From next year Queensland will join NSW in allowing lane filtering. It will also introduce cheaper helmets from overseas and permit riders to stretch their legs and stand up while riding.
Some of the restrictions included in NSW lane filtering laws introduced this year will not be included in Queensland. While NSW riders will not be allowed to filter beside buses and trucks, it is only a recommendation in Queensland. NSW riders can’t filter beside kerbs or in the break-down lane, but it will be allowed in Queensland on roads with speed limits of 90km/h or more. Queenslanders will also be allowed to enter the green bicycle storage areas at traffic light. Like NSW, the laws restrict learners and provisional riders from filtering, only up to 30km/h and no filtering in school zones.
It seems only a matter of time before more states join in with lane filtering rules with the ACT considering it and the Victorian opposition endorsing lane filtering. However, it could also lead to a situation where slightly different laws in each state create confusion and traps for the unwary motorcyclist.
Queensland has also gone maverick by axing the rules around Australian standards for helmets, permitting helmets with European, US and Japanese safety standards or any other helmet that adheres to United Nations standards. That will mean riders can buy cheaper helmets over the internet. It also means distributors will be able to bring helmets in at a cheaper price – at least for Queenslanders – because they do not have to pay for extra testing to pass Australian standards.
However, it could create confusion as riders travel interstate and leave distributors with a stockpile of expensive helmets.
Hopefully it will force other states to follow suit so we don’t have the ridiculous situation of Queensland riders travelling to another state and being fined for an illegal helmet or interstate riders buying a helmet while in Queensland that they find is non-compliant when they return home.
Queensland has also axed some arcane rider control laws that stupidly prevented riders from taking a foot off the pegs to stretch their legs, take both feet off the footpegs to reverse into a parking space, stand up on the pegs on rough roads and turn their head to do a shoulder check.
RACQ spokesman Steve Spalding says the changes to rider control rules are practical and make sense and will be welcomed by motorcyclists.
He says lane filtering should be done “in a safe and courteous manner and at slow speed”.
“It’s very much a case of sharing the road and riding in a responsible manner,” he says.
“There are some situations, such as when large vehicles are queuing, where it is safer for the motorcyclist to wait rather than try and squeeze between them and put their safety at risk.
“Just as it is important that motorcyclists filter at a safe speed, motorists can help improve the safety of the rider by carefully checking their mirrors and indicating before changing lanes as the traffic starts to queue.”
Mr Spalding also said the changes needed to be followed with an adequate education program, to raise awareness and understanding “of what the changes are and how they will affect both motorists and motorcyclists”.
As for concerns about interstate consistency of laws, he says “wherever possible we always prefer to see uniform road rules to make it easier for road users to understand and comply with them”.