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

Should riders pass over white lines?

Mt Glorious pass overtake over solid white lines warning

Unbroken white lines are appearing on more and more roads in an effort to stop motorists from overtaking, but is there an argument for riders to be exempt?

White lines were first introduced in the US in 1911 and in Australia in the ‘20s. The idea was to keep traffic from running into each other.

At the same time it became an offence to cross unbroken lines.

But these lines were introduced at a time when vehicles were slow and took a long time to overtake.

They do not account for the acceleration abilities of modern vehicles. Motorcycles, in particular, can overtake very quickly, efficiently and safely.

Read how to overtake safely

So should riders be allowed to overtake over unbroken lines when safe to do so?

There is already a precedent in the new lane filtering rules that allow riders to cross solid white lines.

These rules recognise that motorcycles are different from other vehicles because they are narrower.Edge filtering is allowed under Queendsland lane filtering rules uniform

Perhaps the road rules should also recognise other unique dynamics of motorcycles and change some of the road rules in accordance.

Allowing overtaking on unbroken white lines may seem radical and dangerous, but there are many cases where single white lines have been painted on roads yet it is safe for motorcycles to pass.

After all, motorcycles can accelerate a lot quicker than almost any car and therefore can overtake a vehicle in less time and distance than other vehicles.

That means the bike is on the wrong side of the road for less time and therefore not exposed to the danger of a head-on collision.

Let’s face it, centre line marking on many country roads has been painted for the “slowest common denominator”.

And it’s a growing trend.

Many winding scenic roads such as Mt Glorious and the Black Spur now have unnecessarily long stretches with a solid white line.

Mt Glorious pass overtake over solid white lines
Mt Glorious has white line fever!

There are plenty of places on these roads where a motorcycle can easily and safely overtake a vehicle travelling at the speed limit, let alone the slow-moving Sunday drivers that frequent these roads.

In fact, it is not uncommon to witness riders flouting the centre line law and overtaking slow drivers.

Police have been known to exploit this by driving slowly on these roads in unmarked cars and videoing riders who overtake, then sending them a fine in the post. Some might call this entrapment!

The only time motorists are allowed to cross solid white lines is entering or leaving a property or to overtake a cyclist. And that’s a whole other issue that endangers motorcyclists’ lives

  1. The problem is, even if you agree with the artical, is which white lines do you obey and thoes you don’t. Linking filtering to ignoring white lines is a slippery slope argument.

  2. Be very careful saying things like …”a motorcycle can easily and safely overtake a vehicle travelling at the speed limit… .

    Since a car travelling at the speed limit is already doing the maximum legal speed you are admitting that your purpose is to exceed the legal maximum once you get past. That won’t sit well with the “no such thing as safe speeding” crowd (i.e. pollies and police) and your argument will be turned against us!

  3. Yes many laws need and should be adjusted for motorbikes . Allowing motorcycles higher speed limits and increased overtaking opportunities amongst other things would reduce travel times therefore reducing time spent on the road.

  4. The problem in WA is that a lot of broken and continuous white lines often make no sense. There are many places here in SW WA where broken lines make it legal to overtake but it is grossly unsafe even on a motorbike at high speed
    and there are many places where it would be safe to overtake on a gopher but continuous white lines make it illegal. I choose to overtake, if I really need to, where it is safe, even if it is illegal.

  5. As Richard said, up until November 2009 it was perfectly legal (in Victoria) to overtake across an unbroken line if it was safe to do so.
    As far as I’m aware it was only made illegal, not because of any issues with the practice, but to bring it into line with other States.

    The problem has been that because it was previously legal to cross, most windy roads had solid centre lines, which, with the change in law, meant there were now very few legal overtaking opportunities.

  6. There used to be a safe overtaking speed allowance of ten or so percent until the taste for revenue got so addictive. This ment you could speed up to ensure that you and possibly the two or twelve guys behind you could safely pass the enormous caravan being towed by a Morris minor. I have seen these solid white lines appear on long straight stretches of road with clear visibility usually accompanied by a fixed speed camera, yet dangerous twisting sections have broken lines. It is obvious that safety has almost nothing to do with overtaking rules anymore revenue is the predominant concern.
    Motor cyclists should decide what is safe for themselves not a revenue whore in an office.
    Have you seen the US video of a motorcyclist safely overtaking a bunch of slow moving cars get chased down and nearly murdered by an idiot cop?

