore facts and brush them under the rug to avoid confrontation with lobbyists.
      Also, there is a trend of ignoring logical statements based on Government research that is close to zero in Australia. They base their theories on external input and dismiss proposals because based on which one screams louder.


  3. I would pact them all (cyclists) and send them on a month trip to Romania to get a bit of taste of reality.
    Push bike paths? 1m overtake room? To close the road for a push bike event? The most you get is a couple of slaps on the back of your head for not breaking instead of forcing the vehicle behind you to brake hard because you are avoiding a manhole.

    I`m going to upset some people around but in my own experience they are the most dangerous things on the road today. They ride like they are the masters of the road not thinking that a 2000kg car doesn’t stop as easy as a push bike and my 5 m wide commodore barely fits on the road.

    The law must state that the heavier and bigger vehicle must have priority in any situation and also, cyclists must understand that it is harder to drive a car or ride a bike than to cycle, thus THEY need to allow more room and to understand that sharing is a must on the roads.

  4. There has been a long running argument over “Sharing the Space” by pedestrian council “Harold” & the push bike lobby
    Well they don’t like giving 1 square centermeter of the road surface away!
    Past battles with them over a decade ago showed us they felt intimidated by vehicles & totally shy of noise!
    Making me wonder why they leave the safety of their abode at all.
    Some good work has been done by Rod Brown IRG & Damien the last correspondence from Minister for Roads is below explaining the so called risks to those traffic fearing Lycra lizards

    1. I strongly disagree with your use of terminology and explanation of the issue, and I would happily sit down with you to explain how this all goes together. Your so called ‘Lycra lizards’ are far from the ones worried about you using the bike lanes as they often don’t use them either, and based on another post by Mark encouraging riding by all people – I think you are way off the mark.
      Standard commuters and people that the ‘bicycle lobby’ are trying to protect are the less experienced riders.
      It would be like a bunch of experienced riders taking a group of green ‘L’earners up to King Lake. So sorry, you need to understand your ‘competition for space. It is not the ‘Fast and Furious’ you are trying to share the road from, it is the ‘Upright and Relaxed’ and yes – noises scare them, so do large motorised vehicles.

  5. C’mon guys! What’s the point of lane splitting if you’re going to use bicycle lanes? Just motor between the cars!! We’ve got bike lanes in the US too. We don’t use them here. I haven’t seen your roads there, but the pictures look about the same as us except you’ve got much better lanes for the bicyclists… run them over here.

  6. Up here on the sunshine coast they put in designated bike paths
    But they only get used mainly on weekends by the tour de france wannabe’s
    using them for filtering is a no brainer, but also the smaller scooters that have
    trouble keeping up with the traffic should be allowed to use them to keep
    out of harms way a lot arn’t traveling any faster than pushbikes anyway
    It is amazing the amount of clout the bicycle lobby has up here it just seems to be
    a case of ask and you get it, from road closures for events to designated lanes
    Pretty good for people who contribute nothing in road costs

    1. Remember when bicycles were something kids rode to school? Remember how many bike racks there were at your school?
      Now have a look at the streets around schools and try to find a bicycle!
      Parents drive their kids to school and drive themselves to work. Cycling is largely a leisure pursuit, yet it commands enormous political clout.
      We could learn a lot from their lobby group.

      1. Excellent point Mark – is it the tie in the lycra loonies have with their machine manufacturers that we don’t have which gives them more clout? On the school side I think part of the issue is the nanny mentality of so many parents not wanting to put little Johnny at risk. Sadly this reinforces the whole nanny path we are taking. Again, I see no point in taking undue risk, but when we wrap cotton wool in cotton wool, something is wrong …

        1. Hi Robbo,
          I’m all for getting young kids hooked on bicycles. It leads to more exciting drugs like motorcycles!
          I remember riding along and making motorcycles noises as I pedalled … didn’t you?

          1. “making motorcycle noises”?

            You mean you didn’t do the thing with a peg and a bit of cardboard in the spokes?


      2. If you check out who the riders are you will see why ,mostly upper income
        cafe latte set ,throw in the environmental lobby and you have a powerful
        What do we know ? We’re just a bunch of bogan petrol heads

    2. The fallacious argument that cyclists contribute nothing in road costs keeps surfacing. I have even had it screamed at me by car drivers to try to justify their intolerant and aggressive behaviour. I train on a bicycle – I used to do about 10,000km a year, but much less now. I also own two motorcycles – a Vespa 250 and a BMW K1300S, along with two cars and a caravan. They are all registered… I would swap my rego bill for that of a single car in a heartbeat. I presume this is what “Pete” was referring to. Some research into how roads are actually funded may be enlightening to some drivers and riders. I don’t agree with many of the things the cycling lobby does, but they are educated and organised and we motorcyclists could certainly learn a lot from them.

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