Edge filtering will never be allowed across all states so long as Queensland – the only state that permits the practice – does not acknowledge an anomaly in the law that is resulting in riders being heavily fined.
The laws, brought in by the previous Newman Government, allow edge filtering which is described as riding along the shoulder of the road or breakdown lane at no more than 30km/h if the posted speed limit on that road is 90km/h or above.
It is a great way to avoid the traffic snarls on many major highways.
However, most of these roads have electronic speed signs which reduce to below 90km/h in heavy traffic congestion situations, suddenly making edge filtering illegal.
Surely that is when edge filtering is most needed.
Shadow Main Roads Minister Andrew Powell admits that the anomaly is an “unintended consequence” of the rules that should be cleared up.
Transport Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey did not reply when asked for comment on this issue, but deferred to a department spokesperson who defended the rule anomaly.
“Speed limits are reduced as a result of circumstances creating a higher risk to road users, such as roadworks or a traffic incident, with road construction or emergency services personnel in the road area,” the spokesperson says in an email.
“Allowing motorcycles to lane filter in these circumstances is potentially dangerous both to the rider, other motorists and the workers in the area.”
But what about when the speed limit is reduced for heavy traffic, which would surely be more often than for roadworks or an accident!
The MRAQ has called for the scrapping of the 90km/h minimum speed for edge filtering.
“We cannot understand, and have not had it explained, why there is the minimum 90km/h posted road speed limit for edge filtering,” an MRAQ statement says.
“It would make more sense to have this practice allowed on any road section that had a road margin of a particular minimum width to use it to filter as long as the the reason that necessitated the filtering would not put the rider or other road users in danger.
“An obvious situation that brings the current rule into question is when roads with variable speed limit signs are reduced for reasons that are exactly why filtering should happen like traffic congestion.
“An example of this is on the Gateway Arterial at time of congestion the speed limit is reduced via the variable signage. Not allowing filtering can be seen to be counter-productive in this situation because it is not allowing some congestion relief that could be gained.”
The MRAQ was pivotal in coercing the previous government into introducing lane filtering, but is not entirely happy with the rules and wants riders who are confronted with problems and rule anomalies to contact them.
They also want provisional licensed riders with one-year’s experience to be allowed to filter and want to scrap the term used in the road rule of “when safe to do so” as an overriding clarification.
“This term is far too simplistic and open to individual interpretation and hence can and has caused what we believe to be incorrect implementation. A better term or greater clarification to this wording needs to be found so as to reduce the potential for misinterpretation or misuse.”
The MRAQ has also called for riders to adhere to the laws.
“There is still a problem with a few riders that seem to believe that there should be no rules applicable to the practice or to them and that they should be able to filter under any condition and in any way that they like. These riders are doing others a great disservice in that they have the effect of reinforcing the belief in some other road users’ minds that all riders are a problem and should be removed from the system.”