27 May 2011

Motorcycle Awareness. Improving Traffic Congestion

| balloonatic
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The traffic congestion in Canberra is getting worse all the time. I’m sure it will improve a little when the major roadworks are finished by it won’t take long for new housing developments to fill the roads up again. Places like Sydney and Melbourne deal with much worse traffic congestion then us on a daily basis and manage to maintain their sanity in doing so. There is a much higher ratio of motorcycles to cars in these larger cities and everyone seems to get along quite well.

So what are the differences between dealing with traffic well, and dealing with it poorly? I’m going to talk about the driving attitudes in Sydney and Melbourne as a prime examples of how things can and should be done. As per the title I’m coming from the view of a rider but of course I am a driver as well.

Observations I have made in Sydney and Melbourne that make driving in congestion easier
– being patient and waiting just for a second for the right opportunty to change lanes
– being considerate, this is two fold, when someone lets you in give them a gesture to say thanks, on the other hand you see that someone has had to make a late lane change, open the gap, give them some space and feel the good karma grow and flow
– when you do need to make a move, make it happen quickly enough so your intentions are always clear
– Sydney people do this naturally, but you can’t merge while on the bumper of the car in front of you, in order to carry out a zipper merge you going to have leave room for at least a car. If you leave the gap early there will be minimal need to change speed and the concentener effect will be smaller.

Melbourne and Motocycles
– Melbourne drivers and riders have a beautiful relationship that works in harmony everyday
– I believe we can learn a lot from this
– Motorcycles in Melbourne have minimal effect on traffic congestion
– By law, Lane Splitting* is illegal, however if executed in the right areas and at the right relative speed it is very safe
– Drivers will actually move to the outside of the lane, open the gap between the lanes as much as possible so riders can move through while having minimal impact on the traffic.
– Rider need only give a little rev of the motor and the driver will drive forward a little just to let the bike through. Rider says thankyou and gets out of everyones way.

*Lane Splitting – What and Why does it work

Lane splitting is when a rider pulls out from the lane and rides on the line between the two lanes. Canberrans view it as an aggressive, dangerous maneouver that does nothing but jump the queue. I’m writing here to give a different perpesctive.

Lane splitting should be legalised! Anyone who has driven in Melbourne would have experienced the minimal impact that lane splitting has on the traffic. Actually, Lane splitting reduces congestion by creating extra lanes for motorcycles and getting them out of the cars way. 3 lanes of traffic presents 2 extra lanes for motorcycles. So in reality, every bike that lane splits means a car can move up a spot.

So please, if you see a bike moving up slowly between the traffic, make way for him and remeber that by doing so you actually creating a spot for your fellow driver behind you.

Peace and Happy driving, lets all get to work with smiles on our dials.

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I think the government is trying to separate cyclists from other motorists by use of designated lanes etc. sharing those lanes with motorcycles goes against this initiative and is dangerous to the cyclist and I don’t recommend it. There is heaps of road without using the emergency/cycle lanes.

keepitup said :

Hatter64 said :

I will soon be moving to a place where roads and transport are planned, road-users accept the need to share the roads safely and they don’t feed theses strange chemicals into the water and air that cause this aggression we see in Canberra. Enjoy you next few years battling each other for your space on the roads.

C’mon, let us in on the secret. Where is this Utopia?

Actually, reading between the lines, I had thought it was the same place that we all, hopefully, get to see in a few years……

Aeek said :

Innovation said :

#36 balloonatic – If motor bikes are speed limited in cycle lanes (eg 20km/h) I don’t see the problem.

As a trial, I suggest that max 300cc bikes (ie the lower rego category) are allowed in the bicycle lane up to 20km/h.

I see the problem.
I’ve been doing 50 something in the bicycle lane wondering how to deal with the slower moto ahead.
I’m also not keen on inexperienced riders pulling out in front of me when I am flying,
and a 300cc limit is likely to select them.

50 clicks on a pushie. I’m impressed! Don’t those slower cyclists already in the cycle lanes annoy you already? And why would a slower motorbike suddently pull out in front of you if they are on the limit in the cycle lane? And as for “inexperienced” motorcylists on <300cc, are you suggesting that it would be better for these inexperienced motorcyclists to be in mainstream traffic?

A 20k limit for motorcylists in the cycle lane would be likely to mean that motorcylists only used it near intersections to get to the head of the queue or in slow moving traffic so I still don't see the problem. It might even stop cyclists running the red lights when they get there because there is a motorcycle in the way!

As a result of this thread, I've been doing a little reading on rear end casualties involving motorbikes stopped at traffic lights. I had no idea what a big risk/issue it was. I'm tempted to start, legally, pulling over in the cycle lane and parking until the traffic starts flowing again. Oh wait, that would hold up the cyclists and annoy them wouldn't it…..?

Aeek said :

Innovation said :

#36 balloonatic – If motor bikes are speed limited in cycle lanes (eg 20km/h) I don’t see the problem.

As a trial, I suggest that max 300cc bikes (ie the lower rego category) are allowed in the bicycle lane up to 20km/h.

I see the problem.
I’ve been doing 50 something in the bicycle lane wondering how to deal with the slower moto ahead.
I’m also not keen on inexperienced riders pulling out in front of me when I am flying,
and a 300cc limit is likely to select them.

