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

Open letter to car drivers from riders

road safety commuter - austroads

To all car drivers,

Lane filtering is legal almost right across Australia, allowing riders to slip through stationary and slow-moving traffic.

But don’t hate motorcycle riders or be jealous of us. Be thankful that we are there as we are making the roads better for you!


Some of you drivers seem to have some animosity toward riders, but we hope it’s probably just jealousy.

You see us as freedom-loving easy riders who slip through the traffic and enjoy the sunshine, while you’re stuck in traffic. We know you’d love to be riding with us.

The only time you aren’t jealous of us is when it’s raining and miserable, but I hate to tell you this – we are still enjoying ourselves underneath our helmets and wet gear. Sorry.

Anyway, there is no reason for you car drivers to hate riders or to be jealous of us. You should, instead, be thankful that we are there as we are helping you as well as ourselves.

Be thankful

A 2012 study by Belgian consultancy Transport & Mobility Leuven has found that each time one of you drivers gets out of your car and rides a motorcycle instead, it eases traffic congestion, pollution and, of course, stress.

If there were just 10% more motorcycles it would mean 40% less congestion and 6% less pollution. If 25% swapped cars for bikes there would be no congestion. That’s none, zero, nada, zilch!

So don’t be jealous of motorcycle riders, be thankful. And maybe consider swapping to a motorcycle, yourself.

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
Wouldn’t it be great if there was only bike traffic!

And don’t be jealous of our newfound lane-filtering laws, either.

Slipping down the slow-moving or stationary traffic is actually helping you.

Think of it this way: If you are 11th in line at the traffic lights, but only 10 vehicles can get through in a light sequence, you will have to wait for the next set of lights.

However, if one or two of those positions in front of you were taken up by motorcycles who could slip down to the front between the lines of traffic, it moves you one or two positions forward and you get through this sequence of lights. Result is you get where you are going sooner!

Look twice, thrice

Ok, an abundance of lane-filtering riders means you have to pay a bit more attention, but isn’t it worth it?

For every red light you avoid because of lane filtering, you are saving about 40 seconds. Multiply that by the number of red lights you would avoid on your daily commute and that’s the saving on your commute time. No thanks required.

Meanwhile, look twice and maybe three times for motorcycles before you change lanes, emerge from a side street or turn across the road.

Help keep riders off the endangered species list, because we are vital to your survival!


Motorcycle riders.lane filtering

PS: All riders should show this to a car-driving friend and help spread the word!

  1. I have someone tell me that I had wait in queue with everyone else the other day. I told him no actually I don’t read road rule 151A.

  2. We have always had lane filtering in the UK. 99% of motorists are downright positive in their helpfulness and sometimes your path ahead can clear like the parting of the Red Sea. An amazing sight. This good experience is only marred by the inevitable 1% of drivers who never look, or even worse who do look and decide to be awkward anyway, and the bikers who need more danger in their lives and race through at stupid speeds, making the rest of us look bad and fuelling the prejudices of the 1%.

    1. Completely with you on this – most drivers here in Aus that I have encountered move over and are courteous to motorcycle riders – some do not in fact some go out of their way to pull across so you cannot lane filter.
      I ride my motorcycle to work every day . I love riding – not for the ‘kicks’ that car drivers think we all get out of it. It’s cheap affordable travel with a bit of fun thrown in. I suppose same could be said of cycling. The road is there for every one- so SHARE and CARE – there are good and bad motorcycle riders, car drivers and cyclist who give everyone a bad name.

  3. Had some fool in a four wheel drive take off quick as I did from a set of traffic lights, god I hate 4WD owners thinking they own the road.. Did not like the fact I lane filtered and stopped in front of him at a stop light.. Idiot

  4. Joseph Allen
    Brookfield Victoria
    17 April 2016

    Not all of us car drivers hate motorbike riders. A few car drivers may dislike you and I will give you some reasons why.

