It looks like 2015 will be a good year for motorbike riders in Queensland. As of the first of February this year new road rules for motorbikes take effect, the most significant changes relating to lane filtering and moving through congested traffic.
These new rules provide greater freedom for Queensland motorbike riders needlessly stuck in slow-moving or completely stopped traffic, also reducing the congestion for all motorists on the road. The new laws cover lane filtering, motorcycle control rules and broadened approval for motorcycle helmet standards.
We’re going to provide a basic rundown of the changes to laws on lane filtering, but for more information about all the changes, you should visit the Department of Transport and Main Roads. You should also remember that these changes only affect Queensland riding, and you should check the laws for each state before riding on their roads.
Motorbike Lane Filtering
As of February this year Queensland motorcyclists with an open licence can filter between stationary or slow moving vehicles travelling in the same direction as the rider, so long as the vehicles are travelling slower than 30km/hr.
This is great news for all Queensland riders who use their bikes to commute to work in cities like Brisbane, the Gold Coast and similarly congested city centres. It allows riders to safely move out of the congestion while freeing up the road for car drivers.
Unfortunately, Learner and Provisional riders are not allowed to lane filter as they don’t have the same level of on-road riding experience as those on an open licence.
Lane Filtering Restrictions
Keep in mind this is not an open licence to rip it up between cars any time they frustratingly drop below 95km/hr. The new rules only apply to stationary or slow-moving traffic travelling no faster than 30km/hr, and there are rules on when and where you can lane filter.
Lane Filtering is completely prohibited in school zones during school hours. You’re also not permitted to lane filter near buses or other heavy vehicles since drivers of these vehicles may have trouble seeing motorcycles
Motorbikes on Road Shoulders & Kerbs
When lane filtering on major roads like motorways, freeways and highways where the speed limit is above 90km/hr, riders with open licences can ride past slow moving traffic on the road shoulder on the left or right of the edge lines. Remember to give way to other riders on the shoulder though, as you’re not likely to be the only one trying to get past the congestion.
You cannot ride on the shoulder on roads with speed limits below 90km/hr or where there may be pedestrian activity. For pedestrian safety, lane filtering is not allowed between vehicles and the kerb.
Motorcycles in Bicycle Lanes
Motorcycle riders are also now allowed to enter bicycle storage areas and lanes in some circumstances. You can travel up to 50 metres in a bicycle lane if you are stopping to park, entering or leaving the road, or attempting to avoid an obstruction.
For safety reasons, both yours and car driver’s safety, lane splitting is still not allowed. This refers to motorcycles filtering between lanes at higher speeds. A basic rule of thumb is if you or the cars on the road are moving at over 30km/hr you’re no longer allow lane filtering – you’re lane splitting which is still prohibited.
Lane Filtering Penalties
Riders caught breaking the new lane filtering or shoulder riding rules can face on the spot fines of $341 and 3 demerit points, with heftier penalties if the matter goes before a Court.
If these new laws make motorbike riding seem even more appealing to you, perhaps it’s time to look at buying a bike or even upgrading your old one. Aussie Bike Loans offer great rates on bike finance, and can even look after motorbike insurance.