So it’s ok for bicycles to share the road lanes, but not ok for motorcycles to share the bike lanes? I doubt many motorcycles are slower than bicycles. I’ve actually never encountered a bicycle in the lane when I’ve used them at lights, which really suprised me as I see more motorcycles using them than bicycles.

Hatter64 said :

I will soon be moving to a place where roads and transport are planned, road-users accept the need to share the roads safely and they don’t feed theses strange chemicals into the water and air that cause this aggression we see in Canberra. Enjoy you next few years battling each other for your space on the roads.

C’mon, let us in on the secret. Where is this Utopia?

Innovation said :

#36 balloonatic – If motor bikes are speed limited in cycle lanes (eg 20km/h) I don’t see the problem.

As a trial, I suggest that max 300cc bikes (ie the lower rego category) are allowed in the bicycle lane up to 20km/h.

I see the problem.
I’ve been doing 50 something in the bicycle lane wondering how to deal with the slower moto ahead.
I’m also not keen on inexperienced riders pulling out in front of me when I am flying,
and a 300cc limit is likely to select them.

#36 balloonatic – If motor bikes are speed limited in cycle lanes (eg 20km/h) I don’t see the problem. There is no risk to the cyclists and the increased activity in the cycle lane would encourage drivers to be more aware of what is going on on their left hand side. Currently 200W electric bicycles (and how could you tell whether it’s actually a 400W or even a 1000W pushie) are allowed in the cycles lanes but a 50cc bike is not. As a trial, I suggest that max 300cc bikes (ie the lower rego category) are allowed in the bicycle lane up to 20km/h.

As far as I can tell in this thread, no-one has produced a reason why this idea (or walking motorbikes through gaps between stationary cars) would be unreasonable.

averagejoeaussie said :

…even if I am the first car stopped at the lights. I usually try to floor it to either make life difficult/make them shit themselves at the green light.

hahahahhahahahhahahahhahaha

I know your type.

Pity you can’t keep up!

matt31221 said :

And @ qbngeek who wants to switch off street lights – you are a muppet! If someone gets raped due to lowered lighting the government is liable, they will not turn off street lights! You probably drive a petrol guzzling sports SUV and you work an office job. Maybe you should get a motorcycle and then you will be saving resources and polluting less.

Well I never meant for it to get personal, I suggest you think more about what I said before you post. I never said I wanted lights to be turned off in towns or cities, however there are stretches of highway around this country that are lit adn do not need to be. There are also many country roads that are lit. The actual point was that there is no reason to use your high beam with oncoming traffic.

And FYI, you muppet, I do own an SUV but it is pretty economical and is better on fuel than the mid-sizeedsedan it replaced. I also own two motorbikes, as I have stated on this site in the past, and I see no reason to ride around with my high beams on even though one of my bikes is from the 60s and has the worst headlight on earth.

And yes I do work in an office, just like you work for a tradie…because you’re a tool.

I have a vague recollection of reading an article a few years ago about the state of California looking to make lane splitting / filtering legal as there’d been some research done which concluded that it resulted in less accidents and less congestion. I’ve done a quick google and have found a few references but nothing that seems to have a ring of authority. This link has some useful comment though:

http://articles.sfgate.com/2000-10-30/news/17664760_1_lane-splitting-motorcyclists-bay-bridge

I’m sure some more exhaustive searching would turn up something more useful.

As someone that commutes by bike 50% of the time and drives the other half, I tend not to lane split unless some idiot puts me into a dangerous situation (has only happened once) or I’ve stuffed up (happened once as well) as it generally doesn’t feel safe to me. I cringe when I see motorcyclists going up push-bike lanes and the like because safety risk aside it’s a bad look that only aggravates further those motorists that already have a pre-disposition to being cranky on the roads. But then I”m the kind of bike rider that wears full protective gear and there’s a lot that don’t so I can only conclude they just don’t assess risk in the same way I do.

What a troll by Hatter64 (although I suspect there is one more ‘t’ than was intended in that name). Out of that spew of keyboard diarrhoea I will only pick up on one thing – a fact rather than an opinion which is incorrect.

Hatter64 said :

(yes a bike over 250cc will cost you more to register and insure than a V8)

Can you prove that? Because whatever maths you use, it doesn’t add up. Let’s break it down. From the ACT Rego website the rego for a car between 1505-2505kg (such as a V8 Holden Commodore) will cost you $906.30 to register. A motorcycle which is 301cc and over (because that’s the cutoff, NOT 251cc) will cost you $549.60. I’ll make this very clear just for you, Hatter64, the different is $356.70.

Now, insurance. For a 5 year old Honda CBR-600RR, NRMA came back with $1,063.41. For a 5 year old SS V8, NRMA said $1,180.36. Both were for a 35 year old male living in Belconnen. Now let’s try that maths thing again!
Motorcycle: 549.6+1063.41 = $1613.01
Car: 906.30+1180.36 = $2086.66

Difference: $473.65 in favour of the bike. So next time you want to go spouting crap like “bikes cost more to register than a V8” maybe you should check your facts, and keep your mouth shut.

