July 1 marked the beginning of new motorcycle lane filtering laws in New South Wales, following a trial run last year.
Deeming the trial a success, the NSW Government has introduced lane filtering laws permanently, now applying state-wide.
Motorcyclists travelling at less than 30km/h are permitted to ‘filter’ between stopped or slow-moving cars, particularly around intersections governed by traffic lights (see video).
There are several restrictions, however, including a maximum speed of 30km/h and a ban on kerbside filtering or filtering next to parked cars, along with bans on filtering around trucks and buses and in active school zones.
The new rules only benefit fully-licenced motorbike riders in NSW, with L- and P-plate riders still prohibited from lane filtering.
A new offence has been added to the list of traffic offences for NSW Police to enforce - called ‘lane splitting’ - which attracts a fine and three demerit points.
The change is designed to ease traffic congestion in metropolitan areas, provide a safer riding environment for motorcyclists (by distancing them from cars, where possible) and recognise a practice largely happening ‘en-masse’ in any case, despite being considered a breech of traffic rules in the past.
The new rules appear to have caught many NSW residents by surprise, with many taking to social media and other forums to express their dismay.
Many believe the changes are positive however, including Christopher Burns from the Motorcycle Council Of NSW.
"In the past ten years, we've gone from about 87, 000 registered motorcycles to up over 200,000," Mr Burns said, speaking with the ABC.
"If everybody on bikes rode [in] a car on the way into the city, that'd be the equivalent of 4,000 extra cars in the traffic and it would choke the city up."
"The feedback we've had from the NSW Police is that they will be able to police this. They were involved in the working group all the way through this trial and they were also on the Road Safety Advisory Council, and they've raised no objections.”
The Victorian Automobile Chamber Of Commerce (VACC) has called for similar motorcycle lane filtering laws to be introduced into Victoria, and the Queensland Government is also considering lane filtering laws as part of a community discussion paper.
MORE: Motorbike news, NSW news
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