Lane filter wars set to continue

Lane filter Incident

Forty months after NSW allowed riders to lane filter and the laws have since spread throughout the country, drivers are still trying to obstruct riders and police don’t seem to care.

This video from Newcastle rider Harry Criticos shows the lengths to which some motorists will go to stop riders doing what is legal.

“I was filtering legally when a driver stuck his whole body out in an attempt to block me,” the 2016 Triple Black R 1200 GS rider  says.

“I did not stop and he did make contact with the bike. I hope it hurt.”

UPDATE: If you’ve already read this article, skip to the end to find out why police did not charge the driver.

Lane filter education 

Surely it is time for some major advertising campaigns in each state to advise motorists that riders allowed to filter and what benefits there are for ALL motorists.

That was the major finding of our online poll last year, yet there are still no major ad campaigns.

So far, lane filtering education campaigns have been minimal and mainly aimed at riders, not the general motoring public.

We not only need major ad campaigns, but also roadside signage advising motorists that lane filtering is legal and helpful to all motorists as it takes the motorcycle space out of the traffic queue.

lane filtering signs consensus duty defend filter
Here’s a sign we’d like to see!

While no polls have been conducted in Australia, polls in California where lane splitting (filtering at higher speeds than 30km/h) have found it is vastly unpopular among other road users. The main objection is that is unfair!

That breeds hostility which results in stupid behaviour such as in the above video.

Neighbouring state Arizona is debating a bill to pass lane splitting laws, but supporting Bob Eberhardt of the Arizona Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs says but “it could be a little dangerous until the public was aware that it was legal”.

Lane filtering lane splitting America danger bosch filter
Lane splitting is unpopular in the USA

We couldn’t agree more. So long as it remains unpopular and/or erroneously believed to be illegal, motorists will do stupid and dangerous things to stop riders filtering.

Police ‘not interested’

Not only are authorities not interested in educating the motoring public about lane filtering, but police don’t seem to help, either.

Harry says police aren’t interested in protecting filtering riders from enraged motorists.

“I went straight to the police with the video (of the incident) and the best they could do was talk to the driver and if they didn’t like his attitude, maybe send him a fine.Lane filter Incident

“I didn’t bother calling back to find out if they had spoken to him as they didn’t sound too enthusiastic. I’m sure that if it was a motorcyclist harassing motorists they’d be on our arse.

“I find it odd that the police don’t ring back. This to me, says that they didn’t bother.”

Update: Why police did not proceed

In the wake of the public interest in this article, Harry went back to the police to find out why they did not charge this driver.

The offence would be: Rule 268 (3) Part of body outside vehicle window/door – $325 fine, 3 demerits.

“No formal action will be taken as they could not identify the driver of the vehicle,” Harry says.

“The owner of the car was not the driver and they will not tell the police who was the driver. They need to identify the driver to pursue the matter.

“Also, as the driver and owner of the vehicle live outside of Newcastle on the Central Coast, they have to go through some paperwork such as a form of demand etc.

“The police need to do a cost-benefit analysis when it is a minor offence such as this and particularly when the offender is not local.

“Had the driver been local, the outcome may have been different, in that it may have been actioned. Had I been knocked of the bike, then it would have been pursued. 

“In essence, it is not worth pursuing as it is a minor offence that may be thrown out of court based on the legislation.

“The traffic legislation, as summarised by the officer, states that to be charged with having your body or parts of your body outside of the vehicle, the vehicle has to be moving for it to be an offence. As such, the offender’s lawyer could argue this point in court, if it got to that stage.

“I guess the upside is that they did look into it. The downside, as I explained to the officer, is that this creep has gotten away with it and will more than likely re-offend.” 

28 Comments

  1. Ride to work every day, down the lanes, stuff the rules, no probs. Many cars are quite helpful, obviously ride a bike or know someone who does. Give them a wave when I can.

    Of course you get the odd control freak nutter, policeman wannabees, both on & off motorcycles.
    Telling others what to do, putting in complaints.
    Ignore them.

    Never argue with a wanker, they’ll drag you down to their level & beat you with experience.

