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Disclaimer: This information is general in nature only. While Budget Direct has endeavoured to ensure the information we’ve relied on is accurate and current, we do not guarantee it. Budget Direct accepts no liability for this information.

Lane filtering is the process of a motorcycle rider moving past stationary or slow-moving vehicles safely at a speed of 30km/h or less.

Lane filtering is legal in most Australian states and territories, however, the rules around it may differ.

On the other hand lane splitting, is where a motorcycle rider moves past vehicles at an unsafe speed of more than 30km/h. Although lane splitting is illegal in some states, it’s safest to assume that lane splitting is illegal across all states.

When can you lane filter?

Consider the following conditions to minimise safety risks when lane filtering:

  • Only when it’s safe to do so
  • Only when you’re driving at a speed of 30km/h or less
  • Only allowed by fully licensed riders (i.e. riders on their L or P plates will not be allowed to lane filter)
  • Not allowed in a school zone during school zone hours
  • Not allowed next to the kerb or parked vehicles.

Lane filtering rules by state

Lane filtering is legal across Australia as long as you’re driving at 30km/h or less and it’s safe to do so, but rules can still vary from state to state.  

New South Wales

In New South Wales lane filtering is not allowed if [1]:

  • You’re next to the kerb
  • You’re next to parked vehicles
  • You’re in school zones
  • It isn’t safe

In New South Wales motorcyclists caught lane splitting face heavy fine and three demerit points.

Victoria

In Victoria lane filtering is not allowed if [2]:

  • You’re riding at a speeding that exceeds 30km/h while filtering
  • You’re a learner or provisional licence holder
  • It isn’t safe

A motorcycle rider is not allowed to lane filter around heavy vehicles and buses and should always look out for pedestrians and cyclists.

In Victoria there are penalties for exceeding 30km/h while filtering.

Queensland

In Queensland lane filtering is not allowed if [3]:

  • You’re at a speed of more than 30km/h
  • You’re in school zones during school zone hours
  • You’re a learner or provisional licence holder
  • A “no filtering” sign applies to the length of the road
  • It isn’t safe

A motorcycle rider is not allowed to lane filter in a bicycle lane or next to the kerb.

Western Australia

In Western Australia lane filtering is not allowed if [4]:

  • You’re approaching or riding on a children’s or pedestrian crossing
  • You’re in a school zone or shared zone
  • You’re between one or more heavy vehicles
  • The vehicles the rider is riding between are merging
  • You’re trying to overtake another vehicle
  • You’re in a roundabout
  • You’re in or next to a bicycle lane, bus lane or other special purposes
  • You’re next to the kerb or edge of the road, or alongside parked cars
  • It’s unsafe to lane filter

In WA lane splitting is illegal.

South Australia

In South Australia lane filtering is not allowed if [5]:

  • You’re riding at speeds of more than 30km/h
  • You’re in a school zone, across pedestrian and children’s crossings
  • You’re next to parked cars, between vehicles and the edge of the road or on roundabouts
  • You’re in a bicycle or tram lane
  • You’re a person with a P1 Provisional or Learner’s permit

Moped riders with a car licence must not lane filter.

The penalty in SA for unlawful lane filtering is an expiation fee and 3 demerit points.

Tasmania

In Tasmania lane filtering is not allowed if [6]:

  • You’re riding at speeds greater than 30km/h
  • You’re in a school zone during school zone hours
  • You’re between the edge of the road and other vehicles

You’re next to parked cars

Australian Capital Territory

In the Australian Capital Territory lane filtering is not allowed if [7]:

  • You’re driving at a speed greater than 30km/h
  • You’re on the kerbside next to a footpath or in bicycle lanes or breakdown lanes
  • You’re riding in any 40km/h zones (school zones, roadworks, and city centres)
  • You’re riding past heavy vehicles and buses
  • You’re a learner or provisional licence holder

In the ACT lane splitting is not permitted.

Northern Territory

In the Northern Territory lane filtering is not allowed if [8]:

  • You’re travelling at speeds greater than 30km/h
  • You’re on your learners or provisional licence
  • You’re in school zones during school hours
  • You’re next to the kerb or parked vehicles

Sources

[1] Transport for NSW, 2018, Lane filtering

[2] Vic roads, 2021, Motorcycle filtering

[3] Queensland Government, 2019, Motorcycle road rules

[4] Road Safety Commission, 2021, Motorcyclists

[5] My Licence, 2021, Motor Bike Lane Filtering

[6] Road Safety Advisory Council, 2020, Lane filtering

[7] Justice and Community Safety Directorate, 2021, ACT Motorcycle Lane Filtering

[8] Road Safety NT, 2017, Motorcycle lane filtering