It seems that many learner drivers are not being told about motorcycle lane filtering, nor being quizzed about it in their learner test.
NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia have introduced lane filtering, it’s on trial in the ACT and is shortly about to be introduced in Western Australia and Tasmania.
NSW, Victoria and Queensland have had short-lived publicity campaigns about lane filtering.
According to South Australian Ride To Review rider group spokesman Tim Kelly, the state has had “no education campaign whatsoever” about the new rule introduced in April this year.
NSW does not include any reference to lane filtering in its road user handbook, despite the rule being introduced in July 2014.
However, Transport NSW spokesman Alistair Adams-Smith says it is currently being updated and will include reference to lane filtering.
Victoria also does not include any reference to filtering in their online Road to Solo Driving Handbook even after it was updated in August 2016, nine months after it was introduced.
In fact, it actually seems to oppose it:
Cyclists and motorcyclists are entitled to ride two abreast (up to 1.5 metres apart); this makes them easier to see. Give cyclists and motorcyclists their own space. Never share the lane with cyclists or motorcyclists if you cannot leave clearance. Motorcyclists and cyclists should also keep a safe distance from other vehicles and not travel through small gaps between lines of traffic.
No specific test question
Also, none of the states with lane-filtering laws include a specific question for learner drivers about lane filtering in the written driving test, although NSW says it will be included after their update and SA says it will be included “in the computer-based theory test in the near future and considered for inclusion in the paper-based tests when the next comprehensive review is undertaken.”.
If learner drivers are not being told about it or quizzed on it, is there any wonder there is ignorance about the rule among motorists?
Ignorance can quickly turn to jealousy and road rage when drivers see riders filtering past them in the heavy traffic.
I even had one taxi driver abuse me for filtering, yet they’re supposed to be professional drivers who are aware of the current road rules.
Tasmania updates testing
Meanwhile, Tasmania has recently increased the costs of getting a motorcycle licence.
Tasmanian Motorcycle Council president Paul Bullock says they support the new system which is similar to Victoria, includes more training hours, leading to the extra expense.
“The focus is to better prepare the learner to ride on the road with other traffic,” Paul says.
“At present, participants are doing about 17km around an area then given a licence to ride on the road. In the new program they will be doing over 50km over two days and you have to pass day one to proceed to day two.
“Day two is on-road under supervision with an instructor. Then there is a check ride followed by your provisional exam.”