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.
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”.
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.
“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.”