Motorcycle Network Lane Filtering

Lane Filtering

Filtering through congested traffic that is stopped or moving only very slowly has been common practice for decades by motorcycles and bicycles.

There are no specific road rules that cover this and no rule that specifically uses the terminology “lane splitting” or “filtering”.


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Lane Filtering is neither specifically legal, nor specifically illegal.

You must not overtake unless you can safely overtake the vehicle (Australian Road Rule 140).


Sometimes car drivers complain that riders are “queue-jumpers” and this complaint may result in a police “blitz” where all sorts of odd road rules of marginal application are applied to issue infringement notices to riders. See the table below for some ambiguous laws that can apply in some circumstances.

What is clear is that bicycles will lane filter in an identical manner at slow traffic speeds, yet have exemptions to the same rules used to fine motorcycle riders.

In this area, the law is an ass.


How to Lane Filter

  • Read the traffic, identify where you will pull in again
  • Have good control skills
  • Have well developed road craft skills
  • Think ahead, look ahead
  • Do not travel at a speed greater than 20km/hr more than the vehicles


Your biggest risk is inattentive car drivers, who in stop-start traffic will suddenly veer in their lane as they change hands doing the crossword, reaching into the back seat, texting on the mobile, eating, drinking hot coffee, putting on makeup and other stuff that only bicycle riders and motorcyclists have seen through the windows.


Watch out for door openers. This is an aggressive and potentially lethal form of road rage.

If you damage a car, you are most likely at fault, as the overtaking vehicle.

(deal with this immediately, exchange particulars and take photos, get any witness details)


At higher speeds, cars can veer a lot within their lane. Do not “split” lanes in flowing traffic.




These are the rules they can get you on if they so desire:
Driving on a footpath, cycle track/lane, nature strip or traffic island $231 and 3 points
Driving in an emergency lane (freeway) $179 and 2 points
Driving on/over continuous edge line (any other road) $179 and 2 points
Not giving change of direction signal either left or right $128 and 2 points
Overtaking to the left of the vehicle $128 and 2 points
Overtaking a vehicle too closely $231 and 3 points



DISCLAIMER - my lawyer made me do it.

All of the above is the opinion of a single person! It is not to be used as a legal opinion or advice... do not be silly enough to try and use it in Magistrates Court and say "but MCNetwork told me...."

Use your brain and have a voice - stand up and be counted and protest archaic laws.

Take responsibility for your own actions.