Back in February 2015, there were new road rules introduced for motorbikes, the most significant changes relating to lane filtering and moving through congested traffic. Still today there seems to still be some confusion around what is the right and wrong this to do here.
These new rules provide greater freedom for Qld motorbike riders that have been finding themselves stuck in slow moving or stationary traffic. This new move was designed to help reduce the congestion for all motorists on the road, not just the people lucky enough to own a motorbike. The new laws cover lane filtering, motorcycle control rules and broadened approval for motorcycle helmet standards.
Here is a basic rundown of the changes to laws on lane filtering, but for more information about all the changes you should visit the Department of Transport and Main Roads. You should also remember that these changes only affect Queensland riding, and you should check the laws for each state before riding on their roads.
Motorcyclists with an open licence can filter between stationary or slow-moving vehicles travelling in the same direction as the rider, as long as the vehicles are travelling slower than 30km/hr.
This is great news for all Qld riders who use their bikes to commute to work in cities like Brisbane, Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coasts. It allows us riders to safely move out of the congestion, while freeing up the road for car drivers. Unfortunately, Learner and Provisional riders are not allowed to lane filter as they don’t have the same level of on-road riding experience as those on an open licence.
Keep in mind these new laws are not designed to give you the ability to go flying up between cars any time they frustratingly drop below 60km/hr. There are rules on when and where you can lane filter. Lane Filtering is completely prohibited in school zones during school hours. You’re also not permitted to lane filter near buses or other heavy vehicles since drivers of these vehicles may have trouble seeing motorcycles.
When lane filtering on major roads like motorways, freeways and highways where the speed limit is above 90km/hr, riders with open licences can ride past slow moving traffic on the road shoulder on the left or right of the edge lines. Remember to give way to other riders on the shoulder though, as you’re not likely to be the only one trying to get to your destination on time.
Keep in mind that you cannot ride on the shoulder of roadways were the speed limit is below 90km/hr or where there may be pedestrian activity. For pedestrian safety lane filtering is not allowed between vehicles and the kerb.
Motorcycle riders are also now allowed to enter bicycle storage areas and lanes in some circumstances. You can travel up to 50 metres in a bicycle lane if you are stopping to park, entering or leaving the road, or attempting to avoid an obstruction.
As a rule of thumb, lane splitting is considered when you are traveling at more than 30kms/hr between traffic, this is prohibited, and fines may apply. These rules are in place for the safety of all that are using the roads.
Riders caught breaking the new lane filtering or shoulder riding rules can face on the spot fines of $341 and 3 demerit points, (at the time of writing this article) with heavier penalties that may apply if the matter goes before a Court.
Queensland now joins other lane filtering states like New South Wales and the ACT, though you should check the road rules of each state if you’re planning an interstate road trip.
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