Unbroken white lines are appearing on more and more roads in an effort to stop motorists from overtaking, but is there an argument for riders to be exempt?
White lines were first introduced in the US in 1911 and in Australia in the ‘20s. The idea was to keep traffic from running into each other.
At the same time it became an offence to cross unbroken lines.
But these lines were introduced at a time when vehicles were slow and took a long time to overtake.
They do not account for the acceleration abilities of modern vehicles. Motorcycles, in particular, can overtake very quickly, efficiently and safely.
So should riders be allowed to overtake over unbroken lines when safe to do so?
There is already a precedent in the new lane filtering rules that allow riders to cross solid white lines.
These rules recognise that motorcycles are different from other vehicles because they are narrower.
Perhaps the road rules should also recognise other unique dynamics of motorcycles and change some of the road rules in accordance.
Allowing overtaking on unbroken white lines may seem radical and dangerous, but there are many cases where single white lines have been painted on roads yet it is safe for motorcycles to pass.
After all, motorcycles can accelerate a lot quicker than almost any car and therefore can overtake a vehicle in less time and distance than other vehicles.
That means the bike is on the wrong side of the road for less time and therefore not exposed to the danger of a head-on collision.
Let’s face it, centre line marking on many country roads has been painted for the “slowest common denominator”.
And it’s a growing trend.
Many winding scenic roads such as Mt Glorious and the Black Spur now have unnecessarily long stretches with a solid white line.
There are plenty of places on these roads where a motorcycle can easily and safely overtake a vehicle travelling at the speed limit, let alone the slow-moving Sunday drivers that frequent these roads.
In fact, it is not uncommon to witness riders flouting the centre line law and overtaking slow drivers.
Police have been known to exploit this by driving slowly on these roads in unmarked cars and videoing riders who overtake, then sending them a fine in the post. Some might call this entrapment!
The only time motorists are allowed to cross solid white lines is entering or leaving a property or to overtake a cyclist. And that’s a whole other issue that endangers motorcyclists’ lives.