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Appeal call for rider-raging driver

menace ACT police are seeking to charge this driver with road rage on legally filtering riders mencaing appeal rejected
ACT police finally nabbed this driver for road rage

An appeal could be launched against a Canberra motorist who received a “light penalty” for twice swerving dangerously at legally lane-filtering motorcyclists.

The driver, Jake Searle, 28, had been charged with two counts of driving with intent to menace.

He faced maximum penalties of more than $3000 in fines or 12 months in jail or both for each of these charges.

However, the charges were downgraded as he was a first offender.

Searle was released on a one-year good behaviour order and disqualified from driving for three months. He also avoided a fine.

Call for appeal

ACT Shadow Attorney General and Triumph Street Twin rider Jeremy Hansen is calling for an appeal.

“As a fellow rider I am very concerned by any incident that could potentially endanger the life of a motorcyclist,” he says.

“I understand the view that this sentence does not meet community expectations and will write to the ACT Director of Prosecutions to ask if they intend to appeal.”

Meanwhile, ACT Police say they are “waiting for a response from the relevant person/area” regarding an appeal.

We also contacted ACT Minister for Corrections and Justice Shane Rattenbury, Police Minister Mick Gentleman and Minister for Regulatory Services Gordon Ramsay for comment on the sentence.

None has yet replied.

The Australian Motorcycle Council says it is “of concern when a driver uses their vehicle in a premeditated manner, as a weapon to harm others”.

“There appears to be little distinction between the quality of actions of this driver and those of the driver who killed pedestrians in Melbourne, although a difference in the scale or degree,” the AMC says.

Menacing videos

The incidents occurred on Majura Parkway on 30 October 2018. One incident is shown in this video which we published on November 2.

ACT Police were made aware of this video a day later and began investigating.

A second video later emerged showing the same driver swerving at another rider.

ACT Police made several calls for help to identify the two riders so a charge could be laid.

Police seek riders in lane filtering incidents call faces charges menacing
The rider in the second incident

At the time, ACT Police issued these details of the incident:

About 4:30pm, the riders were separately travelling northbound on Majura Parkway, Majura, when a green Ford Falcon swerved, almost colliding with the riders. At the time, the riders were lawfully lane filtering.

Legal filtering

Interestingly, these incidents occurred only a few weeks after the ACT made lane filtering legal.

Lane filtering was introduced in NSW five years ago and is now legal in all states and territories.

Not only is lane filtering legal but it also benefits all motorists as it helps move heavy traffic more quickly.

You can do your bit to educate drivers by sharing our “Open letter to drivers“.

Filtering rage

Drivers obstructing riders has been happening since lane filtering was introduced.

Check out this video from 2017 sent to us by Newcastle rider Harry Criticos.

“I was filtering legally when a driver stuck his whole body out in an attempt to block me,” the 2016 Triple Black R 1200 GS rider told us.

“I did not stop and he did make contact with the bike. I hope it hurt.”

This motorist was fined $325 and three demerit points.

Lane filtering is legal 

Surely it is time for some major advertising campaigns in each state to advise motorists that riders are allowed to filter and what benefits there are for ALL motorists.

That was the major finding of an online poll we conducted in 2016, yet there are still few major ad campaigns.

So far, lane filtering education campaigns have been minimal and mainly aimed at riders, not the general motoring public.

We not only need major ad campaigns, but also roadside signage such as this photoshopped sign.

lane filtering signs consensus duty defend filter call charge
Here’s a sign we’d like to see!

We are not aware of any polls about lane filtering in Australia.

However, in California where lane splitting (filtering at higher speeds than 30km/h) is legal, polls have found it is vastly unpopular among other road users. The main objection is that it’s unfair!

That breeds hostility which results in stupid behaviour such as in the above video.

Lane filtering lane splitting America danger bosch filter call charge
Lane splitting is unpopular in the USA

So long as lane filtering remains unpopular and/or erroneously believed to be illegal, motorists will do stupid and dangerous things to stop riders filtering.

  1. Let one asshole get away with it and that will encourage other assholes to do the same, I’m a motorcyclist and I’ve had it happen to me while lane filtering and it was done on purpose, fine the barstard and lock him up, it’s attempted murder and dangerouse driving and not some minor traffic crime,send a message to all motorists that it won’t be tolerated not tell them it’s OK to knock a motorcyclist over and injure or kill them and get smack on wrist, the punishment he recieved is a joke and a insult to motorcyclists, throw the book at the asshole

  2. It must come down to telling the general public about it and why it is legal. An ad campaign on TV would get people talking down at the pub, also say what the penalties are for trying to menace motorcyclists are

  3. Any driver who commits an act like this against a motorcyclist or other at risk road user should be charged with attempted murder as they are using the car as a weapon with intent to at least cause injury of some type to the person they are aiming at…. And yes, they are “aiming”. It is a conscious and deliberate act and the Starbucks in the police and courts should harden up and treat the offender with penalties that reflect the actual seriousness kg the offence.

  4. A weapon is a weapon… if you use something to try and hurt or kill someone, it’s called a weapon. Knife, hammer, pipe, gun…all get called weapon when used to cause or threaten harm to others…but not a car. Interesting.

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