Riding between the kerb and the traffic is a definite no-no. Picture: NSW Government/Facebook.
Riding between the kerb and the traffic is a definite no-no. Picture: NSW Government/Facebook.

Little-known road rule angers NSW motorists

ANGRY motorists have slammed a state government video that encourages motorists to perform a commonly misunderstood road rule properly, saying they have "never seen it done legally" and don't expect anything to change.

The New South Wales Government's "Towards Zero" road safety campaign uploaded a video to its Facebook page last week about lane splitting. This is where motorcyclists scoot between slow moving or stationary cars.

Just days ago, a male motorcyclist lost his life in a nasty crash on Melbourne's Monash Freeway that the police said was likely caused by a motorcyclist lane splitting, also known as lane filtering, and then colliding with a truck.

The video, which was released a day after that accident, details the circumstances lane splitting is allowed and when it's against the law.

For a start, you have to have a full motorcycle licence. There are then numerous other conditions to split in safety and keep on the right side of the law.

"You can only filter when you're travelling no more than 30km/h," the video states.

"You can only filter when it's safe."

The video shows examples of when splitting might not be safe. For instance, between heavy vehicles like trucks and buses.

If there is a bike in the vicinity, riders should slow down to a crawl when passing them.

Motorcyclists should avoiding riding between vehicles if it might be just too much of a squeeze to pass between them.

An example of safe lane filtering: The rider is travelling at less than 30km/h and there is sufficient space between the cars. Picture: NSW Government/Facebook.
An example of safe lane filtering: The rider is travelling at less than 30km/h and there is sufficient space between the cars. Picture: NSW Government/Facebook.

There are also some lane filtering no-no's where a motorcyclist would break the law.

Lane splitting in school zones during school zone hours is illegal, as is riding between moving and parked cars or between cars and the kerb.

You also can't filter if you're on your Ls or Ps.

"Heavy penalties apply to motorcyclists that don't follow the lane filtering rules," the video concludes.

"These rules have been put in place so both riders and other road users can use the road safely".

But some road users have said lane splitting can't be done safely and shouldn't be encouraged. It's an accident waiting to happen.

"It shouldn't be allowed period," said Jamie James on the NSW Towards Zero Facebook page.

"It opens up a can of worms and people abuse this. Plenty of riders filter at 70+km/h."

"I'm all for it if done legally. Pity most don't," said another.

Riding between the kerb and the traffic is a definite no-no. Picture: NSW Government/Facebook.
Riding between the kerb and the traffic is a definite no-no. Picture: NSW Government/Facebook.

"Shouldn't be allowed around trucks. Especially in Sydney where lanes are so narrow on some of the roads," wrote Mohammed Khan.

"I've never seen a single rider filter as per the law. Most do it dangerously," Andrew Davis posted.

In the Melbourne incident, police said speed could well have been a factor in the rider's death.

Assistant Commissioner Stephen Leane said he understood the motorcyclist had been lane splitting.

"Sadly, we've had a motorcycle who was running in-between the lanes. We're not sure about whether speed was an issue, but obviously it's a high-speed road.

"Sadly, (he's) collected one car on one side and then ended up underneath a B-double truck and has now lost his life.

"He's taken a dangerous manoeuvre in high traffic, run the risk and he's lost his life today."

Commissioner Leane acknowledged the practice was legal but questioned if a motorway was the best place to lane filter.

"I think in the CBD it makes a lot of sense. Whether the Monash is the right place or not, let's think that through after today."

Here the rider gets a tick for lane filtering but then stopping when the cars in front are too tightly packed together. Picture: NSW Government/Facebook.
Here the rider gets a tick for lane filtering but then stopping when the cars in front are too tightly packed together. Picture: NSW Government/Facebook.
Also illegal: Riding between parked cars and moving traffic. Picture: NSW Government/Facebook.
Also illegal: Riding between parked cars and moving traffic. Picture: NSW Government/Facebook.

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