Forward stop lines for lane filtering riders could be trialled in one Australian state while others reject it and one state does not even have lane filtering yet.
This separation of motorcycles from other types of vehicles is designed to improve the performance of busy signalised intersections by making traffic flow more efficiently.
We contacted relevant departments in each state to find out what they think of the lines, but there was no repose from Tasmania or the Territories.
VicRoads and the City of Melbourne are investigating whether forward motorcycle stop lines are required and potential impacts of their installation.
VicRoads Acting Director, Road User and Vehicle Access, James Soo, says that when lane filtering was introduced in Victoria in 2016, “motorcyclists highlighted that lane filtering was a safe activity already occurring on Victorian roads”.
“Due to this, no infrastructure changes were required,” James says.
However that may soon change as a Motorcycles In Melbourne Committee (MIMC) meeting on Thursday (May 31, 2018) will discuss a trial of forward stop lines.
James says VicRoads is working with council on the matter.
“As part of the City of Melbourne Motorcycle Plan 2015 – 2018 VicRoads was approached by council alongside other government agencies and road user groups to investigate the need for motorcycle boxes and what impacts of the installation may be,” he says.
A City of Melbourne spokesperson confirmed they are working with VicRoads.
“Briefs have been sent out to several consultancies to prepare a fee proposal for the undertaking of the study. A consultant is expected to be appointed in June,” the spokesperson says.
MIMC member and Independent Riders Group spokesman Damien Codognotto says the new stop lines would “complement traffic filtering laws in congested cities and will be a serious benefit to commuters both in terms of safety and better traffic flow”.
“The proposed stop lines will also improve pedestrian safety by separating larger vehicles from pedestrian crossings,” he says.
Trial costs should come from the Motorcycle Safety Levy (MSL), but they would not be excessive, Damien says.
“Some road paint, a stencil and a motorbike logo will be all that is required on many intersections.”
He points out that changes to legislation and regulations to permit the stop lines would not be complex as it has already been adopted for cyclists.
Transport for NSW says it has not considered forward stop lines for motorcycles because the percentage of motorcycles to other traffic is “not as high” in NSW as in European and Asian countries where the lines are used.
Riders are already allowed to the use the green “bicycle storage areas” in Queensland so long as they are not already occupied by cyclists. This is not the case in many European cases as this London images shows.
However, riders are not allowed to use a cycling lane to filter. And since most bike storage areas are off to the left side of a lane, rather than in front, it basically prevents riders from legally accessing the bicycle boxes.
We could not find any examples where these could be accessed, although Main Roads says a few do exist. Please advise us if you know of any by clicking here to send an email.
The Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure says they are not considering forward stop lines because, “of the serious casualty crashes that occur at intersections, only a small proportion are rear-end crashes”.
However, a Swann Motorcycle Insurance survey found that in 40% of motorcycle claims, the rider was hit from behind.
An international study also shows that 66.7% of all crashes involving a motorcycle and car occur at an intersection with half being fatal.
This is the only state that does not yet have lane filtering.
Motorcycle Riders Association of Western Australia President Steve Fish says he is hopeful Main Roads will announce the legislation at a Motorcycle Safety Forum on June 23.
“We hope this will be clarification regarding lane filtering and the use of bus lanes as, although motorcycles can use bus lanes, it hasn’t been officially released yet.”
Our inquiry to Main Roads was referred on to the Road Safety Commission (RSC).
An RSC spokesperson told us the State Government is “currently considering broader motorcycle safety reforms in consultation with community and industry that include lane filtering and lane splitting and improvements to the Graduated Driver Trainer and Licensing System”.
“Forward stop lines would be for Mains Road WA to consider, however infrastructure improvements, which could include separating motorcycles from other road users, is something being considered as part of the reforms,” she says.