Unfortunately for the advocates of ‘cars only’ roads in the ACT, motorcyclists pay for the privilege of taking a risk amongst the angry driving community on our roads.
Melbourne is quoted as an example. I recommend a quick visit to Thailand or Vietnam where road rules are generally ignored and see how well motorcyclist and drivers can co-habit on very busy roads. At the lights ALL motorcycles move to the front of the cars and take off first. There is NO angst from the drivers.. they’re patient and know that it’s not a race, simply common sense. I’m not sure what they put in the water or the hot air here in Canberra, but it does make the drivers extremely agressive. I’d prefer to drive in New York or Sydney than Canberra… although I must admit the roads planning in most cities and towns is much better than Canberra…. Sigh
If you’re a driver that’s frustrated by being ‘beaten’ at the lights by a motorcyclist, take your revenge; get your motorcycle license, buy a motorcycle, pay higher rego and CTPI (yes a bike over 250cc will cost you more to register and insure than a V8) and take it out for a spin, prferably in winter on a rainy day. It’ll provide a different perspective on shared road usage.. Not sure you want to go to that expense? Take your life in your hands and take a pushbike out on Canberra’s roads. Then you’ll find out how ignorant (and I mean that in the true sense of the word) Canberra’s drivers are about sharing the roads.

The roads in Canberra are a mess. There is no plan to make them workable inside a twenty year time-frame. I mean workable, not ‘better than they are now’, which isn’t difficult to achieve).

I will soon be moving to a place where roads and transport are planned, road-users accept the need to share the roads safely and they don’t feed theses strange chemicals into the water and air that cause this aggression we see in Canberra. Enjoy you next few years battling each other for your space on the roads.

As for the comment on w*nkers; yes there are lots of them. In cars too. I don’t know if you notice cars. I am pleased to see car drivers noticing motorcyclists, even if they have to act badly to be noticed. In my time I’ve seen many motorcyclists that weren’t noticed by drivers. Unfortunately you wouldn’t want to see the results.

Please think about it next time you’re standing by your car with a dented fender feeling sorry for yourself. It could be worse.

Lane splitting doesn;t particular bother.

What bothers me is seeing motorcyclists weaving in and out of traffic, doing 30km/h or more faster than the rest of the traffic. It’s a regular occurrence, and it’s very dangerous, because drivers can’t see you until you are right on top of them.

Motorcyclists getting somewhere faster than me doesn’t matter. What matters is people like me not wanting to have an accident because some dick on a bike thinks he’s on a racetrack.

dks00k said :

what_the (Comment #21)

You Sir, are an arse.

It would appear that you are the perfect example of a motorcylcist that makes the rest of us look bad.
Rather than ranting on just answer me this….

You refer to the following link… http://www.nrma.com.au/keeping-safe-secure/motorcycle-safety.shtml
and claim that your lane splitting / filtering and use of the cycle (and no doubt emergency breakdown) lanes makes you a safer rider beacause you are eliminating the chance of a rear end collision.

It also states “Always assume other road users haven’t seen you. – never be where a vehicle driver won’t expect you to be”

How in the hell does riding down an emergency breakdown or cycle lane not put you in a place that another driver wont expect you to be?

You want to be safer on the road? Try this..

Obey the rules of the road
Make yourself as visible as possible. Surprisingly that also means putting yourself and you bike where others can see you. You know where most motorists look? Straight ahead.
Do an Advanced Rider Training Course or three.

It has worked for me and I have been riding and driving for almost 30 years.

Although what would I know? You have a vast number of years experience. What was it? Seven?

Opions are like @resholes mate, everyone’s got one. I guess on your basis, cyclist shouldn’t use the lanes either because motorists aren’t expecting them, they should only stay at the back of the ‘line’ at the lights too because apparently some driver will just pull into the bike lane while stationary in traffic. But hey, you’re the expert here apparently, I’ll continue to do this to avoid getting smacked up behind, you continue to do your thing. And I’m glad you know all about my driver/rider training history. You know what they say about assumptions.

what a great variety of opinions, topic like this sure brings out the strong personalities. I love the way our community actually has a good hard look at these types of situations, its the only way to improve it really. i have faith that canberrans will adjust to the changing environment on the roads, patence and common sense, thats all we need.

i would never recommend or suggest using push bike lanes for riding a motorcycle in. This is putting the cyclist in danger and the police will not take it lightly if you’re caught. The difference in speed is way to great. Lane filtering/lane splitting I don’t see the difference from a legal point of view, like when does it become lane splitting, when you’re going 20% faster then the traffic. But i’m glad that those who lane filter obviously see the ‘safe’ benefits to all when you filter in the right place at the right time.

May everyone find faith in their fellow driver, peace on the road to all 🙂

averagejoeaussie said :

Also unfortunately for you, lane splitting in Canberra is illegal. There are lanes clearly marked for motor vehicles – both cars and bikes. Apart from a few good ones, most motorcycle riders in Canberra are village idiots and love riding between these legally-designated lanes, especially at traffic lights that really piss off car drivers. It’s not jealously or the fact that they get ahead – it’s the simple fact that I have to wait for the “temporary Australian” to go before I can and the simple fact that they expect others to give way to them at other people’s expense (would we tolerate it if they pushed in line at either the bank or Woolies?) even if I am the first car stopped at the lights. I usually try to floor it to either make life difficult/make them shit themselves at the green light.

What a load of crap. I doubt you ever have to wait. Unless you’re driving a Ferrari, there’s no chance you’re keeping up with bikes when they take off from the lights. There is also a difference between lane splitting and filtering. Perhaps you should look it up.