  7. I’ve always considered them to be ‘guide lines’ used with discretion, safety & noting the vehicle you’re about to pass has no led lights in corners of rear window 😛

  8. Unbroken white lines are there to protect you.
    But, the more experience you have the more you would be able to realize that in SOME cases you can cross over.
    This is only in some cases and according to your guts.
    In general it is not recommended to cross unbroken lines.

  9. I only overtake pushbikes on unbroken lines as I have to give them a wide berth cause it is legal to do in NSW “only when it is safe to do so”. Car or bike.

    Anyone see a Precedent in that?

  10. Yes, of course motorcyclists should be allowed to overtake where there are unbroken white lines. The lines were designed to suit larger, less manoeuvrable, vehicles with slower acceleration (cars) and they are not appropriate for motorcycles. If it was allowed it would not mean that motorcyclists would start doing risky overtaking manoeuvres. It would mean that they would do safe overtaking in more places. No matter where you are, even on roads with long straights and broken lines, you still have to know the capabilities of your vehicle, have a look, and judge for yourself if it is safe, so this would be no different. The lines would still be there which would indicate to riders that it is necessary to be extra sure before overtaking.

    It would benefit everybody, improve safety and reduce congestion. The safest place for motorcyclists to be is on their own without any other vehicles close by. They then have a clear view of any obstacles, potholes etc. on the road, and don’t have to deal with the distraction of vehicles following them. It would reduce frustration and stress, which causes people to make bad decisions. If motorcyclists could overtake in more places and get out of the way, car drivers could move up and be ready to use the next opportunity to overtake, so everyone benefits. The only negative of allowing this is that some car drivers (but only the stupid ones) will be jealous of what we can do. Whenever this issue is raised somebody always mentions high performance cars, but it is not the same for them. Regardless of their acceleration ability they still need more room to overtake because of their size (particularly their width). Also, sidecars, wide trikes (like spiders) and bikes towing trailers should abide by the same rules as cars.

  11. I’m with Angus C-T on this. Surely it is a guide line and maybe no parking. If not what is the point of a double white line as a single white line works both ways. Motorcyclists should be able to overtake when safe to do so as only they know the limits of their machine. I guess though that tin tops should know the limits of their machines, but that’s a whole different ball game.

  12. Remember, you are dealing here with the same people who decided to re-impose a 130kmh limit in the Northern Territory, – to improve the zero fatality record under the previous no-limit regime.

  13. Come on guys , every one is griping about lines and imagines yes imagines they can tell when the lines ought not be there .I used to work for MRD in Qld and really they don’t paint those lines just for fun . they are there to protect all road users so the situation is averaged out.
    I don’t hear moans about the places where there are broken lines to pass in places where there is not even sufficient distance for a rapidly accelerating bike to pass safely! If you look around there are plenty of those too , then what about broken lines just before the crest of a hill where the double lines come too close to the crest ?
    I ride lots on country roads and from my observations most drivers are exceeding 100Kph so why would you want to pass them (snigger snigger) , cause if you are obeying the limit you would not need to pass.

    1. Agreed, as you said speed limits are bs because on country roads everyone ignores them
      except for you.

      Your undoubted high-level skills in painting white lines qualify you to paint white lines, but not to tell me how to ride a bike
      just as police high-level skills in booking people qualifies them to book people for speeding, but not to say what those speed limits should be.

      Most of world’s problems are caused by people who can’t mind their own business.

  14. It’s illegal to cross a double white line because it’s unsafe, you’re fined & lose 3 points
    but if a pushbike appears it magically becomes OK, no fine, no lost points.
    Who are the clowns who came up with that one?

  15. White paint on roads is very slippery & dangerous when wet, so why does Brisbane city council & Qld Transport paint huge white arrows in middle of a lane halfway around a corner, extremely dangerous & causing motorcycle accidents ?

Comments are closed.