  2. Lack of driver education in SA too. But, there will always be personality disorder people with their own agendas to contend with. I ride a motorbike and a scooter. This experience highlights the ‘Might is Right’ mentality. I have the occasional incident on the bike such as the ‘mature’ woman who took offence at me lane splitting and deliberately drove her car into my leg! It is far worse on the scooter. I have had numerous incidents where, predominantly Female drivers, often in large SUV’s deliberately turn in front necessitating severe braking to avoid a collision. In the traffic chaos caused by the City Bay fun run road closures I lane split for kms with relative ease. Why? I had an OMG member up my clacker on his thundering Harley. The cagers parted like Moses parting the Red Sea.

  3. few years ago in qld i was stopped in my car at a pedestrian crossing
    when some clown came up behind me and overtook in the emergency lane
    flat out, The guy on the crossing literally had to jump for his life. I scribbled the number down and went with the pedestrian to the police station that happened to be around the corner…Same response we cannot prove who was driving. Like to try that on a speed camera

  4. They still haven’t legalised filtering here in Tasmania yet but I’m sure when they do we will have our fair share of obnoxious motorists trying to block us here too. I had someone at work recently say “Do you know what I hate most about motorcyclists?” I told him “Please enlighten me”. His reply “I hate motorcyclists because not fair that bikes get free parking spaces in the city & us car drivers have to pay to park”
    The good old “Not Fair” comes into play every time

  5. Cost benefit eh? If any more evidence were needed relation to revenue raising this would be it.
    Surely application of law to the offense is the only issue here not how much profit is made

  6. It’s an education problem, pure and simple. My non-rider friends are always shocked to know that filtering is not only legal, but beneficial for everyone. Drivers need to educated through the media and through the learners permit process.

  7. Hah! yeah the old “it’s not fair”. What a load of bull puckey!! Anyone can get a bike licence if they so desire. On top of that doesn’t it benefit everyone the more people are moving themselves around singularly or 2-up with a vehicle that weighs a couple hundred Kg, has a lot smaller engine and consequently uses less of the Earth’s finite resource of oil products, less power from whatever source and less metal and plastic to manufacture, as well as far lower emissions and less tarmac wear ‘n’ tear? I should think so, particularly compared to a 2 tonne vehicle often carrying only the driver. I generally don’t split lanes unless the lanes are stopped or moving extremely slow – just for my own safety. However if that is the case, I always lane-split/filter as close to the front as I can. It doesn’t slow the traffic as (like we all know) motorcycles accerlerate from a standstill more quickly than cars (we’re not talkin drag racing here, just safe driving/riding). Even a couple of decades ago when I was getting around town on a little 1965 Honda 50 Step-Thru I would lane-split through static traffic; though not to the front of the queue – I’d usually stop behind the front car. Not a lot of varoom on the little 50, but great fun to ride. Governments spend a lot of money on road safety campaigns for cyclists but the only motorcycle ad campaign from the government that I recall seeing was one aimed at motorcyclists, instructing them to be more careful!!! The only GOOD motorcycle safety ad campaign I’ve ever seen was paid for by the MRA and some associated sponsors.
    As far as SHAPS’ comment “Maybe it’s that attitude towards police that’s your problem!?”, I would refute that and suggest that maybe it’s the police’s attitude towards motorcyclists that is the problem. No doubt there are some Deckhead motorcyclists out there, just as there are plenty of Deckhead car drivers, but OVERALL these riders are generally only endangering themselves whereas those drivers endanger everyone in their proximity.
    Would education make a difference? It’d be nice to think so but after 36 years riding on the street, somehow I doubt it. Rant over. Nuff said. Ride safe 😉

  8. 2 weeks ago a P plate tried to ram my bike whilst lane filtering through stationary traffic, not once but three times. I had stopped infront of her as the car infront wouldn’t let me through.
    She then continued to scream at me to get back in the queue. She then held her horn down for the next ten meters to a pedestrian crossing where I popped the kick stand down, went to her window and proceeded to re educate her. Unbelievable….

