Lane filtering is a big issue for many motorcyclists, and increasingly important when it comes to improving road safety and traffic congestion. Advocates of legal lane filtering argue that it gives motorcyclists more control on the roads and allows them to move through heavy traffic and into safer positions.
Despite calls to standardise lane filtering legislation, the laws and penalties remain inconsistent across Australia. If you're driving across state lines, this can result in frustration and confusion not just for you as a rider but for other road users too.
At Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, we are strong advocates for a uniform national lane filtering standard. But while this is being developed, it's important the riders know what is legal, and what's not, right now. So what can you do, what can't you do, and where are the differences?
Lane filtering occurs when a motorcyclist or motorised scooter rider travels through stagnant or slow-moving traffic.
A rider is lane filtering when they travel between:
As with all road manoeuvres, lane filtering is only legal if it is safe to do so. If conditions aren't safe, don't risk it.
There are four situations where lane filtering is illegal Australia-wide. You aren't allowed to lane filter:
Lane filtering in these circumstances not only puts you at risk but can also cause injury to someone else. You can also face penalties if caught.
We strongly recommend using this guide to understand what is legal in your state so you can lane filter in your daily routine knowing you are safe to do so. You can also refer to this article at any time before you plan your next interstate road trip.
Fully licensed motorcyclists in Victoria must only lane filter when travelling less than 30 km/h, and when it is safe to do so.
Lane filtering is illegal in Victoria:
Fully licensed motorcyclists in New South Wales must only lane filter when travelling less than 30 km/h, and when it is safe to do so.
Lane filtering is illegal in New South Wales:
In Queensland, motorcyclists with an open license must only lane filter when travelling less than 30 km/h and when it is safe to do so.
Lane filtering is illegal in Queensland:
In South Australia, R and R-Date licensed motorcyclists must only lane filter when travelling less than 30 km/h, when it is safe to do so and there is sufficient clearance between vehicles.
Lane filtering is illegal in South Australia:
Motorcyclists who hold a full motorcycle licence are allowed to lane filter in Tasmania when it is safe to do so, and when they are travelling at no more than 30 km/h.
Lane filtering is illegal in Tasmania:
Fully licensed motorcyclists are allowed to lane filter in Western Australia if you’re travelling at no more than 30 km/h – between two lanes of stationary or slow-moving vehicles travelling in the same direction
Lane filtering is illegal in Western Australia when:
Fully licensed motorcyclists in the ACT are allowed to lane filter at speeds of up to 30 km/h only when it is safe to do so
Lane filtering is illegal in the ACT:
Motorcycle riders in the Northern Territory with an unrestricted, full or open motorcycle licence are permitted to lane filter between stationary or slow-moving traffic moving in the same direction of travel, provided they do not exceed 30km/h and it is safe to do so.
Lane Filtering is illegal in the Northern Territory:
We firmly believe that a national standard of lane filtering legislation would ensure motorcyclists and road users enjoy the peace of mind that comes with clear laws, and safer roads.
As the conversation around developing a national standard increases, we encourage you to make your voice heard. Hearing from riders first-hand about what works, and what doesn't, is important. This ensures that legislation developed covers the reality of riding - keeping lane filtering safer and easier for everyone.
We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Australian Capital Territory. If you need a lawyer in Canberra or elsewhere in Australian Capital Territory, please call us on 1800 675 346.
We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Tasmania. If you need a lawyer in Hobart, Launceston or elsewhere in Tasmania, please call us on 1800 675 346.