Call for lane filtering rule change

Lane filtering minister autonomous change

A simple lane filtering rule change could save the lives of riders who filter to the front of traffic at the lights and then take off immediately on the green.

That’s what most lane-filtering riders do. However, they run the risk of being hit by vehicles from the side running a red light.

We tried to access relevant crash data, but unfortunately no specific statistics are kept on types of lane filtering crashes.

However, I’ve almost had it happen to me and other riders tell me they have had similar near-misses.

Understandably riders want to get away promptly on the green light and are sometimes even challenged by motorists who want to race them from the lights.

Getting away first is important as it helps traffic flow and is safer for the rider and other motorists.

However, the rule that says riders cannot stop in front of the stop line can make it difficult for riders to check that traffic from their sides has stopped at their red light, especially if the rider’s vision is obscured by vans or trucks.

There have been previous calls for an advanced stop line for riders as is the practice in some Asian and European countries.

Lane filtering lane splitting stop lines report minister change
Advanced motorcycle stop lane in Spain

However, that requires a lot of paintwork and education for other motorists to stop them from creeping forward on to the line.

At some intersections there are forward stop lines for cyclists which confuses some motorists who think it is for them.

Lane filtering lane splitting stop lines change
Bus ignores stop line

Instead, a simple rule change that allows riders to have their front wheel only past the stop line would make all the difference.

They still wouldn’t dangerously encroach on the pedestrian crossing, but would be able to get the rider in front of any obstructing traffic.

Change lane filtering rules
Rider slightly over line now has vision unobstructed

Just because lane filtering is now legal across Australia (except Tasmania and WA which will both introduce the rules soon) doesn’t mean there can’t be changes made.

Already the rules are slightly different across state boundaries.

Australian motorcycle Council chairman Shaun Lennard says they will continue to push for filtering to become part of the national road rules.

“And any national change should be accompanied by one advertising message for the entire country,” he says.

Until changes are made, riders should be circumspect about taking off at the lights, or run the risk of a fine by moving into a position where they get a clear view.lane filtering rule change

20 Comments

  1. I agree with Madmax, I pull in front of the lead vehicle, it also gives any following riders room to move ahead as well, as for people running red lights, the Gold Coast must be one of the worst places in Australia, keep your eyes open, and no, never had a copper harass me yet either.

  2. New Qld legislation actually made it HARDER to lane filter.
    If traffic is almost stopped/stopped on motorway in 100k zone
    you can now be fined for travelling down left side on a bike whereas it was previously OK.

    Revenue.

  3. I’m happy to lane filter. On many occasions I’ve been raced off the mark by SS Commodores or XR? Falcons which is very dangerous for the rider doing what the “Tin Top Pilot” sees as illegal or getting ahead at some sort of cost to themselves. I’ve had cars reduce the available room between themselves and the vehicle in the next lane. Some drivers yell “I’m calling the cops”, “You can’t do that”.
    The real reason they do these and other manoeuvres to try to stop lane filtering is – THEY DON’T KNOW IT IS LEGAL. They have not kept up with road rule changes since they stopped using “P Plates”.
    There should be some mandatory refresher training courses and testing for all road users at least every few years. It should be “Here you go you have passed the requirements for “P Plate” and we will send out your new black licence in a few days. Providing you have a fairly good driving record and pay the new licence fee when this licence and subsequent licences expires there will never be need for you to come back to the RMS of NSW to sit for a licence at all.

  4. I do a regular commute from the Blue Mountains to the city and I have little issue with getting off the line, avoiding red light runners by being observant before taking off and also anticipating the occasional dick head beside me who thinks they are are race ready.

    I become quite vocal with the motorists who try to tell me after they have made several obvious attempts to take me off the road how my riding is so dangerous. To any drivers out there who feel the need to educate us riders, I have a simple answer… learn how to drive properly. I stay alive because I don’t trust your driving, I trust my riding skills.

  5. I’m in agreement about education! to make such an important and possibly confusing change to road traffic rules should be the State governments responsibility to produce the appropriate media commercials to inform and educate.

  6. I almost always stop in front of the cars rather than between them. I’m over the stop line but not into the pedestrian area at all. I consider this to be so much safer! I realise I’m breaking the rules but I’d be pleading my case if I’m ever pulled over. I would hope that common sense would prevail!

    1. Not sure about your observations, but generally more often than not, the lead vehicles at a stop line at lights are already over the line. Since I ride with cameras I would simply challenge the police as to why they are singling out the motorcycle over the previously stopped vehicles and let them know I will take the latter up in front of a magistrate and make formal complaints. Police cannot choose to selectively enforce laws at their whim, all or nothing in my opinion.

