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Moving slowly on lane splitting laws

Lane filtering lane splitting

While Australia has largely embraced lane filtering over the past two years, the US has been moving slowly toward lane splitting.

In the latest move, Washington would allow motorcyclists to go around cars in slow-moving traffic under a proposal approved by the Senate.

They will trial a system until July 31, 2018, where motorcycles can use the left lane or shoulder to go around traffic at no faster than 25mph, and can’t be moving more than 10mph faster than the rest of traffic.

Four other states are also considering lane splitting rules but with varying speeds allowed.

In California, riders spilt highway traffic at high speed and police have basically turned a blind eye to the practice for years. Now the government is debating whether to legalise it.


lane-spliting lane filtering

In Australia, lane filtering has been introduced in four states and a territory over the past two years, but the laws also vary.


Australian Motorcycle Council chairman Pete Baulch says it is a win and a loss for riders.

“It’s a bit of a conundrum because some states have now got what we’ve been campaigning for over many years so it’s a win, but it’s also a loss because it’s not uniform across the states,” he told MBW shortly after he became chairman late last year.

Peter says one of his main aims as AMC chairman will be “regulatory harmonisation” of rules such as lane filtering, helmet laws and other road rules.

“Uniform Road Rules have been high on the agenda for all road users, and especially motorcyclists for many years,” he says.

“But as we know, common sense in government and bureaucracy are often miles apart.”