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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There was an accident on the Sydney Harbour Bridge this morning that caused major traffic delays. I pretty much lane filtered the whole way to work (Balmain to North Sydney).

All the 'crazies' were out. I brushed one driver's side mirror because the driver in the other lane was wandering in his lane (probably tweeting #sydneytraffic #FML). I had one near-miss where a driver almost took me out (he suddenly changed lanes without checking or indicating to run a traffic light). And there were a few times where I entered a safe filtering space and suddenly found myself with NO room for error.

So I've been thinking about lane filtering:

  • Filtering makes us more accident prone due to the close proximity that we place ourselves in to other cars.
  • Drivers fail to notice us at the best of times. They're even less likely to see us when we're riding between lanes in slow / stopped traffic.
  • When traffic stops or slows down to lane filtering speeds - Drivers are more likely to change lanes erratically, more likely to get distracted (adjust their radio, check their phone etc) and more likely to wander in their lanes shutting down the safe space that we're filtering in.

Now, in the event of an accident when lane filtering - who is at fault?

Unless we're able to prove that the driver was driving dangerously, changing lanes erratically, using their phone etc we're probably gonna cop it! Is it worth it?

I think I'll be picking my lane filtering opportunities more carefully now. Have you guys got any stories to share or thoughts on this?

Thanks!
Craig
 

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I don't know about legally but personally I feel that if a motorcyclist is lane splitting any accident would be their fault. Unless you are in a place that it is legal and is a drivers responsibility to be aware. Then it gets more grey.

Having said that I still do it regularly if there are traffic problems. I know it's risky but I don't fly by. I am usually in second gear pretty low rpms and have had cars change lanes right in front of me with no issues.
 

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If your laws ar anything like ours (which they probably are) lane filtering is not legal, but there are ways around it. Best way is to overtake traffic, ie passing to the right of the traffic while staying on your lane, as undertaking here is illegal.
 

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Thought it was illegal to do it unless the traffic has stopped?
 

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Ok let me give California's insight.

There is a huge misconception in California regarding lane splitting. A lot of people say Lane Splitting is Legal. This is untrue. It's not that lane splitting is legal, it's that lane slitting is NOT ILLEGAL. Meaning that nowhere in the California VC (Vehicle Code) is there ANY sections that govern how and where or even how fast lane splitting can be done at and there is no section prohibiting it. So when you hear somebody say that you have to lane split at a certain speed, only at a road with 4 lanes, only in the left lane of a highway, they are full of shit and don't know what they are talking about. THERE ARE NO LAWS GOVERNING LANE SPLITTING AND NO LAWS PROHIBITING IT. THERE IS NO WORDING ANYWHERE IN THE CALIFORNIA VEHICLE CODE. CHPs press release on how they recommend lane splitting be done was just that, a recomendation. And somebody successfully sued CHP and won the ruling and those recomendations were taken down SINCE THERE ARE NO LAWS REGARDING SPLITTIMG.

So when a cop writes a ticket for a lane splitting "violation", he has to resort to other sections in the vehicle code that apply to ALL motor vehicles. violations such as:

Wreckless or careless driving (this would cover splitting at unsafe speeds)
Exhibition of speed (revving between cars, even wheelies between cars)
Unsafe passing (this section covers situations where all motor vehicles cannot pass in certain circumstances, is not anything specific to motorcycles and it is actually does not apply to many situations so is rarely used. This covers things like not making passes 100 feet before railroad crosses, not necessarily unsafe passing on a highway)
Passing on the shoulder (illegal for any car to cross the white line shoulder to pass(which includes splitting on the white line))
Passing over the double yellow. (Illegal for any motor vehicle to cross a double yellow to pass (which includes splitting on the double yellow))

A lot of guys receive tickets from CHP (who can even be grossly misinformed themselves) and are written for an incorrect section such as unsafe passing and can very easily fight the ticket.

Now to find fault in a motor vehicle accident, one of these violations would have had to occurred. For example, if traffic is not moving and a motorcycle is splitting at 50 mph, that clearly falls under wreckless driving. So if the motorcycle clips a car, he's at fault.

Another example, if motorcycle is passing on the shoulder or even splitting on the white line and clips a car that moves over to stop on the shoulder, he's at fault since passing in the shoulder for any motor vehicle is illegal.

