NSW Government set to legalise safe lane filtering for motorcyclists

NSW will be the first of the state and territories to legalise motorcycle lane filtering Minister for Roads and Ports Duncan Gay announced…

NSW will be the first of the state and territories to legalise motorcycle lane filtering Minister for Roads and Ports Duncan Gay announced today.

Minister Gay released a package of changes to help ease road congestion and improve safety by reforming laws for motorcyclists.

“Today the NSW Government is releasing common sense solutions to key issues for motorcyclists while maintaining road safety for other road users,” Minister Gay said.

“This package is further evidence of the NSW Liberals & Nationals easing congestion on our roads, whether it’s through record investment in infrastructure or small changes with a big impact like our pinch points program in Western Sydney.

“Last year we held a successful trial in Sydney CBD last year of motorcyclists being exempt from existing lane filtering laws in an attempt to ease road congestion and measure potential safety issues for other road users.

“As a result of the trial we will introduce a new law that will permit fully licenced motorcyclists to legally filter past stationary vehicles at intersections when it is safe to do so.

“Riders will be able to filter at a speed limit of 30km/h.

“It is important to note the new law will not apply to school zones during hours of operation where there might be an increase in pedestrian activity.

“However, the dangerous practice of filtering over the speed limit of 30km/h will become its own specific offence.

“Filtering at high speeds is dangerous and will increase the crash risk for motorcycle riders and other roads users, particularly cyclists and pedestrians.

“The new rule changes will give us the opportunity to communicate with riders so they better understand the risks involved with lane filtering and educate them on safe filtering practice.

“I am also pleased to announce we will fix an anomaly that currently exists in NSW legislation regarding the minimum spacing for motorcycle rear indicators.

“The legal spacing under Australian Design Rules is a minimum of 180 millimetres yet under NSW legislation road authorities were enforcing a minimum of 300 millimetres.

“A lot of motorcyclists complied with Australian Design Rules yet riders driving around in popular bikes like the Suzuki GSXR-750 or the Honda XR250L were still getting hit with defect notices.

“This package of reforms is a result of close consultation with key stakeholders such as the NSW Motorcycle Alliance, Motorcycle Council of NSW and NSW Police.

“We listened and fixed the problems. It’s another example of this government removing unnecessary red tape and getting things done after almost two decades of inaction by the former Labor Governments,” Minister Gay said.

Conditions to manage the safety risks associated with lane filtering:

  • Filtering only permitted when it is ‘safe to do so’. Situations where it is not ‘safe to do so’ may include:
    • When the manoeuvre is at high speed between moving traffic; and
    • Riders will be required to comply with all other road rules when performing the lane filtering manoeuvre, including rules that do not allow them to overtake to the left of vehicles in the kerbside lane (adjacent to a pedestrian path), travel in the breakdown lane, or when filtering around trucks and buses.
  • Imposing a speed limit of 30km/h.
    • Clearly defines the maximum speed riders are allowed to filter at. This makes it clear that filtering over the speed limit of 30km/h is illegal.
    • Setting at 30km/h will limit filtering to slow moving traffic where vehicles are moving at or below this speed
    • This speed is 10km/h lower than the 40km/h limit currently implemented in high pedestrian activity zones
  • Limit filtering to fully licenced riders only (excluding Learner or Provisional riders)
    • Manoeuvre only allowed by experienced riders who may have more highly developed hazard perception and motorcycle handling skills.
    • May reduce risk of inexperienced riders having crashes associated with inadequate gap selection or awareness of pedestrians/other road users while filtering.
  • No filtering in school zones during hours of operation
    • Ensures that filtering does not occur around schools on multi-lane roads where there may be an increase in pedestrian activity by children.