Averagejoeaussie is a perfect example of the type of attitude that makes motorcyclists want to put as much buffer between them and other road users as possible. Even on my 250cc bike I’ll be out in front and on my way by 50-100m before you’ve even gotten into 2nd, and my bike is slow.

As many many motorcyclists keep saying it’s not about getting to the front or being first it’s about our personal safety because we aren’t surrounded by 1 tonne of metal and air bags. There is no crumple zone on a bike and the road is hard. We accept those risks (and that f***sticks like joeaverage exist) and use the small size, maneouverability and acceleration of the bike itself to mitigate those risks as much as possible.

Anecdotally I’ve found that more people actually make space for me or move out of the way a bit and for that I’m always happy and thankful. I try to nod at them on the way past, I’d wave but it’s usually a bit busy on the handlebars to do so.

Go to any other country I’ve ridden in (mostly south-east asia admittedly) and lane splitting/filtering is just a part of driving and no one gets stressed or carries on about it, just a couple of toots or flick of the lights and around you go.

As i said before if you really want to read 9,000,000,000 opinions and pages on this from riders then please go to canberrariders or netrider.

KeenGolfer said :

averagejoeaussie said :

Also unfortunately for you, lane splitting in Canberra is illegal.

Is it? Please advise the legislation that states splitting is illegal.

There is no law against filtering/splitting per se. However there are offences that can come into play such as fail to indicate, cross solid lines, overtake too close, not keep safe distance, overtake when unsafe, no overtake to the left, cut in front of vehicle after overtaking etc etc. Then there’s the more serious stuff like furious/reckless/dangerous/menacing driving which carries a possible penalty of imprisonment.

I’d like to know more about this. Also, there have been a couple of comments on this thread that imply that “filtering” is OK. Aren’t there any rules that explicitly prohibit this?

I had a quick look at the ARR and other rules that I can see are: no overtaking to the left of a vehicle (unless it is stationary and it’s safe) and …. the biggie … the driver/rider when overtaking must not RETURN to the marked lane or line of traffic where the vehicle is travelling until the driver/rider is a sufficient distance PAST the vehicle to avoid a collision with the vehicle or obstructing the path of the vehicle. In other words, you must leave the lane to overtake a vehicle on the left even if it is stationary. I suppose it might be possible to pass a vehicle that is on the right but not many cars would leave enough room in their lane for that to happen.

what_the said :

I filter, and I will continue to do so. It’s one of the measures I use to lesson my chances of getting taken out on Canberra roads. As NRMA will tell you, 1 third of motorcycle accidents are from being hit from behind by another vehicle.

I’m curious – what percentage of “car vs car” accidents are rear enders?

averagejoeaussie said :

Also unfortunately for you, lane splitting in Canberra is illegal. There are lanes clearly marked for motor vehicles – both cars and bikes. Apart from a few good ones, most motorcycle riders in Canberra are village idiots and love riding between these legally-designated lanes, especially at traffic lights that really piss off car drivers. It’s not jealously or the fact that they get ahead – it’s the simple fact that I have to wait for the “temporary Australian” to go before I can and the simple fact that they expect others to give way to them at other people’s expense (would we tolerate it if they pushed in line at either the bank or Woolies?) even if I am the first car stopped at the lights. I usually try to floor it to either make life difficult/make them shit themselves at the green light.

It’s good to see that some do see making a point is more important than concentrating on road safety. Life on Canberra roads would be so boring without the testosterone driven maniacs who cannot stand his modified metallic blue ute being overtaken by anyone.

I dunno what roads “averagejoeaussie” has been driving on, but on my daily commute I only see motorcyclists riding extremely conservatively, waiting stoically in endless lines of banked up cars. Maybe we only sees what we want to see. But it seems that “averagejoeaussie” is the type to use his vehicle as a weapon to intimidate other road users. He freely admits as much.

He says he’s not jealous of the fact that the “temporary australians” (clever!) get ahead – the problem is “being made to wait”. Well, maybe a postie bike or a 50cc scooter would make him wait, but anyone who has seen how the average motorcycle accelerates will know that “averagejoeaussie” will not be made to wait at all. It it merely an emotional reaction on his part – once he was “first”, now he is not. “Somebody else got in front – now I’m no longer number one! Those bastards! I’ll teach ’em!” And so he floors his big V8 (just a guess) in an attempt to avenge his damaged ego.

Sadly, for Joe and other road warriors of his ilk, driving is a battle for supremacy in which every second lost and every perceived slight is an indignity worthy of retaliation. Joe needs to take a broader view of things and get some perspective.

averagejoeaussie said :

Also unfortunately for you, lane splitting in Canberra is illegal.

Is it? Please advise the legislation that states splitting is illegal.

There is no law against filtering/splitting per se. However there are offences that can come into play such as fail to indicate, cross solid lines, overtake too close, not keep safe distance, overtake when unsafe, no overtake to the left, cut in front of vehicle after overtaking etc etc. Then there’s the more serious stuff like furious/reckless/dangerous/menacing driving which carries a possible penalty of imprisonment.

averagejoeaussie said :

Also unfortunately for you, lane splitting in Canberra is illegal.

Yes and No.

