Uniform lane filtering rules no closer

Lane filtering

Australia seems no closer to getting uniform lane filtering rules, judging from the comments of state ministers and shadow ministers about our recent reader poll.

The top reader responses from the more than 2500 votes cast in our poll were calls for more driver education about the benefits of lane filtering for all motorists and consistent lane filtering laws in every state.

We sent the results to every relevant state and territory minister for comment more than two weeks ago.

Those who bothered to respond to the legitimate concerns of riders – voters! – were the ministers in Victoria, South Australia and the ACT while NSW and Queensland deferred to their departments to respond. Shadow minister replies were received from Queensland, Western Australia, ACT and the Northern Territory.

Australian Motorcycle Council Chairman Peter Baulch says the lack of comments is “to be expected”.

AMC chairman Peter Baulch
AMC chairman Peter Baulch

None of the comments agreed that more could be done to educate motorists about the benefits of lane filtering.

Peter says there is “clearly … a huge need for a concerted awareness campaign (or campaigns) to educate ALL road users on exactly what ‘low speed’ lane filtering is, and why it is permitted”.

“It is evident that some ministers still do not recognise that the primary reason for filtering is safety,” he says. 

“Other issues including traffic flow, decongestion, parking, etc are additional side benefits, but safety is the key factor.”Lane filtering

South Australia and ACT ministers and the WA shadow minister were the only ones to support “regulatory harmonisation across jurisdictions” (uniform laws).

A quite smug response from Bernard Carlon, executive director of the NSW Centre for Road Safety basically points out they were the first to introduce the laws and the other states are the ones who brought in different rules.

True, but surely there is a need for some rule changes in the name of cross-border harmony.

But no: “It is important that all road users in NSW, wherever they come from, understand the rules that apply here.”

In other words, you will be fined!

Such intransigence on uniform road rules is the “biggest single challenge” facing the various state motorcycling advocacy bodies, says Peter.

“The confusion, and ensuing penalties, created by varying rules across boarders, serves no good purpose and is a hindrance to improving safety by removing uncertainty,” he says.Austroads Better roads report lane filtering challenging

Meanwhile, SA Road Safety Minister Peter Malinauskas says they are monitoring lane filtering in other states before any implementation, while the WA Shadow Road Safety Minister Michelle Roberts says it is “worth consideration”.

“It makes sense to have uniform road rules around Australia and on that basis it would be good to see a national position adopted,” she says.

NT Shadow Transport Minister Ken Vowles says that as an “avid rider” who has owned Harleys, a KTM and scooter, he is “monitoring the implementation and use of lane filtering in other jurisdictions”.

The trial in the ACT ends early next seemingly with unilateral support that it has been a success.

So far we have received nothing from Tasmania.


  1. Look the bureaucrats don’t care about us as motorcycle riders even though we pay rego etc they could not be bothered to put us in the CENCUS that’s at a FEDERAL level.
    We are all straw-persons.

  2. Some of the rules are just plain stupid insulting and even dangerous.
    The rules start with the assumption that we need them in the first place like kids needing boundaries. The ones of us who aren’t pea brained morons and actually care about our safety and keeping our bikes undamaged won’t do any of the things that are against the rules if they are actually dangerous. And the morons will find anyway they can to injure themselves and others so there are probably plenty of other rules that can be applied to them for the purposes of revenue raising or getting them off the road.
    I was filtering for years before it supposedly became legal, in fact if you read the road rules of the particular states that I may have done it in it was legal it was just called overtaking,
    Now we have a ridiculous situation when a car can preform some overtaking manoeuvres legally where a bike can’t because it’s filtering against the rules.

  3. Lets just scrap federation and give us all passports for our own countries (states) and admit that that’s what we are.

  4. I’m wondering why we would even begin to expect uniform rules across all states and territories for lane filtering, when there is seemingly little agreement on every other rule, with alterations, exceptions, or differences in enforcement/interpretation. But fair enough, we should strive.

    “A quite smug response from Bernard Carlon, executive director of the NSW Centre for Road Safety basically points out they were the first to introduce the laws and the other states are the ones who brought in different rules.” – it’s amusing when people give responses like that, insightful in that they are either taking the piss showing they aren’t taking the question seriously, or they are so arrogant they actually believe their statement. What I read is ‘we were first so we are best or right or both’. Splitting/filtering lanes (without descending into technicality) has been around forever, is a way of life in some countries , particularly Asia, and has been the subject of research, debate, and to various degrees legal implementation in many countries going back decades. Australia is an ‘also-ran’ on this topic, and Bernie is a government clown.

    We have too many levels of government and we can’t trust any of them, that seems to be what it comes down to … 🙂

  5. Are you sure Tasmania is part of Australia? But seriously, I don’t trust car drivers enough to lane filter myself and because I live on the NSW/Victorian border, living in NSW (where it is legal) and riding in Victoria mostly (where it is only proposed, I think it becomes legal from Nov 2) and I have to take my bike to Adelaide for servicing (SA hasn’t made lane filtering legal) it is totally confusing so your article is really relevant and the traffic authorities DO need to get together and standardise these laws.
    In the meantime I will just concentrate on staying alive while riding.

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