Lane filtering – is it allowed?

When you’re sitting in traffic and a motorcycle weaves between the lane, it can make a driver think twice. Are they allowed to do that? Is it safe?

Lane filtering for motorcycles became legal in Queensland in 2015, so despite arguments you may hear when around the BBQ or out with friends, riders certainly aren’t breaking rules when they do this.

Reducing the time spent in congested traffic would top everybody’s wish list. No one wants to be sitting going nowhere, waiting for the queuing traffic to start moving again, thinking about all those things they could be doing if only they could get to their destination faster. Motorcyclists think no differently; a stationary queue of traffic benefits no one.

From a size perspective, motorcycles do have one advantage over a car, and that’s the ability to fit into smaller spaces. A motorcyclist is able to filter between queued traffic and find a gap nearer the front. They may not always be able to work their way to the very front but at least they can find a safe spot some way forward.

There are some restrictions, such as no filtering in school zones, not exceeding 30km/h and only allowing experienced riders to filter. It’s also important riders filter in a safe, sensible and courteous manner.

It’s also worth remembering that once the lights turn green the drivers in each lane and the motorcyclist between them, need to safely merge as they accelerate away. This is about sharing the road and everyone’s responsible.

Motorcyclists are vulnerable and drivers can assist by taking that extra moment to properly check their mirrors as they approach queuing traffic and always use their indicators. Even at slow speed, being side-swiped by a car or truck is going to have serious outcomes for the motorcyclist.