Overtaking on the right within the same lane = legal.
Overtaking on the left can be legal if you are riding a bicycle.
Otherwise, no.

averagejoeaussie10:56 pm 01 Jun 11

Also unfortunately for you, lane splitting in Canberra is illegal. There are lanes clearly marked for motor vehicles – both cars and bikes. Apart from a few good ones, most motorcycle riders in Canberra are village idiots and love riding between these legally-designated lanes, especially at traffic lights that really piss off car drivers. It’s not jealously or the fact that they get ahead – it’s the simple fact that I have to wait for the “temporary Australian” to go before I can and the simple fact that they expect others to give way to them at other people’s expense (would we tolerate it if they pushed in line at either the bank or Woolies?) even if I am the first car stopped at the lights. I usually try to floor it to either make life difficult/make them shit themselves at the green light.

what_the (Comment #21)

You Sir, are an arse.

It would appear that you are the perfect example of a motorcylcist that makes the rest of us look bad.
Rather than ranting on just answer me this….

You refer to the following link… http://www.nrma.com.au/keeping-safe-secure/motorcycle-safety.shtml
and claim that your lane splitting / filtering and use of the cycle (and no doubt emergency breakdown) lanes makes you a safer rider beacause you are eliminating the chance of a rear end collision.

It also states “Always assume other road users haven’t seen you. – never be where a vehicle driver won’t expect you to be”

How in the hell does riding down an emergency breakdown or cycle lane not put you in a place that another driver wont expect you to be?

You want to be safer on the road? Try this..

Obey the rules of the road
Make yourself as visible as possible. Surprisingly that also means putting yourself and you bike where others can see you. You know where most motorists look? Straight ahead.
Do an Advanced Rider Training Course or three.

It has worked for me and I have been riding and driving for almost 30 years.

Although what would I know? You have a vast number of years experience. What was it? Seven?

Holden Caulfield4:36 pm 30 May 11

Onceler said :

“There are a lot of idiots who just simply don’t indicate.”

True. it mystifies me as to why people can ignore this basic rule of driving. Nearly as bad is indicating AFTER one has commenced turning or changing lanes. What’s the point of that?

Man, I hate that. It’s really hard to bite one’s tongue while riding in the car with my boss who does that all the time. Actually, that’s a lie, sometimes he doesn’t indicate at all. When he does it’s usually in the same motion as turning the steering wheel to get around the corner.

He’s a good driver, though, just ask him.

I sometimes mosey down the middle when traffic is obscenely slow or stationary at lights, but couldn’t imagine lane splitting through traffic moving at any significant speed.

Do I care what car drivers think? No. If they want line up and burn fuel to shift 1 ton and take up 2 meters by 3 meters of road space to move their carcass from A to B, they can. But I’m not going to hang around them and take my ‘turn’ to suck up space.

What amuses me is the small number of piqued drivers who chew through the petrol and take their engine into the red to ‘challenge’ motorcycles at lights. Personally, if someone can’t bear being passed, I just back off and let them go ahead. Then I give them a friendly little wave as I pass them at the next traffic light queue.

Filtering yes, for the two reasons as stated above – preventing a rear ender & being able to get out in front and away from all the cars ie put some buffer between them and you.

Splitting no, dangerous at speed, no need, scares the crap out of drivers, you are basically putting yourself between a rock and a hard place on purpose at pace.

Generally though there isn’t enough congestion in Canberra to bother with either.

If anyone wants to read the 9,000,000,000 pages on this discussed by riders themselves please go to canberrariders or netriders. They also have 9,000,000,000 pages on why melbourne/sydney/brisbane/perth drivers are the worst in the world.

“Unfortunately for you, a number of motorcycle riders in Canberra are wankers.” – Buzz819

Unfortunately for everyone else a number of people (you) who can use a keyboard are wankers

what_the said :

I filter, and I will continue to do so. It’s one of the measures I use to lesson my chances of getting taken out on Canberra roads. As NRMA will tell you, 1 third of motorcycle accidents are from being hit from behind by another vehicle. This is just one of the measures I use, and in my 7 years of riding have not had any accidents whatsoever.
http://www.nrma.com.au/keeping-safe-secure/motorcycle-safety.shtml

Most of the people that get angry seem to be the ones who think motorcycles are somehow pushing in front of the queue. Like there’s some perceieved gain they’re not getting by being stuck in traffic. Hell, just come join us. But really, it doesn’t save time at all, I’m just not leaving myself to being hit from behind.

Usually i’ll use the unused bike lane on the side of the road which is more than enough. In my many years of riding, i’ve actually never once encountered a cyclist in the lane! They’re just not really used that much, so I cant see the issue of motorcyclists using them at low speed.

Oh, and I’m talking about traffic lights by the way

I filter, and I will continue to do so. It’s one of the measures I use to lesson my chances of getting taken out on Canberra roads. As NRMA will tell you, 1 third of motorcycle accidents are from being hit from behind by another vehicle. This is just one of the measures I use, and in my 7 years of riding have not had any accidents whatsoever.
http://www.nrma.com.au/keeping-safe-secure/motorcycle-safety.shtml

Most of the people that get angry seem to be the ones who think motorcycles are somehow pushing in front of the queue. Like there’s some perceieved gain they’re not getting by being stuck in traffic. Hell, just come join us. But really, it doesn’t save time at all, I’m just not leaving myself to being hit from behind.

Usually i’ll use the unused bike lane on the side of the road which is more than enough. In my many years of riding, i’ve actually never once encountered a cyclist in the lane! They’re just not really used that much, so I cant see the issue of motorcyclists using them at low speed.

