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Lane filtering leads to hefty fines

lane filtering census
Ride to work on Census day?

Riders are being hit with hefty fines for not filtering correctly and one rider even believes it’s a police sting.

NSW, Queensland, ACT and, from September, Victoria all have lane filtering laws now and many states in the US are considering introducing them. It’s about time. Lane filtering will avoid riders being rear ended and allow all traffic to flow better.

Before these laws came in, people were being fined small amounts for failing to stay in their lane or passing on the left.

While it is a big leap forward to have lane filtering allowed, breaking the complex laws now means copping hefty fines of more than $300 and three demerit points.

Riders are strongly advised to check their local lane filtering laws as the laws differ in each jurisdiction.

For example, Queensland is the only state that allows the emergency lane or road verge to be used on highways posted at more than 90km/h.

However, one Brisbane rider has noted a ridiculous anomaly on the 100km/h Ipswich Motorway.Lane filtering

He says that lane filtering can only be done in peak hour when the traffic is crawling at less than 30km/h. However he says that is when the electronic signs are changed to 80km/h – a ridiculous move because no one can go that fast, anyway.

Queensland police confirm that it is illegal to lane filter when the electronic signs indicate a speed less than 90km/h.

What a totally ridiculous, counterproductive, catch-22 situation!

Another rider, Lee Sears, believes police have resorted to entrapment on a Pacific Motorway on-ramp by fining lane-filtering riders for speeding up to merge on to the highway. He was one of those fined $341 and three points, yet he believes he was doing his best to avoid an accident.

“They were positioned in a place of severe congestion where motorcyclists like myself had to speed up in order to access the slip road at a speed that’s higher than 30km/h,” he says.

“We have to otherwise we could cause an accident. And that’s when they catch us as we leave the hard shoulder.

“I was initially travelling at around 30km/h and because the congestion was so severe I wasn’t able to return to the immediate lane so I sped up to meet the speed of the slip road and that’s when they got me. Very unfair and dishonest.”

We’ve already pointed out that trying to filter through heavy traffic, monitoring for erratic driver behaviour, is difficult while also adhering to strict 30km/h maximum speeds. Riders can easily and accidentally speed in such situations and cop a hefty fine.

At least American states are introducing more realistic speeds, although they vary in different states.

Police respond by saying no one is forcing riders to lane filter.

That’s not good enough.

The lane-filtering laws need to be made uniform across all states, realistic speed limits applied and police enforcement needs to be discretionary and not counterproductive to the intention of the laws – that is, to improve peak-hour traffic flow.

  1. On the Ipswich Motorway it will only be the shoulder area that cannot be used when the posted speed is below 90km/h. You can still filter through the lanes. As for the “merging” problem, be patient, stay within the traffic flow if you think your speed will increase above 30km/h impatience can be costly. Realistically, increasing speed to “nip around” the next couple of cars is not going to shorten your journey time significantly. So why do it? It’s just a question of taking the time to read the rules. There are no gray areas. Yes, it’s stupid and counterproductive but when has that ever stood in the way of revenue collection. Stay safe.

    1. Well said Geoff, there are no grey areas.
      Too many people are in too much of a hurry.
      But you mentioned revenue collection, I have done some indepth research into this conspiracy theory.
      And yes, it is true – the law makers are always bringing out new laws to raise more revenue….
      BUT, I have found an interesting loop hole – there is a way to stop all that rogue revenue raising.
      It was there all the time, right in front of our faces – “DONT BREAK THE LAW”.
      Wow! Who would have thought it would have been so easy?
      Hey, dont get me wrong – I’m no saint….. I have contributed to the police Xmas fund on more than one occasion, and yes I was in the wrong, no one made me do it, it was my choice, fair cop……..
      I have to laugh when I hear my mates whinge and whine about how the big bad policeman was hiding behind the bushes when he was using the radar gun and he should have been out in the open where he could be seen and that speed camera that was set up without enough warning signs, they are just low down sneaky revenue raising schemes ……..why not just make it unnecessary for them to be there???
      Not likely!
      Do the right thing or cop the fine……don’t bitch about it……
      Stay safe….