    I live in a quiet residential neighbourhood in Brookfield Vic. Between midnight and 3 am the roar of unmuffled motorbikes resounds through the whole neighbourhood. If I drove an unmuffled car around, I would be pulled over by cops and slapped with all kinds of fines, notices, and harassment. Why do you riders seem to think we enjoy having our nightly sleep disrupted due to these loud bikes? Yet I’ve never seen a loud bike on the side of the road with a copper sitting behind it writing out an infringement notice. Just what is the purpose of these loud bikes? If you want to piss us motorists off at the sight of you, this is just the perfect way to do it.

    These same loud bikes pull up between 2 cars at a stoplight and drown out everything with their loud bikes, especially when the bikers sit there and constantly gun the bike’s motor. The louder the bike, the more the motor is gunned. Even with windows rolled up, those bikes are still loud. Many a time I’ve wanted to just use my car and put the bike out of commission. And now the bikes are equipped with ultra loud stereos that go duff duff duff…. echoing off the car metal. And you think we car drivers enjoy this abuse perpetrated by motorbikes? Mates, we just get so pissed off…..

    Recently a motorbike rider was squished on the Westgate Freeway due to being squeezed between 2 semis. Naturally 2 truck drivers sitting 2.5 meter or more above the roadway, watching each other as they are lane merging, with trucks weighing 40 MT each, are not going to spot a tiny object trying to squeeze between them because, well, the rider thought he was highly visible to these drivers and decided to take a chance and zoom to the front of the queue. He got what he deserved. And please don’t expect me to feel sorry for such a fool.

    I see motorbike riders ride on the bumpers of semis with many trailers, and right in the centre of the truck, no less. Now how stupid is that? Does the rider think the driver has eyes that wrap around to the back of the rig and see this rider tucked in, out of sight of the rearview mirrors? No, the rig driver only has 2 eyes in the top of his head.

    Now it is even harder to spot a motorbike due to this idiot fad of daytime running lights on cars during the day. This now makes motorbikes harder to see and distinguish from other vehicles. Their small size also contributes to the problem. Between oversigned roadways, scameras, 300 speed limit changes per kilometer, extra slow drivers, big rigs, SUVs, pushbikes, and ever increasing stoplight intersections, it becomes hard for motorists to see motorbikes due to the size differential. We are looking for the big stuff and do not see the little stuff. And the ever increasing amount of time we spend looking at our speedos rather than the roadway, makes you motorbike riders more unsafe. Car drivers certainly don’t spend time in other countries looking at speedos more than the road, but here it is an obsession with our grubby politicians. I’ve driven cars on 3 continents and driven through school zones and on autobahns at 200 km/hr, but the most wide open country has the most oppressive speed limits, and it is these oppressive limits that are contributing to the rising road toll when it could actually be almost zero without the government oppression of the car drivers.

    I see car drivers going much slower now so that many of them have trouble merging onto a freeway because they are told to drive slow, slow, slow, and so on. Yet motorbike riders just can’t wait to accelerate quickly when the light changes, so quickly they don’t check cross traffic to see if it safe to proceed. And then 500 meters up the road they have to slow quickly to avoid the cars sitting at the next intersection.

    I won’t be getting on any motorbike as I am 61, and at 58 kg and a history of back problems. I would have trouble keeping the motorbike upright due to the bike being much heavier than me. I also have dry eyes, and the breeze created by airflow past my eyeballs causes my eyes to become irritated, and the dust just glues itself to my eyeballs. Only a car for me, and one with the windows up and AC or heater on, thank you. No bugs and icy rains impacting my face, and that’s just the way I like it.

    No malice is intended in these comments, just some viewpoints that never get pointed out by anyone.

    1. You answered your own question.
      “Just what is the purpose of these loud bikes?”

      “Even with windows rolled up, those bikes are still loud.”

      “Only a car for me, and one with the windows up and AC or heater on, thank you. No bugs and icy rains impacting my face, and that’s just the way I like it.”