Oh, I was talking about the lane splitting, in case that wasn’t clear.

Doesn’t bother me when I see motor cyclists do that when I’m driving. In fact, I much rather have them in front of me where I can clearly see them, than behind me where they would often be pretty hard to spot if I wouldn’t have blind spot mirrors.

KeenGolfer said :

– a bike is small and drivers aren’t trained to look for them. A quick glance of the mirrors, can’t see a car and they’re off. If you’re in a queue of traffic it can be very dangerous.

Actually drivers are trained to look for them, the problem is that they choose not to. Call it laziness, negligence, whatever. We’re taught to look when we learn to drive (you have to demonstrate the ability when you get your licence) but too many people become crappy drivers and don’t look, don’t head check, don’t indicate, etc. There is no excuse for that.

“There are a lot of idiots who just simply don’t indicate.”

True. it mystifies me as to why people can ignore this basic rule of driving. Nearly as bad is indicating AFTER one has commenced turning or changing lanes. What’s the point of that?

I tend to “filter” very occasionally – or even borrow the cycle lane after carefully checking to see that no cyclists are around – when traffic is banked up and going nowhere. Sitting for ages in a long queue of single-occupant cars, especially in hot weather with full safety riding gear on, wasting petrol, makes me feel a bit stupid. I wouldn’t advise this for riders whose machines don’t have the acceleration to get well away from cars once the lights turn green. Unfortunately there will occasionally be one or two car drivers who take this as a personal affront, and make a point of catching up and overtaking at above the speed limit.

It’s pretty common for motorcyclists to get hit from behind by cars, especially when stationary. Riders who have experienced an accident like this (and survived) probably feel it’s safer to filter or lane-split.

The law is the law and we should obey the law – but on the roads it comes into conflict with the law of the jungle and the laws of survival. I acknowledge that there are idiot motorcyclists out there, but the majority are just doing what they can to stay alive. Sometimes, inevitably, riders will make mistakes and take a small risk they shouldn’t have: a wake-up call to learn from. It’s the same for car drivers of course, but on a m/c the risks to life and limb are much greater. Given the vulnerability of motorcyclists, I feel they should be also allowed to use their small size to their advantage, up to a point.

I hope we can all share the roads in a spirit of fellowship and generosity – a little give and take goes a long way. It’s not a race. It’s only Canberra – there’s nowhere terribly exciting to get to, after all.

Personally, as a rider/driver, I think you’re crazy if you lane split. You’re just asking for a car to knock you off as they quickly change lanes etc with little/no warning or without looking adequately.

However, lane filtering, slowly filtering through *stopped* traffic to get to the front at the lights is acceptable and safe if done correctly. It’s probably safer than sitting in the queue of traffic for several important reasons:
– rear enders. In a car, no biggie normally, but on a bike you’re dead or seriously injured
– when a bike is amongst a queue of traffic drivers typically don’t see a rider, they just see a space their car can fit into and you really have to have your wits about you to stop drivers changing lanes over top of you.
– a bike is small and drivers aren’t trained to look for them. A quick glance of the mirrors, can’t see a car and they’re off. If you’re in a queue of traffic it can be very dangerous.

There is no law against filtering per se and if done correctly is legal. However there are offences that can come into play such as fail to indicate, cross solid lines, overtake too close etc.

#4 Buzz918 – Surely you don’t mean the “vast majority”. I suspect it is like all minority groups of road users (eg cyclists, bus drivers) in that a handful if miscreants spoil it for the rest. Try spending a day counting the number of motorcyclists you see (assuming that you notice them) and comparing that to the number who actually break rules.

#7 RichardWhereat – I’m not sure that I understand your post but, currently, any motorcyclist riding in the cycle lane is at fault and blatantly negligent if doing it at speed.

#10 BenMac – If you don’t like the theme, why read and why post?

#13 bd84 – Actually motorcyclists do improve the flow of traffic. It is potentially one less car on the road and they take up significantly less space than a car. I agree that lane splitting or cycle lane use is pointless if it is just to get to the next red light quicker. But in places like Northbourne, where you can sit at one set of lights for two or three changes it would be very valuable and would reduce traffic congestion even further. It might even encourage some more car drivers onto motorcyles further reducing congestion.

Lane splitting and associated maneuvers SHOULD be legal within safety guidelines.

And getting to the front is a way to stay safe as a motorcyclist because when you are surrounded by car drivers with their horse blinkers on and a false sense of security it is safer just to get away from them. Often they ride up your ar*e and may merge onto you. On a bike you gotta maintain ALOT more buffer in front and behind from other vehicles.

And @ qbngeek who wants to switch off street lights – you are a muppet! If someone gets raped due to lowered lighting the government is liable, they will not turn off street lights! You probably drive a petrol guzzling sports SUV and you work an office job. Maybe you should get a motorcycle and then you will be saving resources and polluting less.

Like a lot of Canberrians, you see them in the morning ALONE in a 5 seater car, some of them huge gas guzzlers, probably public servants going to an office building somewhere (being the public service capital) – some of them apparently environmentally conscious but if so why don’t they buy a motorbike? Not only is it mad fun, but it is a lot cheaper on fuel and rego and emits heaps less pollution. If you are defensive it is almost as safe as driving a car, if not as safe.