  2. I’m guessing the two above are cops as they certainly talk like one. No one said to speed up to “nip” in, he clearly said in the article to avoid an accident. It is extremely suss when they introduced the laws they made the fine, what, around three times the cost of what previous people were getting, if they ever got fined for it in the first place (never have my whole life and I’ve been riding almost 20 years)

    Same story really, highway patrol really need to get off their high horse, you can always tell a highway patrol to a “real” policeman and I’ve heard highway patrol are not even liked amongst their own peers, what a surprise they are not liked pretty much amongst this country for their attitude. They are there pretty much as walking / driving revenue raising machines and that is all.

  3. So not using the shoulder lane when the speed limit drops is a bit funny but it’s clearly stated that you can only use the shoulder lane in areas where the speed limit is 90km per hour. Accelerating in order to merge is what you’re supposed to do so that you meet the speed of traffic to avoid disrupting the flow. I find it frustrating to hear that people are getting booked for accelerating to merge but motorcyclists have been given a gift with being allowed to lane filter in the first place.

  4. Ozbloke.
    I’m not a cop I just make it my business to know and try and understand the road rules as it’s in my best fiscal interests. Sadly ,I talk with a fair number of drivers/riders and I’m constantly astounded by their level of ignorance of the road law.
    Like Brad I’m no saint and I don’t ride a bike because I think it’s the most cost effective way to get to work. In respect to the “nip around” comment, I was not trying to infer that the original story was “suss” but it seems clear from his own description that the rider was exceeding 30km/h in the shoulder area. In my opinion it’s best to hold off on the filtering when traffic is merging but I wasn’t there so I don’t know the precise circumstances. I made the “nip around ” reference because I’ve witnessed this kind of move on a regular basis and it rarely gets the rider any significant advantage and of course risks a lightening of the wallet.
    Stay safe.

  5. Can i assume that under normal circumstances if you have stopped at the side of the road
    and then want to enter traffic you are encouraged to try and enter at close to the speed of the
    traffic stream, And it is only if you are filtering that you cannot exceed 30k’s.
    What happens if you are between two lanes that suddenly speed up and no one lets you in.
    You are left doing 30k’s while traffic passes you on either side within inches at 110k’ plus
    This is just really a bad interpretation of the law, This will kill people.So much for the
    cops and road safety ,you would really think they would have more sense.
    And they wonder why people have no respect for them. No better than parking inspectors

    1. I cannot imagine a scenario where you would be caught filtering at 30 and the traffic suddenly gets to 110 around you. Surely you should be paying attention to the traffic up ahead starting to increase speed and you should plan to return to the traffic stream by indicating and moving in accordingly.

      1. Really? If the traffic around you is tightly packed and leaves you no
        room to get in legally your stuffed as soon as you go over 30
        Thats unless you put on your flashing blue lights and siren
        Eh geoff !

        1. As I said, if you notice the traffic up ahead increasing speed plan to move in asap. get that indicator on and merge. It works, I do it all the time. It’s all about forward planning.

  6. Maybe on some of these issues such as the harassment of riders over
    helmet attachments it might be an idea to publish the name of the
    booking officer ,and see if this is limited to just a few coppers
    giving the rest a bad name.

  7. my question is this either lane filtering is dangerous or not ,,who picked 30 km/ hour why not 20 0r 35 ..and for all of us that have been doing this for years and told we are irresponsible ,selfish and endangering not only ourselves but others and been penalized for it for years ,,were we or went we dangerous because now its all hunky dory to do it ,,,some pea brain bearicrtae just picks a speed distance and a date and bingo its all ok now ,,no different than now accepting the european helmet standards ,,sure its the right thing to do but not because anythings change but because some beaurcrate says so ,, the helmet standards haven’t changed ,,just like with lane filtering ,, no better roads,, same car drivers ,, no rider training but its all ok now as long as you meet more of their stupid idiotic regulations ,,,either its safe to ride on the verge or not what possible difference does it make what the stupid signs says at different times of the day ,,,rant over

  8. Cops have been parked in the Bus stop right near the moggill road offramp from the Centenary booking bikes coming down the verge on moggill road towards that set of lights at the bottom. been there probably 9 of the last 10 days. One day the motorcycle cop had 3 bikes lined up, and a scooter just managed to get back into traffic while the cop had his head down, or it would have been 4.

