There is no mention in the official lane filtering rules for Queensland, NSW, SA, Victoria or Tasmania.
However, they all suggest in their explanatory notes riders “should avoid” filtering next to buses and heavy vehicles.
It should also be noted that an overriding rule is that riders must lane filter only “when safe to do so” (or similar words).
This is mentioned in Victoria, SA, ACT, Queensland and Tasmania, but not NSW,
It not only puts the onus on the rider to act responsibly and safely, but also provides police with some latitude to fine riders based on their judgement.
Onus on trucks
While riders should always take responsibility for their own safety, there is also an onus on truck drivers and other motorists to share the road with all vehicles, including motorcycles.
London has taken it further, banning trucks (lorries) over 3.5 tonnes that do not have special extended mirrors to reduce blind spots.
Drivers with a non-complaint vehicle face a £50 Fixed Penalty Notice and potential fine of £1000 in the Magistrates Court.
Similar legislation would be most welcome here in Australia.
RACQ safety officer and Suzuki Bandit fan Steve Spalding says blind spots around large vehicles are “a very risky situation for riders”.
“If there are ways to improve the types of mirrors fitted, or have better placement of existing ones, then we’d like to see heavy vehicle operators make those changes,” he says.
“Riders have to be aware of their vulnerability at all times but particularly when in congested traffic and around large and heavy vehicles because it can be difficult for truck drivers to cover all the blind spots.”
However, the truck mirror legislation would not have helped the London rider in this video which has gone viral. He was in front of the driver!
More blind spots
One of the big problems with riding near trucks, buses and other big vehicles is that their blind sports are not the same.
Fixed vehicles such as vans and buses/coaches have different blind spots to B doubles or prime movers with trailers. There are also extra blind spots for trucks with hoods (eg Mack) rather than cab-over trucks (eg Hino) with flat fronts.
We spoke with several bus and truck drivers and they say they don’t have a lot of problems with riders, but agree that there is potential for riders to get lost in blind spots.
For fixed vehicles, the worst blind spot is close on the inside (left in RHD countries and right for LHD countries) of the vehicle. Most heavy vehicles have blind-spot mirrors, but fast-accelerating bikes can zoom into view so quickly on a slow-moving vehicle, the driver may not have had a chance to see them.
Prime movers also have the problem that when they turn, their mirrors, which are fixed to the prime mover, show only a view of the trailer on one side and a wide view on the other, creating a massive blind spot area.