Lane filtering ignored in urban speed report

Austroads report

Austroads makes no mention of lane filtering in its latest report concerned with achieving “safer” speeds in our urban road network.

The 104-page report titled “Achieving Safe System Speeds on Urban Arterial Roads: Compendium of Good Practice” features a range of suggestions, but none mentions how effective lane filtering is in reducing rear-ender crashes for riders.

This is despite the fact that lane filtering is now allowed in Queensland, NSW and Victoria, and is being trialled in the ACT.

However, the study does refer several times to motorcyclists and “vulnerable road users” which usually includes motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians.

It points out the risks to these road users with a UK report showing pedestrians represent 25% of urban injury crashes, followed by motorcyclists at 23% and cyclists at 15%.

The report mentions that that painted surfaces and rumble strips could be dangerous to motorcyclists and that an increase in roadside signs represents an injury risk in a crash, although it doesn’t specifically mention motorcyclists.

Rumble strips a danger to riders, says Austroads report
Rumble strips a danger to riders, says Austroads report

The report also doesn’t mention that many of the suggested methods to slow traffic by physical changes to the road (chicanes, raised intersections, speed bumps, etc) would have little or no effect on motorcycle speeds.

However, frequent reference to road narrowing at intersections would have an impact on the ability of riders to filter through traffic.

Austroads is the peak organisation of Australasian road transport and traffic agencies, so its reports are often cited by state and federal governments in laws and enforcement policy.

While this report doesn’t make any recommendations, it does provide a host of observations and suggestions for trials and reports on their effectiveness.

Selected Austroads report highlights

  • Mobile speed cameras are up to 15-21% less effective at reducing traffic seed than fixed cameras;
  • Electronic speed advisory technology (signs that show your speed or flash a warning to slow down) has potential to be included in any speed enforcement programs;
  • It suggests trialling four-way red traffic signals at night time which are only activated to green by an approaching vehicle (although motorcycles are often not detected) or a pedestrian pushing a button;
  • The report notes that the maximum speed for survival of a rider in a crash with a car is 20-30km/h and suggests that 30km/g is the optimum speed through intersections; and
  • It says there is no evidence of the speed/crash reduction from “green wave” or linked signals that coordinate traffic signals to reward motorists with an uninterrupted passage if they are travelling at the recommended speed, although the report notes it would reduce rear-ender crashes which plague urban riders.


  1. Possibly the biggest cause of airborne pollution in our major cities comes from stop/start traffic. Did the study make any mention of that, as obvious as it is? You see, all these governments and agencies have the means at their disposal to dramatically reduce urban pollution via the introduction of the green wave, yet none ever chooses to do so. Which begs the question: how seriously do they really take global warming, or climate change, or whatever they are calling it this week? Talk is cheap. I’ll take it seriously when they take it seriously.

  2. For a organisation that uses a lot of statistics they seem to lack the ability to use logic to make a correct analysis. There is no evidence that the green wave reduces speed or accidents, really? How stupid are they? Here’s a bit of logic for them, green light = moving red light = stopped, stopped = frustration, frustration = accident.
    The only thing reducing speed does is minimise the inertia and so possibly reduce injuries in an accident. While it may make some types of accident avoidable the increased frustration boredom and distraction will cause many more accidents a large percentage of which will be fatal as they will involve pedestrians.

  3. Another study that treats speed as a causal factor in road accidents, not a severity factor. Until we have road safety programs that address the underlying reasons for traffic accidents, eg failing to give way, poor management of gaps between vehicles, poor defensive, Adjusting speed limits and ever more stringent enforcement of same is a law of diminishing returns.

    All we are doing is reducing how bad an accident is or turning a potential accident into a near miss (which from a safety management perspective is the same as if an accident did occur). From what I see their is little to no focus on improving driving skills and behaviours past initial licensing.

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