      That’s why we have the loud pipes, because Tin Can drivers, Who drive around in their own little world, paying no mind to the little things on the road, may actually HEAR us coming and be shocked enough to look up and out past the bonnet of their Death Dealing Machine.

      After all, it’s not us riders who are making it dangerous for us on the road(yes, some of us do some dumb shit, I’ve seen it too), but for the most part riders are better, more patient and more considerate road users in my experience, as are truck drivers(ftr: I’m both).

      So you say, no hatred, or malice, then in the same breath, you proclaim that you don’t care if we die and we got what we deserved, well, that is the definition of malice.

      Have a great day, drive safely and I promise you that the next time I pass by your car, I’ll give a gentle minimalist one digit wave.

  5. I don’t hate motorcycle riders. Sure, you are annoying, but I don’t hate you. I hate the wind, traffic and dying, so trust me, no jealousy here. For the life of me, I can’t figure out what could be enjoyable about a motorcycle. The wind in your face? Roll down the windows. I will say this much. I don’t watch out for you and I never will. You are assuming a well documented risk by getting on a motorcycle. The fact that you could discard the commitments you have to your loved ones boggles my mind, but that’s up to you. Just know that I will never give you special considerations just because you choose to endanger your own life for inexplicable kicks. When you get hurt or die, I won’t feel sorry for you. You rolled the dice and you lost. Not my fault and you certainly don’t deserve my sympathy. I will feel sorry for your loved ones who couldn’t talk you out of making such a selfish decision as getting on a death trap for no good reason.

      1. “I don’t watch out for you and I never will.”

        Now, I ain’t no law-speaking-guy, but freely admitting that you deliberately neglect your obligation to drive with all due care and attention seems like a stupid move.

        And all the internet bravado in the world won’t help you get over killing or maiming someone because of your holier-than-thou high horse.

        You’re usually a better person, for god’s sake.

        1. We don’t care if you’re looking out for us. We see you, we know to expect silly things from you.
          Continue on your oblivious way, it’s actually a lot easier to anticipate what a driver will do when they’re not paying attention.
          We assume you don’t see us and ride accordingly.
          competent motorcyclists

          1. Your attitude is contemptible. However, I’d be very concerned for you if I came across your injured self at the seen of an accident and would do whatever I could to assist you. As would most in the biker fraternity. (Coincidentally, that’s actually me on the second bike in the picture at the top of the article)

  6. Joseph and Harry both demonstrate what is fundamentally wrong in our society. They profess to ” not getting” what motorcycling is about so they feel entitled to disrespect, dehumanize and act irresponsibly towards moto cyclists.
    This sense of entitlement to treat others they don’t understand as 2nd class citizens is prevalent in our society. It’s the height of conceited selfishness and shows the true level of intelligence/social development of those who act this way.

    1. I have to totally agree with Duncan, I have been a motorcyclist and car driver since I was 16 and am now 61 (the same age as Mr Allen) and I have trouble even contemplating the total disregard these two “motorists” (read car drivers) have towards another part of the road using community. We pay our taxes and often we have motorcycles and cars so are paying registration and insurance on more than one vehicle so why shouldn’t we enjoy the feeling of freedom that a motorcycle provides as long as we obey the road rules and don’t hurt anyone else?
      It must be nice to go through life without showing any empathy or compassion to people just because they ride motorcycles and “annoy” you, all I will say is I am glad I am not you.

  7. Harry, Joseph.
    Better to remain silent and thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

  8. Is it not surprising, that the transport industry spokespersons, are saying the exact same things about car drivers as we do as motorcyclists.

    Two vastly different users of the road network system, quoting almost word for word the problems they are encountering.

    Why TF do we even bother, trying to educate the car driving stereo type, that thinks they own the road. You cannot educate the belligerent, selfish and the holler than thou.

    Mind you, I am impressed with Victoria’s new TAC television campaign.

