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Feb 19

Do you know the new motorcycle filtering laws?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Good news for all road users in Queensland! Beginning 1 February 2015, lane filtering is now an allowed practice in Queensland. The law was made to potentially help to reduce the amount of traffic in busy areas such as Brisbane and the Gold Coast. For those who are not aware, lane filtering is the act of riding a motorcycle at low speeds between stationary or slow moving vehicles that travel in the same direction as the motorcycle.

Traditionally, this practice may have been seen as a generally dangerous practice to road users. The concept of motorcycles passing between cars in the middle of a traffic jam can easily be interpreted as dangerous, especially if the motorcycle drivers are doing so unsafely at high speeds or with reckless control of their vehicle.

Yet, there are new lane filtering rules in Queensland that allow for this practice. This decision was based on reviews of community feedback, road safety research and through observations of similar rules in other jurisdictions. As a matter of fact, lane filtering has garnered a lot of support from the public according to the Queensland Government Department of Transport and Main Roads.

In Queensland, motorcycle riders with an open licence (including RE and R open licence holders), are now allowed to move between stationary or slow moving vehicles travelling in the same direction as the rider as long as they are not travelling more than 30km/hour. However, lane filtering is still not allowed in school zones during school zone hours.

Lane Filtering is Safer and Benefits All Road Users

From the perception of the motorcycle rider, lanes filtering actually increase safety for road users because it allows for motorcyclists to safely pass between cars that can act as a barrier for them. Otherwise, if a motorcyclist were to be rear ended while waiting in a traffic jam, they would be more likely to suffer serious injury compared to a rider in a car or a truck.

There are also significant benefits for car drivers as well. Lane filtering does NOT allow motorcyclists to ‘butt’ in and jump queue lines but rather, it removes motorcyclists in the traffic queues altogether so that the motorcyclist is not sitting in traffic adding to congestion. This means that all motor vehicle drivers can reach their destinations faster.

Lane Filtering vs Lane Splitting

Some riders may be confused with another term likened to lane filtering, which is “lane splitting.” It is important to note the difference between lane filtering and lane splitting because of their respective legality in Queensland:

-          Lane filtering occurs when the motorcyclist moves past stationary or slow moving vehicles safely at a speed under 30km/hour.

-          Lane splitting occurs when the motorcyclist moves past vehicles unsafely at a speed of more than 30km/hour.

Lane splitting is highly unsafe and remains an illegal practice in Queensland.

Enforcing the Lane Filtering Rules

A major concern for motorists is how these new rules are going to be enforced. Motorcyclists that fail to adhere to the under 30km/hour rule or lane filter incorrectly (such as lane filtering during school hours) will be subject to an on-the-spot fine of $341, as well as 3 demerit points. There is also a maximum penalty of $2,277 should the matter go to court.

Conclusion

It is important for Queenslanders to research and take note of new changes to road rules that may affect their regular commutes and use of the road. While some new rules imposed by Queensland are beneficial to the community and backed with significant research, it is still imperative that these rules are followed correctly in order to keep the roads safe and enjoyable for Australians.

A driver who fails to adhere to any of Queensland’s established road rules can potentially affect the lives of themselves, their families and other people by causing accidents that result in injury. If this becomes the case, a credible car accident lawyer who is also a specialist in personal injury may be a much needed resource to protect your legal rights.

If you or a family member or friend has been injured due to the negligence of another driver who has failed to obey the rules of the road, do not hesitate to contact East Coast Injury Lawyers and tell us your story. We will inform you of your legal rights to compensation with a free, no obligation case review. All you have to do is fill in our case review form or contact us through email or phone.

Please be safe on the road.