Riders and their representatives have called for an education campaign for all motorists to alert them to the new rules about lane filtering.
The call comes after some isolated incidents of road rage by drivers who did not realise lane filtering is now legal in NSW, Queensland and the ACT where it is under a two-year trial.
Lane filtering is also expected to become legal in Victoria in September and rider representative bodies have called for an education campaign to prevent any errant road rage.
Unfortunately, these laws were introduced with little fanfare or public education. Only the ACT introduced lane filtering along with a substantial public education campaign.
MotorbikeWriter has received a few complaints via email, phone and social media from riders experiencing road rage from ignorant drivers since lane-filtering laws were introduced.
Some report that drivers honk them, abuse them and even race them from the lights.
In the latest incident, a Brisbane rider was deliberately “doored” by a driver incensed that he was making his way through the traffic, albeit legally.
However, rider representative groups say incidents are minor and isolated.
Motorcycle ride representatives in several states and Australian Motorcycle Council president Shaun Lennard say the introduction of lane filtering is going “smoothly”.
MCC NSW secretary Brian Wood says not only has he not experienced any road rage in his daily 45km each-way commute, but has experienced cars moving across to make it easier for him to pass.
“I only wish I had an easy way of signalling my appreciation,” he says. “Taking a hand off the bars is not a safe option and yelling a ‘thank you’ through a closed visor can’t always be heard.
“It’s a pity there hasn’t been a public education campaign,” he says. “A public education is, I believe, needed.”
Victorian Motorcycle Council spokesman Tony Ellis says they will get lane filtering in September without a trial period, but with an education campaign accompanying the implementation.
There has been no ad campaign in Queensland, only information on the government website and with rego renewal notices, but it seems unlikely the new State Government will have any desire to trumpet the achievement of the previous government.
RACQ spokesman Steve Spalding says he has not noticed any increased agro with filtering.
“I know there hasn’t been any signs of the conflict that cycling road rule changes bring about,” he says. “Other than some comments we (RACQ) have made about the rule changes on filtering there hasn’t been much in the mainstream media.”
Queensland MRA president Chris Mearns says riders are “fairly happy with the result so far”.
“Having said that, one did have an experience with a particularly aggressive woman that ended with her playing hide and seek for her car keys in the back seat but this seems to be by far the exception and not the rule.”
He suspects that filtering was a fairly common practice even before it was legalised, so drivers are well aware of it and not surprised.
“But there is always likely to be the random idiot that believes they should not be overtaken no matter what the circumstance.”
He says Main Roads has not done much of a job of introducing it to motorists.
“I know that there is a brochure that is randomly being included with rego renewals and there was a very minor campaign at the start but really a very lackadaisical effort.”
The ad campaign in the ACT seems to have had an impact, says MRA ACTR spokeswoman Jeniffer Woods.
“I was talking to a rider today about the trial in Canberra; he said that initially he felt that drivers were a bit antsy, but he said that seems to have stopped and cars have even once or twice moved over if they are still moving. The ACT Government also had a radio and TV campaign just prior and a few weeks into the launch of the lane filtering trial. May have made a difference.”
Meanwhile, Shaun says the AMC’s overall view is for a national approach to filtering.
“We’ve supported a national approach to rider training for over five years, but things continue to go in circles with that,” he says.
“By contrast, the NSW government got on and introduced filtering last year, and this has seen other states either follow or at least express real interest.
“We’ll continue to push for filtering to become part of the national road rules, and any national change should be accompanied by one advertising message for the entire country.”
Meanwhile, riders should make an effort to be courteous when lane filtering, give drivers a wave, smile or nod, and tell as many driver friends about the new rules.