As NSW and Queensland accept lane filtering as a traffic-jam buster, other states are idling over the issue and an American petition has been started.
In the USA, California is the only state to allow lane filtering or splitting. On December 2, a petition to the Obama administration was started to extend lane filtering around the nation. So far they have 3767 signatures and need 96,233 by January 2.
The petition says lane splitting “is something the rest of the world allows” which is not quite right, although it is accepted in most countries as a legitimate way of easing traffic congestion for all motorists.
In Australia, we have a hotchpotch of rules and lane-filtering trials.
NSW introduced lane filtering in July 2014 and Queensland brings it in officially in February 2015, although already Queensland police seem to be turning a blind eye to filtering. There are slight differences between the two states with NSW banning filtering beside trucks and buses and Queensland making that a suggestion only.
Victoria is expected to be the next state to add lane filtering with the recent election of a Labor Government. Victorian Motorcycle Council spokesman Tony Ellis says incoming Transport Minister Luke Donellan made a commitment to lane filtering before the election and incoming deputy premier James Merlino reinforced that on radio 3AW.
West Australian motorcycle advocate Dave Wright reports that lane filtering is not an issue there as road rule 122 says you can’t overtake on the left if the traffic is moving.
“So if the traffic is stationary, you can lane filter so long as you are safe,” he says.
“I had a meeting with the Minister for Road Safety (Liz Harvey) and they say they are reviewing Queensland and NSW for the next 12 months and will consider lane filtering for over here.”
The ACT begins a two-year lane filtering filtering trial on February 1.
Ulysses Club road safety committee national vice president Jen Woods says they have been monitoring the NSW situation.
“Our trial will look much the same as NSW for obvious reasons. If it was very different there would be big issues, because we’re surrounded by NSW.
“We’ve had a good working relationship with the ACT government around this trial and our big issue here is the education of other road riders and they are behind a campaign starting at the same time to tell motorists they have to share the road.”
South Australian Motorcycle Reference Group member Nev Gray says lane filtering has been brought up as an item for discussion with the government, but it was deemed not to be a problem.
“We just don’t have enough traffic congestion to warrant a special law, so the police just turn a blind eye to it and I have not heard of anyone being booked and that will continue,” he says.
However, at least one SA rider has reported that he has been fined for lane filtering.
Like SA, Tasmania and the Northern Territory report such low traffic volumes that lane filtering fines are not an issue.