Lane filtering speeds should be increased to 40km/h in Victoria, not 30km/h as in NSW, Queensland and the ACT, according to the Victorian Motorcycle Council.
That’s one of the prime recommendations of the VMC in a submission to the Victorian Government which intends to introduce lane filtering laws from September 1, 2015.
“The NSW and Queensland experience suggests that riders expend considerable energy and attention trying to filter safely while maintaining a clear margin to the maximum permissible speed,” says the VMC submission, written by chairman Rob Salvatore.
“Maintaining 20-25km/h requires attention on the speedometer and is a speed that can result in reduced motorcycle stability, command, responsiveness and control. These aspects are manageable but take up further attention and concentration. The reduced speed therefore counterintuitively reduces the rider’s safety. On this basis a higher speed is strongly recommended,” he says.
Although the Victorian Government has already announced its intention to introduce lane-filtering the laws, the exact rules have not yet been specified.
Already the laws differ in the three Australian jurisdictions where they have been implemented and there could be a fourth form of the laws when introduced in Victoria, mainly because of the unique existence of tram lines in Melbourne.
“We think it (the submission) represents a practical and achievable filtering framework for Victoria and gives a very strong nod to the work done in NSW and Queensland,” Rob told MotorBikeWriter.
“Victoria, especially metropolitan Melbourne, has some unique road characteristics that will require some careful thought – this means that Victoria needs its own version of filtering.
“Given this and the relatively smooth implementation of filtering in three other jurisdictions without all the negative predictions coming to light, Victoria is presented with an opportunity to fine-tune motorcycle traffic filtering. The filtering framework represents what the VMC believes is that fine-tuned version.”
FILTERING FOR ALL
In another major departure from the rules in other states, the VMC wants the laws applicable to all riders, not just experienced riders.
“Gathered input would accept a compromise position of L plate riders being restricted to safe traffic filtering through stationary traffic at controlled intersections – something that is currently legal under road rule 141.1.c and already a self-managed and routinely conducted manoeuvre by L plate riders once sufficiently confident,” the submission says. “There is no evidence to suggest that novice riders should be prohibited from filtering in such traffic conditions.”
The MVC supports a ban on filtering in school zones as in other states, but adds a ban on filtering at tram stops and safety zones because of the narrower lanes.
It also endorses the Queensland rules of edge filtering, although on roads marked at 80km/h or higher, not 90km/h.
The VMC submission seeks filtering next to parked cars, in 40km/h zones, between the line of traffic and kerbside and the use of bike lanes for 50m at a time to pass slow or stationary traffic.
Their submission also endorses the use of advanced stop lines for cyclists and bicycle boxes at traffic lights and the use of bus lanes not marked “bus use only”.
The VMC points out that lane filtering already occurs daily, “primarily by riders managing their safety and progress through heavy and congested traffic”.
“The legalisation of motorcycle traffic filtering will therefore formalise the best and safest aspects of current practice to the benefit of all road users and reduced congestion,” Rob says in the submission.
Rob says the VMC will work with Vicroads and the government to implement “as much of our vision as is practical”.