Any motorbike rider who has made it through peak hour traffic would have experienced the honks, shouts, or at the very least, angry glances from car drivers annoyed at your ability to pass through traffic swiftly. Many drivers will grumble about motorbikes flouting the law without realising, if done properly, motorbike lane filtering is now legal on Queensland roads.

As of 2015 the state of Queensland adopted new motorbike road rules giving greater freedom to riders and reduce traffic congestion.

The following is a basic rundown of these changes to lane filtering and what it means for you. For more detailed information, you should visit the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

Motorbike Lane Filtering

Since February 2015 any Queensland motorcyclist with an open licence can filter between stationary and slow moving vehicles, so long as the vehicles are travelling in the same direction and under 30km/hr.

This means during the almost standard traffic jams that happen during peak hour in busy centres like Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Townsville, riders will be able to safely move out of the congestion, freeing up the road for car drivers.

Keep in mind, Learner and Provisional riders are not allowed to lane filter.

Lane Filtering Restrictions

These new lane filtering laws are not an excuse to do a Top Gun fly-by past any car doing a kilometre or two under the speed limit. They only apply to cars that have stopped or are travelling less than 30km/hr.

You also cannot lane filter in school zones during school hours, near buses or heavy vehicles that may have trouble seeing motorcycles.

Motorbikes on Road Shoulders & Kerbs

When you’re riding on major roads such as motorways, freeways and highways with a speed limit over 90km/hr, riders with an open licence can ride past slow traffic on the road shoulder either left or right of the edge lines. Keep an eye out for other riders on the shoulder though – you probably won’t be the only one there.

You cannot use the shoulder on roads with speed limits under 90km/hr or where pedestrians may be walking. It’s for the safety of pedestrians that you cannot lane filter between vehicles and the kerb.

Motorbikes in Bicycle Lanes

Believe it or not, you can now use bicycle lanes in some circumstances. You are allowed to travel up to 50 metres in a bicycle lane or storage area if you are stopping to park, entering or leaving a road, or attempting to avoid an obstruction.

Lane Splitting

This is still a no, and it’s for both your safety and the car drivers around you. Lane splitting is when a motorcycle filters between lanes at higher speeds. Basically, if the cars are moving faster than 30km/hr, you’re not lane filtering – you’re lane splitting, which is prohibited.

Motorbike Lane Splitting Penalties

In spite of the new freedoms given to motorbike riders, there are still penalties for those breaking the new rules. Breaking the lane filtering or shoulder riding rules can result in on the spot fines of $341 and 3 demerit points, along with the risk of heavier penalties if the matter goes before Court.

While it’s great that Queensland road rules have adapted for motorbike riders, not all states are the same. Remember to check each state’s road rules if you’re planning a motorbike trip so you don’t get caught out.

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