Minister rejects lane filtering updates

Lane filtering minister autonomous change

Two years after lane filtering was introduced in Queensland by the previous government the current Minister still rejects amendments as more riders call for uniform national rules.

The Motorcycle Riders Association of Queensland has asked the Minister to change the Queensland-only filtering rule that prevents riders using the breakdown lane or left verge on some occasions. It’s referred to as “edge filtering” and it is only permitted in Queensland, although riders would like to see it introduced in the states.

It is only permitted on roads posted at 90km/h or above. However, when these arterial roads jam with traffic and it is becomes more important for riders to edge filter, electronic speed signs change to a lower speed making edge filtering illegal.

Queensland Police confirm that, in those situations, it is illegal and they have fined riders.

Fine and crash stats

We asked police and relevant departments in each state/territory (Queensland, NSW, Victoria and ACT) where lane filtering is allowed for figures on lane filtering crashes and fines for illegal filtering.

They say figures for crashes are not available because lane filtering is not recorded as an attribute.

We are still waiting on fine figures, but in the first year Queensland’s Main Roads reports 681 infringements issued for motorcycles unlawfully lane filtering. There was no breakdown on which offence they committed (edge filtering, forward of the stop line, faster than 30km/h, etc).

Before lane filtering, fines were about $150 for passing on the left or $75 for failure to stay in your lane. Now fines vary between states but are more than $300 and three demerit points.

Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey says they are pleased with the lane filtering road rules implemented by the previous government.

“Positive feedback has been received from motorbike riders and groups,” he says.

Riders seek amendments

However, MRAQ president Chris Mearns says they are not happy with the edge filtering rule anomaly.

MRAQ president Chris Mearns - learner riders minister
MRAQ president Chris Mearns

“The current inclusion as written has always been a mystery to the MRAQ as to why and how it was arrived at and to date no-one has been able to satisfactorily explain why it is written as it is which did not seem to take account of the ever expanding role out of digitally alterable signage,” Chris says.

The Minister says that when the speed limit reduces on an electronic sign, “it is often because of a traffic incident or road works”. 

“Road workers, emergency services personnel and/or other vehicle occupants may be vulnerable on the road shoulder or emergency stopping lane if edge filtering in these conditions was introduced,” he says. 

“Even when the speed limit is reduced, motorcyclists are still able to lane filter down the middle.”

Forward stop lines

Lane filtering lane splitting stop lines report minister
Advanced motorcycle stop lane in Spain

There have also been calls among riders for a forward stop line at intersections as used in many European and Asian cities.

It allows riders to gather safe.

However, the Minister also rejected that change to the rules.

“The design of intersections considers many safety factors to ensure the safety of road users,” he says.

“Bicycle storage areas have been installed at many intersections across the state and motorbike riders are permitted to filter through traffic and make use of these areas which are placed in front of existing stop lines.”

Uniform lane filtering rules

There have also been calls for uniform filtering rules across state boundaries so riders aren’t caught out by differences.

South Australian riders group, Ride to Review (RTR), has drafted a Lane Filtering Submission which includes the use of bus lanes. The submission is a solid model for all states.

7 Comments

  1. The reason forward stop lines won’t be implemented is purely down to the cost.
    I recently suggested to Brisbane City Council that FSLs be implemented at a particular intersection in Fortitude Valley. This was knocked back because a) Not BCCs responsibility, b) the intersection would need to have sensors extended backward to register both bikes and cars as well as lines repainted, and c) the legislation would need to be changed.
    The second excuse is what would cost the money, and I doubt there are enough motorcyclist politicians/public servants to make it electorally popular (worthy of the bother). The particular intersection is being resurfaced by June next year (leaving ruts in the ‘filter lane’ there for another 12 months at least). It would be a prime time to do the work, and a first in Australia, but sadly I doubt the Lycra infused bureaucrats would be able to do anything in that timeframe other than widen cycle lanes and introduce more cycle friendly laws.

  2. NSW country riders and interstate riders be aware that in NSW we have the infamous BUS ONLY lanes on a very small number of arterial roads in Sydney, Epping Highway being one. The “lanes” are often only the length of a bus at intersections and you are not permitted to enter the lane.

    There is at least one Highway Patrol Officer on Epping highway enforcing the rule and a rider was booked recently for entering the lane for one car length only then stopping in the normal lane in the process of filtering to the front of traffic at 6.30 am.

