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Call for faster lane filtering speed

Lane filtering

Lane filtering speeds should be increased to 40km/h in Victoria, not 30km/h as in NSW, Queensland and the ACT, according to the Victorian Motorcycle Council.

That’s one of the prime recommendations of the VMC in a submission to the Victorian Government which intends to introduce lane filtering laws from September 1, 2015.

“The NSW and Queensland experience suggests that riders expend considerable energy and attention trying to filter safely while maintaining a clear margin to the maximum permissible speed,” says the VMC submission, written by chairman Rob Salvatore.

“Maintaining 20-25km/h requires attention on the speedometer and is a speed that can result in reduced motorcycle stability, command, responsiveness and control. These aspects are manageable but take up further attention and concentration. The reduced speed therefore counterintuitively reduces the rider’s safety. On this basis a higher speed is strongly recommended,” he says.

Although the Victorian Government has already announced its intention to introduce lane-filtering the laws, the exact rules have not yet been specified.

Already the laws differ in the three Australian jurisdictions where they have been implemented and there could be a fourth form of the laws when introduced in Victoria, mainly because of the unique existence of tram lines in Melbourne.lane-splitting lane filtering

“We think it (the submission) represents a practical and achievable filtering framework for Victoria and gives a very strong nod to the work done in NSW and Queensland,” Rob told MotorBikeWriter.

“Victoria, especially metropolitan Melbourne, has some unique road characteristics that will require some careful thought – this means that Victoria needs its own version of filtering.

“Given this and the relatively smooth implementation of filtering in three other jurisdictions without all the negative predictions coming to light, Victoria is presented with an opportunity to fine-tune motorcycle traffic filtering. The filtering framework represents what the VMC believes is that fine-tuned version.”


In another major departure from the rules in other states, the VMC wants the laws applicable to all riders, not just experienced riders.

“Gathered input would accept a compromise position of L plate riders being restricted to safe traffic filtering through stationary traffic at controlled intersections – something that is currently legal under road rule 141.1.c and already a self-managed and routinely conducted manoeuvre by L plate riders once sufficiently confident,” the submission says. “There is no evidence to suggest that novice riders should be prohibited from filtering in such traffic conditions.”

The MVC supports a ban on filtering in school zones as in other states, but adds a ban on filtering at tram stops and safety zones because of the narrower lanes.

It also endorses the Queensland rules of edge filtering, although on roads marked at 80km/h or higher, not 90km/h.

Bus Lane rider - helmet cam - lane filtering
VMC says riders should be able to use bus lanes

The VMC submission seeks filtering next to parked cars, in 40km/h zones, between the line of traffic and kerbside and the use of bike lanes for 50m at a time to pass slow or stationary traffic.

Their submission also endorses the use of advanced stop lines for cyclists and bicycle boxes at traffic lights and the use of bus lanes not marked “bus use only”.

The VMC points out that lane filtering already occurs daily, “primarily by riders managing their safety and progress through heavy and congested traffic”.

“The legalisation of motorcycle traffic filtering will therefore formalise the best and safest aspects of current practice to the benefit of all road users and reduced congestion,” Rob says in the submission.

Rob says the VMC will work with Vicroads and the government to implement “as much of our vision as is practical”.

  1. OK – this is stupid for so many reasons I hardly know where to begin.

    * The photo used in this article misrepresents the true state of lane filtering on the roads. It shows cars in the right lane pulled as far to the right as they can, leaving a clear run for the bikes. We all know that THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN.

    * Filtering next to parked cars – what about some idiot opening their door or a pedestrian stepping out ? At least between moving or stationary vehicles you have a chance of NOT hitting someone.

    * Speed – are you kidding me ? Anyone with a bike licence that has been riding for any period of time should be able to hold up to 30kph while watching traffic without looking at their speedo all the time. Less experienced riders (P and L platers) don’t matter as they’re not allowed to do it !

    * Bus Lanes – in NSW at least we can use anything marked BUS LANE at any time, except if it’s marked BUS ONLY – don’t get me started on the stupidity of that. Bus lanes are largely unused, so this is the first part of their “vision” that makes any sense.

    And they still haven’t addressed the most important issue concerning lane filtering nation-wide – if you clip a car, who’s fault is it ? If the car (for whatever reason, even being a dick) moves across but within their own lane and hits the bike, who’s fault is it ? Look, lane filtering has many safety advantages, I’m not denying that, but some of these proposals are just insane.

    Fortunately they will never affect me, I ride a Goldwing – bitch is too damn wide to filter between ANYTHING…:-)

    1. Well put, Jon.
      I’ve been riding for 52 years and have seen impatience increase along with traffic.
      In Canberra, our peak-hour in the morning lasts for a little over 40 minutes, when we can have bumper to bumper traffic for 1 km in 3-lane traffic, and some drivers changing lanes continuously to save a few seconds.
      I filter at 15 to 25 kmh in Canberra because we have drivers here from all other states and employing a variety of techniques to change lanes, the most attention-getting being the dick who sees a small gap in the next (moving) lane and turns his steering-wheel to go for it, with one finger extended to flick the indicator stalk, by which time he is already crossed the line. His rear-vision mirror is incorrectly set and he ‘doesn’t have time’ for a head-turn or he’ll miss that gap,…. but, ” Hey, I used my indicator!” No rider two cars back doing 30 or 40 kmh will be able to stop in time. Over 30 kmh between rows of traffic, riders have little time to see the body-language of those drivers who ‘own the road’ while making all the other defensive decisions and little adjustments that safe riding requires. I used to have an air-horn on my bikes, but they are now illegal in some states, and by the time some drivers react to a OEM bike horn, (windows up, heater on high and stereo blaring) it’s too late.

  2. I think the main thing here is plain old common sense
    40k max speed is just that .You do not have to go that
    Most of us do not want to be injured/die and ride
    according to the conditions be it 5k or 40.

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