Lane filtering rule confusion reigns

lane-spliting lane filtering

From February 1, Australia became a little more confusing for motorcycle riders with several slightly different lane-filtering rules across the states.

Queensland has now introduced lane filtering with slightly different rules from those that apply in NSW (see the video above) which introduced lane filtering in July 2014 and the ACT which has also begun a two-year lane filtering trial. 

For example, NSW bans filtering beside parked cars, trucks and buses, while the ACT bans it next to heavy vehicles. Queensland only suggests that riders not filter next to heavy vehicles. The ACT also bans the use of breakdown lanes for filtering. They are not big differences, but could be expensive for riders!




Victoria is expected to be the next state to add lane filtering with the recent election of a Labor Government.Lane filtering is legal in California

In Western Australia, you can already filter in stationary traffic. However, they are considering allowing filtering up to 30km/h and are monitoring other states.

It’s not considered an issue in South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory where traffic volumes are considered to be too low for lane filtering to be an issue.

The new Queensland lane filtering rules are among several changes implemented from February 1. The others include broader helmet standards and more rational bike control rules that allow riders to stretch a leg, stand up on rough surfaces and do a head check.

Here is a summary of the Queensland lane-filtering rules:

  • Only riders with an open motorcycle licence can lane filter.
  • Riders and the surrounding traffic must not exceed 30km/h.
  • Lane filtering is banned in school zones during school zone hours.
  • Riders can use the road shoulder or emergency stopping lane on major roads for filtering.
  • Riders cannot filter between a vehicle and the kerb.
  • Riders can enter bicycle storage areas (traffic light waiting areas for cyclists – usually green with white bicycle symbols).
  • Riders are not allowed in bicycle lanes, but all vehicles, including motorcycles, can travel up to 50m in a bicycle lane to stop, park, turn, or avoid an obstruction.
  • Penalties for lane filtering breaches are $341 and 3 demerit points or a maximum of $2277 if the matter goes to court.

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  1. You can only use the shoulder and emergency lane in an 90kph or above zone and max speed of 30 kph – please amend your rules discription to aviod confusion – ride safe

  2. Your wording, as well as the wording on the RMS information page, is part of the reason why there is confusion.

    In NSW, you cannot filter past parked vehicles of any kind – that is an offense. You can filter past stationary heavy vehicles on the roadway, but the RMS doesn’t advise it as it may be more unsafe compared to stationary cars.

    The information pages of any government organization are usually filled with “dumbed down” versions of the law, that don’t always match up with the actual law passed through government. “Should not” and “Must not” appear to be interchangeable phrases, but are very different when brought up in a courtroom.

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