Riders crossing state and territory borders should be aware that motorcycle lane filtering rules and penalties vary substantially.
However, the rules vary from just over the borders in NSW.
There were several rule variances in the trial that have been carried over to the permanent rules.
But the ACT also added a ban on filtering in ANY 40km/h including school zones, roadworks and city centres, even though the CBD is surely the most vital place to lane filter to the front of queues of traffic.
It’s the only state or territory with such a ban, although some Melbourne CBD streets have banned areas.
Fines across borders
The ACT fine is $292 and two demerit points for some filtering offences which is in the middle of penalties around the country.
The lowest penalties are in Victoria at $159 and no demerit points, followed by Tasmania with the same fine but two demerit points.
In Queensland, the fine is $341 and three demerit points and in South Australia it’s $363 and three demerit points.
NSW is the most expensive for lane-filtering riders who get it wrong. They can be fined $659 and three demerit points (but no double demerits) for breaches.
However, the ACT fines are a little more complex and based on adding exemptions to the existing road rules.
- Only allowed when safe to do so;
- Not allowed at a speed greater than 30km/h;
- Only allowed by fully licensed motorcyclists (ie. learner and provisional licensed motorcyclists are not allowed to lane filter);
- Not allowed on the kerbside next to a footpath or in bicycle lanes or breakdown lanes;
- Not allowed in ANY 40km/h zones (such as school zones, roadworks and city centres); and
- Not allowed past heavy vehicles and buses.
To allow lane filtering, the ACT had to create these exemptions to the road rules:
- Overtaking on the left;
- Passing too close;
- Negligent riding / driving;
- Unsafe overtaking; and
- Driving within a single marked lane or line of traffic and moving from one marked lane to another marked lane across continuous line separating lanes.
A Justice and Community Safety Directorate spokesman explains that if a rider breaks any of these rules and is not lane filtering in accordance with the rules “the penalty would be that applicable to the offence the person has committed”. Some of these can be higher than the lane-filtering penalty.
“The exemption provides conditions under which lane filtering can occur including, that it is safe, and provides examples of where it would not be safe,” the spokesman says.
“A number of those examples would not have a specific penalty applicable.
“There is one example of ‘the rider is crossing a children’s crossing or pedestrian crossing’ – the infringement notice penalty for overtaking on a children’s crossing or pedestrian crossing is $474 and three demerit points.”