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Road Rules ~ Lane Splitting


Lane Splitting or Lane Filtering:
“Lane Filtering” is still legal in all states of Australia although there are some technicalities that some police may book a biker for doing this. This may depend on the discretion of the policeman at the time, taking into account the speed you are doing and the other vehicles around you, if you are sharing the same lane as another vehicle which is also moving or passing to the left of a vehicle. If the policeman thinks that you are riding dangerously or recklessly among moving traffic he will most likely book you.

"Lane Splitting" is when a motorcycle travels between other cars in moving traffic. He/she is more likely to be booked for this especially if they are changing lanes without indicating or overtaking in the same lane or to the left of a car.

If you see a biker looking like filtering/splitting, maintain your position in the centre of the lane, or give a little more room if possible. (The biker will appreciate this) While often motorists will purposely minimize the room, this can create unnecessary dangers to the biker. While the motorcycle is about 70 cm wide at the bars, the mirrors make it wider & are at the same height as car mirrors. Experienced bikers may have no trouble in tight situations, while others wont try.

WHY do bikers do this? There are safety concerns for & against lane filtering.

1.  Firstly, because they can!

2.  Lane Filtering shortens the traffic lane cues & eases city traffic congestion.

3.  Decreases the chances of rear end collisions & being concertinaed in stop-start traffic.

4.  The motorcycle is best seen while out front of the traffic & can swiftly pull away from the rest of the traffic.

5.  In heavy city traffic sitting behind car exhausts can cause nausea for the motorcyclist.

Victorian Automotive Chamber of Commerce (VACC)
Lane Sharing or Splitting and Filtering - Definition of Filtering and Lane Splitting

In broad terms, filtering by motorcyclists is defined as moving between traffic when other surrounding traffic is stationary. This is standard motorcycle practice and necessary for safe motorcycle travel.

Lane splitting is defined as moving through traffic when other traffic is in motion. It can also refer to overtaking within the same marked lane in moving traffic. This is currently an illegal activity in Victoria.

Sometimes lane splitting and filtering are used intermittently without full comprehension of the differences in each mobility activity. more

Motorcycle Riders Association:
Traffic Filtering

Lane splitting is the controversial practice of riding between lanes of traffic. Some riders take the view that the practice should be avoided at all times, while others believe that splitting lanes of stationary traffic can be done safely. Out there on the streets, it's obvious that some riders are prepared to take bigger risks than others.

Legal Issues
While there are no specific statutes against lane splitting in Victoria, there are laws against changing lanes without indicating, passing on the left, and dangerous riding. If a rider pays sufficient regard to these laws, it is likely s/he will not be breaking the law when splitting lanes.

The magazine of the French motorcycle lobby group FFMC informs us that Austria has introduced a law to specifically permit riders to lane split. And letters in the November 1998 issue of Two Wheels, advise that South Africa has legalised the practice, with promotional advertising of the fact on radio and television!

Lane splitting is also permitted in California

December 2005
The MRAA sent a submission to the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission's (VCEC's) inquiry into managing transport congestion outlining amongst other items the benfits of splitting/filtering.

Read Document Here

7th December 2005
The National Transport Commission released Australian Road Rules General Amendments and Regulatory Impact Statement 2005 , in which they called for the laws to be changed , to ban lane splitting across Australia.

25 January 2006
The MRAA called for Motorcyclists to partake in a Ride to Rule

– Congestion Awareness Ride to highlight what would happen to traffic and safety issues for motorcyclists if the proposed law changes went ahead

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