Lane filtering for motorcycles will be legal in NSW from July 1 and Australian Motorcycle Council chairman Shan Lennard says they will be working to see it go national.
Under the scheme, fully-licensed riders will be able to ride through stationary or slow-moving traffic (below 30km/h) at intersections. Riders will be limited to 30km/h and will not be able to filter in school zones, beside kerbs, in break-down lanes, or next to trucks and buses. Learners and provisional licence holders will not be allowed to filter.
NSW is the first state to legalise the practice of lane filtering after it held a trial in the CBD in March and April last year. Roads Minister Duncan Gay calls the decision a “common sense solution” that will “ease congestion”.
While there is actually no law that specifically bans lane filtering in other states, it can be covered under failure to stay in your lane, passing on the left or dangerous operation of a vehicle. There is no law sanctioning it, either. NSW will create a new law specifically banning riders from filtering through traffic at more than 30km/h.
In Asia, Europe and Japan, lane filtering is not only legal, but encouraged to avoid gridlock. It is not legal in the USA, but is tolerated in some states such as California unless you are traveling recklessly.
There was double good news for NSW motorcyclists today with the Minister also announcing they would fix the anomaly regarding the minimum spacing for motorcycle rear indicators. The legal spacing under Australian Design Rules is a minimum of 180mm yet under NSW legislation road authorities were enforcing a minimum of 300mm.
“A lot of motorcyclists complied with Australian Design Rules yet riders driving around in popular bikes like the Suzuki GSXR-750 or the Honda XR250L were still getting hit with defect notice,” he says. “This package of reforms is a result of close consultation with key stakeholders such as the NSW Motorcycle Alliance, Motorcycle Council of NSW and NSW Police.”
Motorcycle council of NSW spokesman Chris Burns welcomed the announcement on lane filtering saying it could actually prevent riders from being injured. “Some drivers don’t actually understand that by filtering, riders are getting out of the rear-end danger zone which is the most common crash in NSW,” he says. “If you are in a car and you get rear ended you might get whiplash. If you’re on a bike you get squashed.”
Law firm Maurice Blackburn, has welcomed the move after they backed a YouTube video showing the benefits of filtering. Firm principal John Voyage says NSW has led the way and “others should see the sense in it and do the same”. He says the 2009 European Motorcycle Accident Indepth Study shows it’s safer for riders and it is legal in many other places around the world. The “Take a Longer Look” video was funded via Australia’s riding community who bought Stop SMIDSY t-shirts to fund the project. Watch the video below.