As lane filtering becomes legal in more Australian and American states, drivers are expected to become more jealous but less aggressive over time.
Riders in Queensland and NSW where lane filtering has become legal and the ACT where it is trialled have reported incidences of drivers trying to prevent them from lane filtering. (It becomes legal in Victoria on November 2.)
However, a Californian Motorcycle Lane-Sharing study shows that the incidence of drivers trying to prevent riders from filtering through lanes will decrease over time.
The study of lane splitting (filtering at speed) was conducted over three years by Ewald & Wasserman Research Consultants in California where the practice is not legally sanctioned, but allowed, mainly so bike cops can move through traffic in hot conditions on air-cooled motorcycles.
For the past few years, lane splitting has increased as the Californian Government considers legalising the practice. Several other US states are also considering lane-slitting laws.
The study shows that in 2012, 7.3% of drivers tried to prevent riders from splitting lanes. This figure almost halved over the next two years as the practice became more prevalent.
In 2012, the principal reason given by one in four drivers for preventing a rider from splitting lanes was that it was unsafe.
However, that was surpassed in 2014 by one in four drivers who now believe the main problem is that it is unfair that riders get ahead of them.
Three out of every five drivers surveyed still think lane splitting should be illegal with women 10% more negative about the laws than men.
However, of those drivers who approve of lane splitting, almost one in four agrees that it helps reduce congestion while one in four believes it is safe.
So while Aussie riders may experience some aggravation in the first couple of years of lane filtering, it is expected to die down as more and more drivers see it as a safe way to reduce traffic congestion.
And as driver frustration and envy grows at riders slipping through traffic jams, we can only hope more drivers convert to two wheels.