Green light for motorcyclists to lane filter in Tasmania
We’ve all seen it happen on our roads; a motorcyclist weaving between stationary or slow-moving vehicles that are heading in the same direction. The manoeuvre is called ‘lane filtering’ and up until recently, it was illegal in Tasmania.
New laws that came into effect in late January 2018 means that Tasmanian motorcyclists can now ride past traffic moving in the same direction legally, and joins Queensland, Victoria and South Australia in legalising ‘lane filtering’.
The idea behind the new law is all about improving traffic flow, which is becoming an issue in cities like Hobart and Launceston, especially in peak hour.
North Motorcycle Riders Association of Tasmania president Danny Penney said he had been pushing for the change for a long time and it would only bring Tasmania into line with the rest of Australia.
“Drivers may see it as motorcyclists just jumping the queue, but they’re actually increasing the flow of traffic,” Mr Penney said.
“I don’t see it as a safety issue, the only reason it’ll be a safety issue is if we get cranky drivers trying to impede on motorcyclists,” Mr Penney said
Restrictions to the new law
Addressing any potential safety concerns, Mr Penney said riders would still face restrictions when moving through traffic. For example, it will still be illegal for learner and provisional riders to lane filter and a motorcyclist can only navigate through traffic at less than 30km/h.
The manoeuvre is also restricted in school zones during school hours, next to parked cars and between a vehicle and the kerbside. The penalty for any motorcyclist caught lane filtering illegally is a $159 fine and two demerit points, which is the lowest lane filtering fine in Australia. In NSW, riders can be fined as much as $659 and lose three demerit points (but no double demerits) for lane filtering breaches. In QLD the fine is $341 and three demerit points, and in SA it’s $363 and three demerit points.