  9. I got done recently on the Western Freeway, Toowong because I was riding on the shoulder of the road where the speed limit was less than 90 km/h – it was 60 km/h. When I checked the Queensland Department of Transport Website, it clearly stated that the reason for banning riding on the shoulder when the speed limit is below 90 km/h, is to reduce the likelihood of encountering pedestrians. However, pedestrians are banned on the Western Freeway. I complained to the police station and the police minister about my fine specifically, and the 90 km/h law generally. When my complaint was dismissed, I took out an Access to Information request. The rationale for dismissing my complaint conceded that pedestrians are banned on the Western Freeway, but justified the fine because there were ‘roadworks’ going on at the location. The officer made the point that a couple of electricians had a van parked on the shoulder and made a couple of visits to a street light gantry. He seemed to be implying that the electricians were in effect ‘pedestrians’, and I suppose at a pinch you could define them as such. But given that the speed limit for filtering motorcycles is 30 km/h, and there was literally enough room enough on the shoulder to drive a car, as evidenced by the fact that the electricians’ van was parked there, you would have to be blind Freddy to run into the electricians. The speed limit was exactly the same as when no roadworks were being carried out i.e. the roadworks were not considered hazardous enough to result in any reduction of the speed limit. I believe the police officer would have had no knowledge that there would be electricians or other roadworkers on site before he got there, because the ‘roadworkers’ almost always worked on the other side of concrete barriers. There incidental presence was a fortuidous excuse for dismissing my complaint. In my ATI request, I asked for information on the number of pedectrians that had ever been struck by motorcycles on the shoulder of the Western Freeway, which opened in about 1970. Unfortunately there is no such data. The police officer who fined me was so unconcerned for his own safety that he stood on the road side of my bike with his back to the traffic while he wrote my ticket out. While I was a little annoyed about getting the fine, I was absolutely gobsmacked by the $341 cost. You’d think that I had gone 30 km/h over the limit in a school zone. I didn’t care about the 3 points, because the last and only other time I lost any points off my licence was about 20 years ago. But anyway, we can all complain on this website, but if you really want to make a difference, complain to the police station that gave you the ticket, and to the police minister, like I did. If enough of us do it, the law might actually get changed.

    1. Hi Mark,
      I agree. the fines are over the top!
      And it is disingenuous and cynical of the police to be “concerned about our safety” when they fine riders using the road shoulder.
      Yes, we should fight every traffic fine we get. Clog the courts and make them take some notice!

  10. A quick postscript to my earlier comment about receiving a fine for riding on the shoulder of the Western Freeway: whether or not it was partly due to my complaint and Access to Information Request, I received a letter stating that it had come to the attention of the Police Station that a number of riders had been fined with the wrong thing. We had been fined with “non-compliant filtering”, when the correct offence was “unlawful edge filtering”. The filtering laws are so obtuse, even the police don’t understand them! Just to really rub it in, a few weeks ago on the Centenary Highway, at the intersection of Centeneray Highway and Logan Motorway, I spotted a police motorcyclist doing an estimated 80-100 kmh in a 60 kmh zone in pouring rain. I know he wasn’t doing 60 kmh because I was and he flew past me. Of course, sometimes police need to speed, but there are regulations. “Urgent driving” is only allowed for Category 1 or 2 taskings, which I can’t disprove was the case. But what I do know is that urgent driving requires the siren and flashing lights to be deployed unless there are exceptional circumstances such as covert operations, and the lights and siren were not deployed were not. I’m pretty sure a police motorcyclist with high vis vest would not have been doing covert operations. The 100 kmh zone kicked in about 300 metres down the road anyway, so he would have only gained seconds by speeding in the short 60 kmh zone. It was fairly obvious that he just couldn’t be arsed slowing down to 60 kmh and he knew no one would be giving him a ticket. But of course, we must do as they say, not do as they do……

  11. The Australian Constitution deals with many of these issues riders are being harassed on. The motorcycle groups ought to be doing their research on the Constituioon, and riders should go to these groups when they get ticketed, and start fighting back. Here are 2 sites that have much info for you riders:

    I highly recommend getting on CARR’s subscription list. This site is free and has lots of useful info but the most useful info is to get onto the mailing list. Ziggy has fought all his infringements and won, and he has much useful legal advice.

    These so called road laws are not laws but rules. The 2 terms have completely different legal meanings.

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