  7. Agree with two previous posts:
    whilst you wait for the law to be changed (or not) and NOT holding your breadth – add another good safety-habit to your skill bag:

    a red-light-runner check!

    All what is required to headturn quickly to your right then left before taking off. Has worked for me.
    BTW, this red-light-runner check is now part of the curriculum when instructing Learner Riders in Vic.

  8. I rode the motorbike into work Monday for International Ride Day, first time for about 6 months. I stopped riding mainly because I was tired of motorists trying to either through subtle or even blatant road positioning cause harm to motorbikes riders as they filter. It was refreshing to see that behavior has changed somewhat though it was first day of school holidays so traffic was already light anyway. I may decide to ride more regularly as a result, but the reality is with the times I drive anyway, the time saving is minimal, and the additional requirements such as safety gear etc just don’t stack up on a cost benefit analysis (my car is also very light on fuel). Filtering presently offers no real benefits for me personally, though it is nice to be able to do it. When attitudes become more European like (those who have ridden there will understand) maybe more people will ride than drive.

  9. Drag racing a bike? Tell them they are dreaming. I am accross the intersection before the vehicles next to me even moved a yard accross the line with their front wheel, and that is on a 300cc bike.
    As for viewing possible red light runners, i have yet to experience a blocked view.

  10. We need regular commercials on TV in order to educate motorists on the laws on lane filtering — Not Coke Cola but life saving education….

    The only people who give motorcyclists grace in traffic are motorist who are also riders and past riders. The rest are just hoons with attitude.

  11. In the UK, it is against the law to filter to the front of the queue. A rider can filter down the traffic and must nip back into lane behind the lead vehicle

  12. Considering that most filtering rules were written to increase revenue streams (the previous rules only had minor fines and one or no demerit points )
    I doubt very much that this kind of common sense would prevail over the greed for revenue. However since it is clearly safer for riders to be forward of the rest of the traffic (with the exception that you are not protected by a wall of vehicles from the idiot who crashes head on into those vehicles or causes such a crash. And the idiot with eyeballs glued to the phone hitting the gas when they see the cars in the right turn lane moving out the corner of their eye) you could probably avoid the fines by writing to the powers that be and taking it to court if that doesn’t work after a while a judge may get sick of seeing these fines and word will be sent out not to issue them anymore.

  13. Nice idea. Won’t work, won’t happen! When you go to places like Italy you see a nation that loves motorbikes; here (in Sydney anyway) the attitude is one of indifference and often outright hostility. That is reflected not only in the way that other road users treat motorcycles, but also (and because there aren’t enough of us to form an effective lobby) in the political will of legislators to do anything meaningful. And anyway, the ‘advanced line’ would soon fill up with cyclists…guaranteed!

  14. Very good post. Lane filtering is excellent and why wouldn’t someone want a better way for all traffic to flow? It’s the safety aspect that is always questionable.
    Riders only lane filter when safe to do so, and yes I’ve had many a time when a car either didn’t check their mirrors or purposely accelerate and move onto the centre line to scare or near-miss myself on a bike and I only move through stand-still traffic with room. Something like the European system would be nice, on say double laned+ roads or major roads where motorcycles and traffic are usually congested etc. great read again and thankyou

  15. I ride 1000km/week (200km for 5 days a week). Lane filtering is a very useful rule that enables me to bypass at least 2km of traffic each afternoon as I reach two bottlenecks on the Princess Hwy at Albion Park and Memorial Drive Fairy Meadow. I generally don’t have the red light running issue (and I am acutely focussed on red light runners before I take off and I always position myself so I can see. What ticks me off the most however is the cars that feel that my positioning myself at the head of the lights next to them is like jumping the cue and I have had a number of total tools attempt to take off before the light has even turned green and near running my foot over and our mirrors were within millimetres of colliding. This is where pure education is not enough but a rule change that enables a motorcyclist to position the bike literally in front of the car so they would clearly be attempting to run the bike over if they took off. This may be enough to stop the attempted drag race and idiosy putting motorcyclist lives in danger.

  16. To avoid the side red light runners, I already stop well over the unbroken white line so I can see clearly when some rabbit is running a red light. Much safer for me and my pillion. The Police haven’t stopped me for this which is very generous of them, I bet they can see less paperwork from fewer motorcycle accidents in their actions.
    Thanks guys

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