I don’t know what planet you live on, but it must be close to lala land. I have driven in Sydney and Melbourne many many times, and the utopia you describe doesn’t exist.

Lane splitting is illegal for one major reason, it is nothing but dangerous. You want drivers to keep watch out for motorcyclists, but you cannot see a motorcyclist that does it until he zooms past the front of your car as the majority of the sides of your car are blindspots. You also cannot determine if and when they’re going to do it i.e. there is no way of indicating. Add in there is no determined “safe” gap in the lane to be leaving..

If motorcyclists don’t contribute to traffic, they should not have any problems sitting behind a car in the normal lane like everyone else. I find it amusing that motorcyclists who split traffic at lights to get to the front to take off at 100kph then occupy the whole lane at the next set of lights, its just an excuse to get to the front and be the “winner”. Ultimately motorcyclists who lane split and ride down emergency or bike lanes are just as impatient idiots as those drivers who speed up to beat you to the form one lane or those who think they can skip the line of traffic to force their way back in further down the road. Doing those things do not improve the traffic flow whatsoever, just slow it down later.

buzz819 said :

Wow, I never said it was all of them, just the vast majority and you add another story of their moron behavior. Good work.

Wow. All you said was the vast majority. Yet you don’t see that as massively stereo typing?

RichardWhereat said :

There are stretches along flemington which have no lights, and I’ve got to put my high beams on to be able to monitor the road ahead. This means that oncoming cars have a high beam in their face as they drive in an unlit area.

If you can see what’s in front of you with your normal lights on, then I’d suggest you get your eyes checked. Unfortunately, not every single section of road can be lit.

Driving with your high beams on at oncoming traffic? and people wonder why they are the subject of road rage.

Yawn….Can we go just 1 week without a Canberra roads/drivers/riders whinge?

As a rider for many, many years I tend to ride the same way I drive. I don’t lane split, don’t charge forward to the front of the line at lines or any of that. I think that a lot of the more mature riders ride that way. And its not that I’m a ‘boring rider’ I don’t think – I have a fairly powerful US made bike that gets me where I want to go.

But a lot of the younger riders today tend to be idiots – speed and speed alone is what they want and they will do anything to get anywhere first.

RichardWhereat said :

Here’s another simple idea to help improve road safety. Ensure that all the roads are well lit. There are stretches along flemington which have no lights, and I’ve got to put my high beams on to be able to monitor the road ahead. This means that oncoming cars have a high beam in their face as they drive in an unlit area.

If you are riding or driving with your high beams on with oncoming traffic than you breaking the law and causing more of a safety issue than the road not being lit. Ohh….and you’re a tool.

I suppose you want every metre of every road in the country lit? I would like to see fewer roads lit and the electricity saved.

RichardWhereat6:35 pm 27 May 11

Innovation said :

Unfortunately, we have all seen motorcyles riding too fast down the cycle lane (and many nearly get cleaned up when a car turns left) which gives us all a bad name.

That’s not all our fault. There are a lot of idiots who just simply don’t indicate. I keep my eyes on the road immediately ahead, road conditions far ahead, road signs (when not hidden behind trees), and cars on both sides of me. However, when they start moving into my lane without indicating, or sometimes looking to see if I’m there, shit gets dangerous.

In the NT a lot of riders had been taking to throwing a D battery at a car that almost knocks us off the road. Most drivers here are okay, in fact I don’t think it’s even hit double digits the times I’ve almost been hit by ACT drivers. But there are the idiots who just don’t signal, and they cause a lot of worries. It’s not just a ding, it’s our life.

RichardWhereat6:30 pm 27 May 11

Here’s another simple idea to help improve road safety. Ensure that all the roads are well lit. There are stretches along flemington which have no lights, and I’ve got to put my high beams on to be able to monitor the road ahead. This means that oncoming cars have a high beam in their face as they drive in an unlit area.

Also, there are stretches of road where the road is patchy, and thus dangerous to two wheels. Similarly, when they do roadwork that scrapes up the road, I’ve got to ride at 10kmph, much to the annoyance of the cars behind me, because otherwise I’d come off. The wheels get caught in the scrapings and I’m fucked.

Road conditions and Lighting are the most dangerous conditions in canberra, not other road users. I come from the northern territory where the drivers are absolute c**ts who don’t tend to maintain their cars, thus ensuring that there’s oil all over the road. Okay for 4 wheels, not for 2. But down here, the drivers are much more polite. I’m even able to lie back and have a rest on my scooter while I wait for the light to go green.

PLEASE fix the roads, and provide better lights.

I am a motorcycle rider, cyclist and driver. I feel that lane splitting should be allowed if one foot is on the ground at all times (ie to force the rider to walk the bike through spaces at a slow speed). The problem though is that some riders can’t judge when there is sufficient space and/or ride too quickly through any gaps. They scratch cars, don’t allow for opening car doors or pedestrians crossing around stationary vehicles and generally give all riders a bad name.

Personally, I feel that motorcycles should be allowed to use on road cycle lanes subject to a speed limit. This would allow motorcyles to get to the front of the queue without lane splitting and would resolve a huge anomaly between unregistered electric bikes and small motorcycles. I have previously suggested this on RA with a limit of 30 to 40km/h (ie consistent with the speed of commuter pushbikes) but even 20km/h for bikes under 300cc would be a reasonable test. I have suggested this change to Stanhope (and in my case there was a genuine reason for riding slowly) but the last response again refused to change the rules but pointed out that I could still ride in the transit lanes (I can just imagine everyone’s faces behind me if I sat on 30km/h in the transit lane!).

