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Lane filtering a saviour in heatwave

Lane filtering heatwave

Heatwave conditions are bad enough for riders, but moving slowly in heavy city traffic makes it so much more important that you keep moving by lane filtering where legal.


Melbourne rider Ray Lindner describes his recent ordeal riding his Triumph Tiger XC in heatwave conditions in slow-moving traffic.

Share this article with your driver friends and maybe they will show more compassion in future and leave a gap for filtering riders, especially on hot days.

Not like this guy in the US!

Ray’s heatwave lane-filtering experience

Lane filtering heatwave Ray Lindner
Ray with his Tiger

I got caught up in heavy traffic reduced to a crawl due to all but one lane being closed after a collision in the Domain tunnel.

I was on my way home from a trip and had ridden mostly hinterland roads among trees and farms and had a pleasant ride where it was much cooler than Melbourne.

The 38 degree heat that we had in Melbourne was difficult enough but having to keep the bike upright and crawl along a freeway was exhausting to say the least.

Not wishing to be melodramatic this became a fight for survival.

I have ridden the Himalayas, the Andes, Alaska, North-West Territories (Canada) and many other challenging areas but this day I felt to be at the greatest risk.

Had I just stayed behind any vehicle for the full time it took to reach and exit the tunnel I would no doubt have collapsed from exhaustion. That may have created yet another accident and/or the need for an ambulance.

I simply had to lane filter.

I admit here to even using the emergency lane for a couple of short periods as I really needed a break from wrestling with the bike.

Lane filtering was introduced to make motoring safer and not just to allow motorcyclists to get to their destination faster.

To the motorists who allowed me to lane filter, you have my deepest appreciation.

To those who do not understand why I needed to lane filter please consider the following:

  • I do not have air conditioning
  • I cannot reach for a bottle of water
  • My vehicle will not stand by itself like a car. I have to balance it.
  • I cannot idle along at 2 to 3 kph without dragging my feet to keep the bike upright. I need momentum.
  • Do not think that motorcyclists are being rude by lane filtering. We are not simply trying to beat you.
Lane filtering heatwave Ray Lindner
No need for filtering here

I am breathing in unfiltered exhaust fumes while most modern cars have cabin filters.

With trucks in every lane I was somewhat trapped at times and had to go across lanes to reduce my personal risk.

My only option would have been to park my bike in the emergency lane and try to hitch a ride to safety and this I certainly considered. Who would have understood?

I had drunk lots of water during the day but needed more but could not even get to the water that I was carrying and was surely becoming both dehydrated and fatigued.

To the motorists who think they understand lane filtering yet are annoyed by it and do their very best to block bikes by closing of any reasonable gap which might allow a bike to get through: On behalf of all motorcyclist and in the interests of safety please do not do that.

Towards the end of what seemed like an hour-long battle on the freeway I gave myself and a truck driver a hell of a fright during a misjudged manoeuvre and I would apologise and shake that driver’s hand if I could find him. As I write this, I shudder at the possible outcome and believe heat and fatigue were contributors.

I have been riding for over 40 years and have ridden many tough roads throughout the world but that ride will long be remembered as my greatest risk.

If ever I get in that position again I would have to use the emergency lane even more than I did and would accept any punishment sooner than put myself at risk of going under a truck due to exhaustion. 

  • Tell us about your lane-filtering experience. How are you getting on in the heatwave? Leave your comments below.
  1. Sounds like this rider needs to use a Camel Back water bag with a drinking hose. I use it often on long rides. Easy to take a sip of water without getting off the bike.

    1. A camel pack helps, but only so much. Remember that we are also sitting on top of our engine, so while you aren’t moving all the engine heat comes up over you. It makes a 38 degree day feel like 50. You instantly start sweating under all the leather and kevlar. A minute or 2 goes by and you start feeling light heated and foggy. All the radiant heat off the cars around you, and the warmth of the exhaust really starts kicking in…

  2. Great article/story.
    How can we get this through to the mainstream media? Maybe we can reach Mr & Mrs suburbia via the automobile clubs newsletters? Will they listen to you Motorbike Writer? Can you pass this on to them, with your credentials maybe they will publish it.

  3. Road rules are there to protect us. When they begin to harm us they should be ignored in a safe and reasonable manor. Riding in start stop traffic in thirty five to forty two degree heat is something I have had to do on numerous occasions prior to the legalisation of filtering. Never once did I think sitting behind a stopped vehicle and roasting was the right thing to do. With that experience I can say that most of the new filtering rules are stupidity in action and are there primarily to define offences rather than give safe operating rules.
    So here are my tips , when ignoring certain rules for lanes you are not supposed to ride in you are having an emergency and need to find a safe place to pull over so make sure you have that extra water or your medication in the top box,
    You’re avoiding an accident or road rager, etc etc this is what you tell the idiot who is stupid enough to try and book you it’s what you put in the letter to the fine processing agency and what you tell the court. They have to prove you weren’t and so the fine usually gets tossed.

  4. If you can’t handle the heat, get outta the kitchen..or engine room..or 40 degree heat. Common sense must surely prevail. But alas, we are talking about authorities & law abiding citizens. Assumption is the mother of all F ups, but surely a level of reasonableness must be carried out.

  5. All engines get pretty hot when crawling along too. Optimum cooling for my bike is at ~130 k’s.

  6. What motorists would read anything at all on a motorcycling website? What’s needed is a lobby group to make representations to the government for their support. If the government were to agree to signs above and along the highway/freeway/tollway that lane filtering for motorcyclists is permitted, with the occasional TV ad to support it, motorists would become aware of the reasons for it and be less likely to become aggressive when it happens.

  7. I’ve only lane-filtered since it became legal. In that time I have been abused three times (not too bad, an average of about once a year). However, each time it was by a “P” plater. Having only recently gotten their licences I would’ve assumed they’d’ve been aware of the lane filtering laws. Is any sort of awareness of motorcycle lane filtering included in the driving tests for “L” & “P” plate motorists?

    1. Hi Rob,
      I was once abused by a taxi driver … a [professional who SHOULD know the rules!
      No, I don’t believe there is any education of drivers about lane filtering. No questions on the written test and no requirement for driving schools to mention it.

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