Lane filtering on a motorcycle is when the rider moves slowly between two rows of stationary or slow-moving vehicles going in the same direction. If you ride a motorcycle, you’ve no doubt lane filtered at some time, and if you’re a driver or passenger you have most likely seen motorbikes lane filtering in heavy traffic. While lane filtering is legal, there are rules around it. Lane splitting, however, is definitely illegal and is done by riding a motorcycle between stationary or slow-moving traffic at more than 30km/h or more, which is unsafe.
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The Road Rules on Lane Filtering
For fully licenced motorcyclists in New South Wales, lane filtering is legal but only at low speeds of up to 30 km/h and only when and where it is safe to do so. There are instances where lane filtering is illegal. For example, you cannot lane filer on a motorcycle in the following circumstances:
- between an adjacent kerb and traffic
- between parked vehicles and traffic
- in school zones and bicycle lanes
- between lanes of traffic that are travelling in the opposite direction
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The History of the Lane Filtering Law
Filtering has been legal for around five years since the motorcycle community succeeded in a bid to have the government legalise it. Their legal argument was that:
- It was safe
- It had the potential to help ease traffic congestion
- This was especially so with the number of motorcyclists on the roads
- And that this number was increasing every year.
Even though it was still illegal, lane filtering had been a common practice on NSW roads particularly where traffic congestion was a problem. A filtering trial was held in 2013 by Transport for NSW (TfNSW) to identify the potential risks or benefits to road safety and traffic flow. (TfNSW) then analysed the findings and in close consultation with the NSW Police Force considered appropriate policy responses. Lane filtering is not legal for cyclists.
If lane filtering is practiced in a dangerous or negligent way police can charge motorcycle riders with negligent, furious or reckless driving. If a rider damages another vehicle when lane filtering this could be a breach of other laws including:
- Failure to stop at the scene after a crash (Rule 287)
- Failure to have proper control of a vehicle (Rule 297)
- And if the damage is done recklessly or intentionally then the rider could face property damage offences under the Crimes Act 1900.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident you may be able to claim compensation. At PK Simpson, our team of claim experts can guide you through the process to help you get back on your feet. contact PK Simpson on 1300 757 467 or book an appointment to come and see us to have a chat.