Dash-cam footage of a car appearing to attempt to sideswipe a motorcycle rider who was lane filtering on the Majura Parkway has raised the ire of motorcycle groups, police and the ACT Road Safety Minister.
ACT Policing launched an investigation into the incident when they became aware of it last Friday (November 2) after the footage was earlier posted on the Canberra Drivers Facebook site.
Since being posted mid last week, the footage (shared below) has been viewed around 270,000 times and sparked a barrage of comments, primarily from incensed motorcyclists concerned that the rider could have been seriously injured.
A statement posted with the dash-cam footage says: “The driver did this to two bikes. Lots of laughing by car occupants afterwards. The passenger was looking into side mirror for bikes passing.”
“Motorcycle riders are vulnerable road users — not target practice for incompetent, dangerous motorists behind the wheel of a lethal object,” commented the Motorcycle Council of NSW on the Facebook post.
“This type of action is what injures bike riders and this guy driving and passenger should be charged,” commented a motorcycle rider.
“This guy needs to be off our roads – that rider could have lost a leg,” commented someone else.
“That’s disgusting what that driver tried to do. Even at low speeds that motorcyclist could have been seriously injured,” wrote someone else.
“He should be at least charged with driving in a manner dangerous to other road users,” commented another person.
Motorcycle lane filtering is legal in the ACT with a trial beginning in February 2015 and ACT Roads Minister Shane Rattenbury announcing early last month that it was “now in place permanently throughout the ACT”.
Under the ACT’s lane filtering laws, motorcyclists are allowed to travel between stationary or slow moving vehicles, to reach the front of the traffic queue. The aim is to allow motorcyclists to move quickly and safely away from congested areas of traffic.
In response to the dash-cam footage, Mr Rattenbury told Region Media that safety is paramount on ACT roads and “irresponsible behaviour – especially towards motorcyclists or other vulnerable road users – is just not on”.
“I urge all Canberrans to call out dangerous behaviour, and report it to police when they see it, particularly if they have dash-cam footage,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“Motorcyclists are allowed to lane filter in the ACT and drivers need to be aware of this.
“Despite a greater awareness of the need to protect vulnerable road users, in 2016 there were three motorcyclists killed on our roads, and 33 admitted to hospital, representing around one-third of the overall road toll for the ACT,” he said.
“The ACT Government is committed to a Vision Zero view of road safety. It’s quite simple: this means that no loss of life on our roads is acceptable.”
His thoughts are echoed by Kane Piper of Canberra Motorcycle Centre who told Region Media that all road users need to have the shared goal of getting home safely.
“Lane filtering is legal, we get it may seem like cheating, however ultimately it helps with traffic congestion,” he said.
“We also want to remind drivers, motorcyclists are vulnerable road users, we are someone’s dad, mum, brother, best mate etc.
“We encourage road users to be safe, regardless of the mode of transport they use.”
The ACT Government’s decision to allow lane filtering long-term in the ACT was made after an independent evaluation of the trial period which found that a majority of Canberra drivers (69 per cent of respondents) support motorcycle lane filtering as a road safety measure.
There are a number of conditions in terms of when a motorcycle rider can lane filter. For example, it is a condition that motorcyclists do not filter at a speed greater than 30km/h, or in school zones, kerbside or in a bicycle lane, and only if it is safe to do so.
In announcing last month that lane filtering would be allowed permanently, Mr Rattenbury said that an additional condition had been added, with lane filtering now not permitted in any 40km/h zone.
This includes roadworks, school zones and city centres. Learner and provisional riders are also not permitted to lane filter.
“Drivers should always be aware and cautious of motorcyclists, whether they are lane filtering or otherwise,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“Expect them to be on the roads, and be aware that they are smaller and sometimes move differently than other motor vehicles.”