    The officer concerned was in the oncoming turn right lane, performed a U-Turn without the obligatory toots and blues and then stopped in a marked no stopping verge a little further down the road in order to issue the infringement notice of $325 and 1 point. So we have an officer acting dangerously, stopping in a type of place in which more than 1 motorist has been killed in order to write an arbitary infringement notice for doing something which was not dangerous and would not be illegal in other States, so much for road safety.

    Unification of filtering laws through the Australian Road Rules is on the agenda for Rider Associations this year and it cant come soon enough

  3. You think that filtering rules were implemented to facilitate safe filtering but you’d be wrong! They were implemented to garner a new source of revenue from previously undefined offences .
    With the exception of those who wear thongs shorts and a singlet on a sport bike and ride like they stole it, the vast majority of riders do what is safest for themselves their pillions and the public including those Lycra wearing nazies who somehow seem to get whatever they want. So most of the supposed for our safety rules that we get fined for breaking are far from actually being in our best interests and more for the benefit of public revenue.

  4. Generally in urban traffic it would be safe and convenient to allow motorcycles to use bicycle lanes near intersections and traffic lights, when no bicycles are there (as is the case at most Brisbane intersections).

  5. Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey says, “The design of intersections considers many safety factors to ensure the safety of road users,” he says. “Bicycle storage areas have been installed at many intersections across the state and motorbike riders are permitted to filter through traffic and make use of these areas which are placed in front of existing stop lines.” << WTH!!
    How the hell did the cycling lobby manage to convince the main road department that it was "safe" for a person on a bicycle to be right in front of cars at traffic lights, to the left hand side with bike symbol yes okay. There are many areas that could be made moto only forward stop line areas.
    I see potential moto only areas at traffic lights all over the place, for the minister to say its for "The design of intersections considers many safety factors to ensure the safety of road users," In some areas not all!
    I bet you he was just told that by a Main Roads bureaucrat, I will park in the box, its for my safety and the rider behind me, their my reasons.

    Labor you have lost my vote..

    1. You’re getting angry at the wrong problem. I have no issue with using the ‘Bicycle Storage area”.

      It makes sense to make this space available to motorcycles if its unoccupied by pushbikes.

      If you want to get angry, get angry at the issue that the government is OK with forcing us to ride between cars instead of using the safer option of the hard shoulder: “Even when the speed limit is reduced, motorcyclists are still able to lane filter down the middle.” We just have to risk have a car fail to notice us on a lane change.

      “Road workers, emergency services personnel and/or other vehicle occupants may be vulnerable on the road shoulder or emergency stopping lane if edge filtering in these conditions was introduced,” he says: The excuse that Road Workers will be placed at risk is poor at best. The reality is that every rider using the hard shoulder is actively scanning for obstacles, including Road Workers, broken down cars, and even refuse that can cause damage to our bikes.

      The Minister says “Positive feedback has been received from motorbike riders and groups,” well of course theres positive feedback! Before this law was passed it wasn’t legal.

      If you want to be angry, be angry at the Minister’s failure to understand what its like to be a rider.

      Maybe he needs to get a licence, buy a bike, and learn what its like to be a rider before he continues to assume what its like.

      1. If you go to google maps look up the intersection of Rio Vista Blvd & Markeri Street at Mermaid Waters in Qld.. On the Rio Vista Blvd sides of the intersection you will see the box painted green with Bicycle symbols.. That’s fine, but its who its for originally that bugs me, sprint racing bikes I’m not talking one or two, i’m talking a pack 5 to 10 riders stopped in the “Bicycle storage area” in front of vehicles. Now when they have momentum no worries, but when they start moving from a dead stop they are so slow.
        Now if the left side was for Cyclist | | | like it normally is no worries but when its looks like this> | | < That is crazy..
        Shoulder riding: Not a big fan as I've done it a few times but when I just missed a box of scattered nails on my bike.. nope! The police should be more lenient towards riders if the speed limit is electronically changed, signage should be put up warning riders and motorist that the speed limit could change at anytime.
        Reason for being angry: I wrote to the Qld minister of Main Roads Mark Bailey sometime ago regarding Advanced stop lines for motorcyclist only or amending the stop line rule for motorcyclist at traffic light controlled intersections.. He never replied back.
        Then I read in Motorcycle Writers piece "Minister rejects lane filtering updates" To sum up his words regarding Advanced Stop Line for motorcyclist ONLY as "Not Safe".. ????
        And letting a large group of bicyclist stop in front of traffic is safe? Really!
        I think they have bicycles on the brain.. Every time I say motorcycle and they think bicycle..

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