New South Wales Legalizes Motorcycling Filtering

02/28/2014 @ 2:27 pm, by Aakash Desai12 COMMENTS


After a successful two-month trial conducted last year, Australia’s state of New South Wales (NSW) has recently decided to allow filtering on its roads beginning in July.

Regulators cite decreased incidences of rear-end collisions, decreased traffic congestion, and just plain common sense as justifications for the law change, and the new law will establish a 30 km/h threshold for motorists intending to split lanes.

Riding a motorcycle without the option to split lanes is like driving a car that is a 1/6th the size, has no airbags or crash protection, is harder to operate at low speeds, offers no protection from the elements, and is itching to kill you at any moment.

Also known as “filtering” in other parts of the world, this practice makes a two-wheeled vehicle a practical and viable alternative to four-wheeled transportation.

Unfortunately, not every rider in the world enjoys the legal freedom to cut through queued vehicles or crawling traffic (even then, many valiant outlaws will still do it). Basically, their governments have relegated their machine to purely recreational duties or a über – dangerous means of conventional (read: mind-numbing) transport.

So, when ignorant bureaucrats eventually come to their senses about the realities and benefits of filtering, as riders we can congratulate our fellow riders while reluctantly patting the receding hairlines of those enlightened policy-makers.

Riders of New South Wales, congrats on your forthcoming formal freedom to begin the splitting in July. To the New South Wales government: it was about time and we hope you can serve as an example to the rest of the states in your country as well as 49 states in the US.

One critique: the 30 km/h filtering threshold that roads minister Duncan Gay and his administrators have set is woefully low. The California CHP guidelines are far more realistic and accommodative. Thanks for the tip Ian!

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald; Photo: © 2010 Roland Dobbins –  Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

  • Luke

    Just for once, I am positively surprised by the NSW government.

  • Tom

    Filtering /= Splitting.

    Filtering: Slowly maneuvering through stationary traffic (usually to the front of the lights). Therefore a 30kph limit is very reasonable.

    Splitting: Riding between lanes in moving traffic. Most riders agree this is far more dangerous, and while plenty of us do it anyway, only a few would try to justify it as safe.

  • Sean in Oz
  • jordan.gpx

    Pretty happy that this is happening, let alone you guys are reporting it! Not lane splitting is just downright dangerous in Sydney – considering the rubbish standard of most drivers and the convoluted roads. I can definitely see a few drivers throwing their toys out of the pram and trying to run me off the road though…

  • Grumpy in Oz

    Great news for ‘down under’ motor cyclists. Strange to see it reported on US website as a great majority of Americans wouldn’t know where NSW is!

  • paulus

    Common sense laws… all too uncommon.

  • Westward

    @ Grumpy

    – And them that think they know, probably think it is in England…

  • paulus

    The articles accompanying image is Bangkok, Thailand.
    Not only is filtering a way of life here, but many major junctions have a special waiting area at the front, especially for motorcycles (no cars allowed)!

  • Josh

    @Tom, Do you base your statement on a study? Is is that just your opinion? I don’t see a distinction between the two. Filtering = Splitting.

    Besides that. I agree 100% after splitting lanes in Naples for 3.5 years coming back to the USA is down right oppressive. Crazy to think I want to get out of the USA due to it’s lack of freedom.

  • Tom

    That’s the common consensus amongst Australian riders. However, the details of this press release say “Lane filtering is the practice of motorcycles moving between stopped or slow moving cars.” So I guess there’s some room for interpretation.

  • Tron

    Legal from July? At least it’s one less thing to be fined for I suppose..

  • Not filtering just doesn’t compute with me. I’ve even had car drivers in Germany move over to allow me to filter and we all know how filtering is viewed over there.