Unfortunately, we have all seen motorcyles riding too fast down the cycle lane (and many nearly get cleaned up when a car turns left) which gives us all a bad name. If there were more bikes in the cycle lane, it would help raise driver awareness and discourage dangerous cyclist and motorcycle behaviour (eg cyclists running red lights).

(Incidentally, last week I saw a cyclist stopped in the cycle lane on Northbourne at the entrance to Morphett on their mobile phone. Cars were having to drive around the cyclist to turn left and there was nearly a pile up when the cyclist suddenly hung up and took off without looking).

p1 said :

buzz819 said :

Blah Blah Blah bikes are evil…

While it is true that some dickheads people ruin it for everyone else, the same is true for cars, trucks and people who post on the internets.

buzz819 said :

You tell me why, when this behavior is so abundant in Canberra, why they should be given more laws when they can’t follow the simple ones?

Don’t think of this as bikes being given more laws (or more advantageous laws, which I think might be what you meant), but rather think about the opportunities to have better laws for everybody. I would be pretty interested in a study of the safety aspects of allowing motorcycles to legally ride in on road cycle paths. Although sadly, OP, I can’t see the status quo changing much soon.

[off topic: this afternoon while doing 80 in the left lane on Hindmarsh Dr, a fat man on a Gixxer passed me slowly (probably on the speed limit – within error of speedo), indicated, and neatly changed lanes so he was riding in the left. Then he accelerated hard, popped it up on the back wheel and blasted away up the road…..]

Wow, I never said it was all of them, just the vast majority and you add another story of their moron behavior. Good work.

Non-motorcyclists often view motorcyclists as ‘all the same’, much like people view truck drivers and taxi drivers as the worst drivers on the road. Lane-splitting simply reinforces this opinion as many motorcyclists do it badly. It doesn’t help than currently there are huge numbers of inexperienced motorcyclists on the roads now due to rising fuel prices.

I am a motorcyclist and have ridden in both canberra and melbourne. I think lane splitting (as in riding constantly between lanes between two vehicles) is very unsafe for the vast majority of riders regardless of city not because they cant do a straight line, but because many cars and bikers are unpredictable on the road. Lane splitting makes the biker the most unpredictable factor on the road, and therefore I think will more likely lead to an accident. and a motorcyclist will come off worse in almost any collision with a car… talented riders can often lanesplit with skill and can judge situations better but that wont change having some daft driver thinking ‘oh damn i need to change lanes’ at the last second, move 6 inches and scrape your bike. And with so many untalented riders around it means drivers cant tell whether a talented biker is trying to lanesplit or a silly leaner is.

In Melbourne I find it hard to safely lane split, however lane filtering (as it going between cars to get to the front of the lights to take advantage of superior acceleration) works quite well, but as the cars are essentially slowing or stopped the risk is much lower than splitting.

I have been riding in Melbourne for over a year and I am yet to have a car just give me the space so I can lanesplit. I have, however, been cut off dozens of times while changing lanes in both cities. I think the key difference between Canberra and Melbourne is the sheer volume of traffic, and Melbourne drivers are slightly more aware of all traffic around them, not just motorbikes, which makes it slightly easier to lanesplit in some circumstances.

buzz819 said :

Blah Blah Blah bikes are evil…

While it is true that some dickheads people ruin it for everyone else, the same is true for cars, trucks and people who post on the internets.

buzz819 said :

You tell me why, when this behavior is so abundant in Canberra, why they should be given more laws when they can’t follow the simple ones?

Don’t think of this as bikes being given more laws (or more advantageous laws, which I think might be what you meant), but rather think about the opportunities to have better laws for everybody. I would be pretty interested in a study of the safety aspects of allowing motorcycles to legally ride in on road cycle paths. Although sadly, OP, I can’t see the status quo changing much soon.

[off topic: this afternoon while doing 80 in the left lane on Hindmarsh Dr, a fat man on a Gixxer passed me slowly (probably on the speed limit – within error of speedo), indicated, and neatly changed lanes so he was riding in the left. Then he accelerated hard, popped it up on the back wheel and blasted away up the road…..]

Yeah, no.

Unfortunately for you, a number of motorcycle riders in Canberra are wankers.

I saw a bike today in Civic. They were at the intersection near Koko black attempting to enter Bunda st turning left. They had only just left the parking bay, so hadn’t really been waiting for more then 3 maybe 4 seconds.

A truck stopped to let pedestrians across the crossing, now, instead of waiting his turn, the motorcycle rode up between the smallest gap between the truck AND the gutter and straight across the crossing.

This rider nearly hit three pedestrians on the crossing as it could not see past the truck. You tell me why, when this behavior is so abundant in Canberra, why they should be given more laws when they can’t follow the simple ones?

He failed to give way, he failed to stop at a crossing.

About a week ago, there was a motorcycle riding down the bicycle lane, it had to swerve back into Traffic around bicycle in the lane.

So there is two accounts of wankish motorcycle behavior in two weeks. I know it’s not all of them, but it is a large number of them.

Ohhh, I got there rego’s and provided statement’s to the Police.

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