  9. I’ve found the opposite. I live in Newcastle (NSW) and in my experience drivers have become more accepting of lane filtering over the past 12 months. Some drivers even pull away from the centre line to give more room (so I give them a thank you nod or a wave)! I’ve also been sporting a, “Lane filtering is legal” sticker on my pannier available from the Motorcycle Council of NSW.

    1. I was thinking more razor sharp machete, but your’e probably right, wouldn’t want to have to clean the bike and get blood out of the riding gear…

  10. ACT drivers are generally considered about the worst in the country, but in the past two years filtering here, I reckon I have had half a dozen drivers (at most) try to make it hard for me and twenty times that move aside to give me more space. Maybe they value their paintwork more here…

  11. We’re smaller & may manoeuvre practically anywhere & disappear if we keep our wits about us. So seriously, who gives a f##k any car drivers attempt at preventing us legally filtering.
    I do hope the guy with his arm out the window had a serious OUCH moment at the rider continued on regardless 😛

  12. Well Harry, had you busted his hand as he hung out of his car trying to interfere with another vehicle, right or wrong that tool would have reported you for sure and you could bet the coppers woulda been all over you!
    I hope his hand was bent like a banana and is still hurting.
    It’s fantastic how the police will bend over backwards not to assist motorcyclists and to do everything possible to harass. Shame on you

  13. People seem surprised.
    After riding everyday for the last 35 years and clocking up over 600.000K’s in the process, the police don’t give a shit about motorcyclists.
    We’re just and easy money earner for them.

  14. I’m sorry, after 35 years of riding everyday and clocking up 600.000K’s in the process, nothing’s changed.
    Police treat us as the enemy and that’s the way it is.
    We’re just cannon fodder for the oinkers.

  15. If they didn’t like his attitude? He displays his attitude quite clearly in the video – there’s nothing to like about it – so they are going around to his joint to see if he will repent? sorry – since when was that part of the process.

    His action was to willfully interfere with the otherwise safe operation of another vehicle – I don’t see how that is not an offence and would be ignored by any ethical and professional police officer.

    The fact that drivers think its unfair is a huge revelation on their mentality – though this is not universal. It can come into play reasonably when some git on a 49cc scooter splits in front of a sports car – I’ve seen it happen.

    Which comes to another point – the government and the police seem to have failed the public miserably when it comes to education. Part of this is referring to it as ‘filtering’ – seriously? the first time I’d ever heard of the term was when the politicians got hold of the subject – it’s always been ‘lane splitting’ and always will be. Changing the name to try and introduce some distinction on speed is utterly counterproductive … every time the subject comes up around people I’ve known and associated with – work, clubs, etc its always referred to as splitting and often some guppy will try to correct everyone and get told to f-off.

    1. Yep, I was thinking the same thing. Calling it “filtering” is confusing, for a start. That’s not the only issue, but it’s part of it. The first time I ever heard the term “filtering” with regard to lane splitting was watching Royal Jordanian videos on YouTube. I since found out, from watching other UK rider’s vids, that “filtering” is the terminology that everyone uses for lane splitting in the UK. That’s fair enough for the UK, but in Australia, it has always been “lane splitting.”

  16. Just do it. The best education is more and more riders doing it. Just be consistent and keep your wits about you. Drivers seeing more and more riders splitting will educate better than any sign and the Police have got way more better things to do than educate drivers.

  17. This would be the appropriate fine for the crime:
    Rule 268 (3) Part of body outside vehicle window/door – $325 fine, 3 demerits

    At least the idiot wasn’t holding a mobile phone, with that hand anyhow.

  18. Most Qld police are the same, I have produced solid video evidence of drivers blatantly texting, talking on their mobile phones only to be told it’s my word against theirs even with video footage showing otherwise.
    The police wanted me to make a police report be prepared to go to court for the matter only for the case to be thrown out because the driver claimed they where just holding the device.
    The police told me to just get home and not to worry about what other drivers where doing.
    In other words “Mind your own business!” WTF!

      1. I used to be the same as Jason, but I stopped telling tales to the teacher when I entered grade 3.
        Grade 7 next year, I’m a big girl now! 🙂

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