However, if he is deemed to be splitting lanes safely at a safe speed and not otherwise violating traffic laws, and he hits a car that makes a sudden lane change, most of the time the car will be at fault because there may be sections in the vehicle code that require cars to take certain actions such as: a turn signal to be on for 3 seconds before a lane change is done or the vehicle didn't use his turn signal at all which would also be a failure to yield violation or failure to signal violation. But then again in the same scenario, if the motorcycle skid marks start 100 feet back and the bike rear ends the car as opposed to getting clipped on the side, even with a sudden non signaled lane change, it's clearly the motorcycle was driving wreckless and would be found at least partly at fault.

So essentially when figuring out fault in motor vehicle accidents, cops need to assess what vehicle committed what traffic violations and which one of those contributed directly or even partially to the accident.

This is very hard to explain and I didn't want to take the time to look up exact vehicle codes but hope my point makes sense. A lot of you guys have been in accidents, pull out your police reports and read the officers narratives of how they determine and describe fault.
 

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A few things I've learned over the years...

1) Always leave yourself an out
2) Always leave yourself an out
3) Always leave yourself an out

If you leave yourself an out, you're good. If you don't, then it's your fault IMO as well, you know, you should have left yourself an out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for your responses everyone!

To make it clear - I'm strictly talking about Lane "Filtering". Not Lane "Splitting". Lane "Filtering" is legal in New South Wales and the NSW government are very explicit about what that means:

Lane filtering is when a motorcycle rider moves alongside vehicles that have either stopped or are moving slowly (less than 30 km/h).

There are lots of rules that apply (here are a few):

  • Motorcyclists must only lane filter when travelling less than 30 km/h
  • Motorcyclists caught moving between traffic at over 30km/h face heavy fines and demerit points under a new offence called "lane splitting"
  • It is illegal for motorcyclists to lane filter:
    • next to the kerb
    • next to parked vehicles
    • in school zones

But even if we obey the rules - drivers are still careless, erratic and easily distracted. My new mission is to:

Always leave yourself an out"
Sound advice 40acres!

Cheers,
Craig
 

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Ok so, lane filtering/splitting is not legal in most states in the US. I now see the benefit of it for sure and not just for motorcycles but for cagers too.

I split lanes for the first time a little over a week ago and it scared the shit out of me (I do live in Texas). 4 lane interstate was down to 1 lane. The back up was at least 1.5 miles long. I very slowly (less than 20 mph) filtered through cars make sure not to look like the stereotypical sportbiker. To reiterate 40Acres words of wisdom, I was constantly looking for an out and it went just fine for me.

Be safe out there and use some common sense!
 

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There are lots of rules that apply (here are a few):

  • Motorcyclists must only lane filter when travelling less than 30 km/h
  • Motorcyclists caught moving between traffic at over 30km/h face heavy fines and demerit points under a new offence called "lane splitting"
  • It is illegal for motorcyclists to lane filter:
    • next to the kerb
    • next to parked vehicles
    • in school zones

But even if we obey the rules - drivers are still careless, erratic and easily distracted. My new mission is to:



Sound advice 40acres!

Cheers,
Craig
In that case it makes it a little easier. If a motorcyclist rear ends someone directly in the rear then the motorcyclist is at fault because they obviously were going faster than 30 kph or they would have stopped before hitting the car.

If a motorcyclist hits the side or quarter panel of a vehicle then the vehicle is at fault because they were not aware and changed lanes into the cyclist.

That would be my opinion of the easiest way to determine fault with those rules.
 

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Ok so, lane filtering/splitting is not legal in most states in the US. I now see the benefit of it for sure and not just for motorcycles but for cagers too.

I split lanes for the first time a little over a week ago and it scared the shit out of me (I do live in Texas). 4 lane interstate was down to 1 lane. The back up was at least 1.5 miles long. I very slowly (less than 20 mph) filtered through cars make sure not to look like the stereotypical sportbiker. To reiterate 40Acres words of wisdom, I was constantly looking for an out and it went just fine for me.

Be safe out there and use some common sense!
LOL, welcome to our insane traffic. What part of Texas are you in?
 
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