Become a Member: Get Ad-Free Access to 3,000+ Reviews, Guides, & More

Lane filtering laws become confusing

Lane filtering is legal in California

From tomorrow, NSW will introduce lane-filtering laws and in three days a Queensland discussion paper that includes allowing different lane filtering rules will end.


Australia has been a Federation since 1901, yet more than a century later we are still confusing motorists with laws that vary from state to state. Isn’t it about time that the road rules were made common across state borders?

NSW legalises lane filtering from tomorrow (July 1, 2014). The law says lane filtering is when a motorcycle rider rides at a speed of 30km/h or less between lanes of stopped or slow-moving vehicles. It outlaws lane splitting which is riding at a speed over 30km/h between lanes of traffic. 

Among the other changes to the rules, riders will not be not be allowed to lane filter in kerb-side lanes or next to parked vehicles. They will also be banned from filtering around buses and trucks.

The Queensland discussion paper suggests slightly different rules. For example, it suggests 30km/h may not be the recommended speed. It also suggests riders are not banned from filtering next to trucks and buses, but advised that it may be dangerous. It may also allow filtering on the left of traffic in certain circumstances.

While many motorcycle riders already lane split and many more would like to, the problem could be that the rules will become so confusing between states that riders could inadvertently break the laws.

To make matters worse, the Victorian Opposition is considering lane-splitting and other states are also considering lane-filtering rules, all of which could be different.

Isn’t it time we had some consistency across state borders? Any moves in the past to gain some sort of regulated road rules have foundered in committee rooms while the various road safety experts, politicians, bureaucrats and interest groups bicker. Meanwhile, riders’ lives are at risk from the ubiquitous rear-ender.

You still have until July 3 to make a submission on the Queensland discussion paper. Why not suggest that there is a national approach?

Make your submission here.