    Says it all.

    Ride free and safe

  9. Harry,
    is that you or Mr Magoo wandering all over the road in the little yellow car top photo? 🙂

    most bike riders including myself hate those awful exhausts on Harleys more than you do.

  10. of great concern is :
    Harry says: 7th November, 2016 at 9:54 am “I don’t watch out for you and I never will”.
    -be very afraid of comments like this as it shows the fragility of the state of mind of people like this (Not only car drivers) who’s credo may well be:
    “When I Label people, I no longer have to deal with them thoughtfully”
    as Dfb say’s ” We assume you don’t see us and ride accordingly”.
    & today is a great day for a coffee @ Walcha or Uralla, not to be downcast @ the overcast skies but to go for a ride to blow those thoughts out of the mind (man).

    1. I ride a bike, and drive a truck. Such attitude may well bite them in the backside if i took it on driving the truck, stop looking for cars….

  11. When you write an open letter to the world and expect it to be shared around, you might want to proofread it first.

    Simple mistakes like this below, make you look like idiots.

    “If 25% swapped cars for bikes were would be no congestion.”

  12. Strewth! There’s some grumpy agro old codgers out there that that profess not to “get motorcycling” yet they read this blog?
    Anyway with all these potential killers on the road I think what we need is mandatory Psychological testing to determine fitness to drive perhaps every few years?

  13. Well, that single, poor excuse for an open letter has done more to fuel the “Us & Them” situation than anything I’ve seen or heard about in a very long time..
    If your intention was to avoid the alienating the general driving public we have to continue sharing our roads with; YOU FAILED!

  14. For you Joseph Allen damn well read it and have some thought about your words.

    I saw you hug your purse closer to you in the grocery store line.
    But you didn’t see me put an extra $10.00 in the collection plate last Sunday.

    I saw you pull your child closer when we passed each other on the sidewalk.
    But you didn’t see me playing Santa at the local mall.

    I saw you change your mind about going into the restaurant.
    But you didn’t see me attending a meeting to raise more money for the hurricane relief.

    I saw you roll up your window and shake your head when I drove by.
    But you didn’t see me driving behind you when you flicked your cigarette butt out the car window.

    I saw you frown at me when I smiled at your children.
    But you didn ‘t see me when I took time off from work to run toys to the homeless.

    I saw you stare at my long hair.
    But you didn’t see me and my friends cut ten inches off for Locks of Love.

    I saw you roll your eyes at our leather coats and gloves.
    But you didn’t see me and my brothers donate our old coats and gloves to those that had none.

    I saw you look in fright at my tattoos.
    But you didn’t see me cry as my children where born and have their name written over and in my heart.

    I saw you change lanes while rushing off to go somewhere.
    But you didn’t see me going home to be with my family.

    I saw you complain about how loud and noisy our bikes can be.
    But you didn’t see me when you were changing the CD and drifted into my lane.

    I saw you yelling at your kids in the car.
    But you didn’t see me pat my child’s hands, knowing he was safe behind me.

    I saw you reading the newspaper or map as you drove down the road.
    But you didn’t see me squeeze my wife’s leg when she told me to take the next turn.

    I saw you race down the road in the rain.
    But you didn’t see me get soaked to the skin so my son could have the car to go on his date.

    I saw you run the yellow light just to save a few minutes of time.
    But you didn’t see me trying to turn right

    I saw you cut me off because you needed to be in the lane I was in.
    But you didn’t see me leave the road.

    I saw you waiting impatiently for my friends to pass.
    But you didn’t see me. I wasn’t there.

    I saw you go home to your family.
    But you didn’t see me. Because, I died that day you cut me off.

    I WAS JUST A BIKER. A person with friends and a family. But you didn’t see me.

    Re-post this around in hopes that people will understand the biker

    An excerpt from Facebook.

    We are all equal people and deserve to be treated as such.

Comments are closed.