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I was having a discussion with someone from the US a week ago and I he informed me that filtering in traffic is a big no-no there.
I am curious as to how well filtering was recieved in other parts of the world???
It is something that on the road i tend to take for granted, learning to ride in London and using the M25 every day went someway to engrave that in me
In the UK it is accepted, as long as you dont overdo it. Altho in the more rural parts I have been pulled over.
In the Netherlands it is accepted but there are some rules.
Don't use the emergency areas on the side of the road and the speed difference should not be to big (I don't know how big but there is a rule.) There are some more rules but I don't exactly know. Using common-sense will help.
I think what you refer to as filtering is called lane splitting in North American English. The acceptability of this motorcycling practice of moving ahead in slow or stalled traffic seems to depend on the jurisdiction one finds oneself in. In California and some other regions it is accepted practice but there are also regions wherer it is not permitted. Here in Ontario I don't know its legality but I do move ahead of the stallled traffic around Toronto using either the side area or down one of the lane lines .However I make sure to keep an eye out for patrol cars far ahead and then get back in line .It is generally bad practice anywhere to try this technique when traffic is stallled around an accident scene and police are having enough trouble getting traffic flowing again.
I read in MCN recently the UK Courts did not hold filtering against a rider who was involved in an accident and damage claim that arose when he was filtering. I think a pedestrian walked through the cars into his path without looking as all cars were stationary. That gives filtering some sort of non-Liability precedent of acceptability.
Filtering is not illegal in UK 'per se' but should be untertaken with care, coinsideration and attention so as to avoid Reckless or Careless riding charges. Oh how much simpler and safer to allow bikes in ALL bus lanes!
I once saw a TV item that said filtering was not allowed in Switzerland, but all 2wheelers were doing it (therefore including me!) in Geneva last week.
Some years ago I was travelling to Pisik, in the Czech republic on a public holiday so the roads were fairly solid. Like you Mike, I learned my trade around London, so I was filtering happily past the stationery cars. I was a bit surprised by the number of local bikes sitting in the queues, but didn't think too much about it. The only other bike I saw filtering was a Dutch registered 'wing (not you Jan?).
On arrival I was speaking to some Germans attending the same event, and I was shocked and embarrassed to find I had been breaking the law. I may not have been law abiding had I known, but I do prefer to know if I'm breaking the law; that way I know if I should take extra care near police cars. Whether I filtered on the return jouney is a matter between me and my conscience (the little cricket that sat on my shoulder until I got irritated by his constant chirping and squashed him).
Do any of the motoring organisations produce a guide to road laws that would include details of which countries do or don't allow filtering?
That trip was the first journey I undertook with the present Mrs MarkE. When she fell asleep on the back near Frankfurt I knew she was OK.
I made a trip between London and Tyneside a few years ago and was pulled over on my return trip for 'undertaking'. After a long discussion i was led on my way. Apparently i broke the law because i crossed the white lane marker when filtering, which then it becomes undertaking. You can stay clear of the law by staying in the same lane closer to the car you passing ?!?! It is too subjective to what each officer of the law's opinion is. But i rarther that than to have everything cut and dry as i dont think i would be able to filter anywhere near as much as i do now
*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
The legal "Lane Splitting" in California and "Filtering" in Europe are two different styles. In California the law was written so that air cooled motorcycles (in this case, Harleys) would not overheat and seize up on a stalled freeway in the Los Angeles heat. The law allows a motorcycle to go between stopped, or nearly stopped, cars at no more than 10 mph over the car speed. I have seen motorcycles lane splitting at over 60 mph in LA but that is not legal.
Moving up to the head of the line at a stop sign or light is not commonly done in the USA. We have seen this to be common in parts of Europe but in the USA moving up is seen as an unfair advantage and can anger car drivers. I have seen cars in the USA move over to block the space and prevent a motorcycle (us) from moving up. We have seen cars in Europe move over to give a motorcycle (us again) more room to get by. Two different cultures and two different styles.
In Australia 'filtering' generally refers to zigzagging from lane to lane at legal speed through queues of cars travelling at less than legal speed. The bike does not go between cars as such, and hence is not technically illegal (although cops can, of course, call it a variety of other things). The indicators must be used at each 'zig'.
'Lane-splitting' is riding between cars and is legal in some places (eg Victoria - if the cars are stopped) and not others (eg NSW). Two moving vehicles in the same lane (including bikes) is illegal everywhere as far as I am aware.
Overtaking on the curb side of cars is always illegal (everywhere as far as I know).
I think it's fair to say car-drivers are fairly indifferent to either practice in Australia. Bikes barely exist ("oh, I didn't see you...").
I know in Thailand that lane-splitting bikes actually have right-of-way - the car driver, for example, is liable if he/she opens their door when parked and collects a bike screaming up the inside. Don't ask me how I know...
Next time i will think twice about taking my GS on the "Boulevard Périphérique" !!!
Last year I visited Paris and reached the Périphérique at 17:00 First day riding on the right so I was riding like an old woman, letting any motorcycle that caught me pass as soon as I could find a gap. One of the machines that passed me was a scooter ridden by a mature lady in a tweed skirt and thick tights. As she passed, as all French motards do, she shook her right leg at me. I've seen this a million times, but she could have been my MOTHER! The shock nearly put me on my backside.
On Friday (25 May) I was returning from a business trip to the Netherlands and the M25 was typical for the last Friday before a holiday; absolutely solid. The Europeans on their way to the TT or where ever were doing OK but I guess a slim sportsbike is easier than my Pan European, but I'd love to know what they thought of the typically British habit of moving over to block filtering motorcycles. One guy moved so far over I just went round the right side (at the same time as an R1 went past on his left - the car driver seemed surprised). Has anyone else noticd this anywhere else? My own observation suggests it's an ego thing because I seem to get more problems with smallest, base model flash cars (3 series BMW and C class Mecedes, usually dechromed so I can't be sure they are the smallest engine option), and very old models of the bigger cars (7 series and S class, often on vanity plates to disguise the age, although the rust is often a hint).
Nice post! I love that leg waving thing in France and the fact that the car drivers almost always move over to let you overtake or filter; I am always aware of the drivers watching me approaching in their mirrors and making their own move early and very clearly. In fact it is the Brit tourists in among this lot who cause the problems in my experience. I also like the way that most of them seem to "enjoy" watching your progress as you overtake the car - does everyone in France do a bike licence before taking a car licence I wonder? Anyway, it is one of the reasons that I like riding in France.
In contrast, I have a lasting memory of an oldish BMW car (7 series perhaps?) that I came upon while riding some twisties here in the UK on a moderately sporty bike (OK, it was a VTR Firestorm).
The point is that the yoiks in the back of the car were obviously unhappy that their transport was being followed with the aim of overtaking - We all try to be clear about that don't we?
As I took off up the road I vividly recall seeing in my own mirrors this car sliding across the road on it's next bend as the driver went into "pursuit mode" on suspension that was way past it's best. My riding mate who had hung back from all of this in order to watch the proceedings (and then got them on the next passing moment) could not stop laughing for the rest of that day.
What is it about BMW car drivers?
The thread; I can't see anything wrong with moving up to the head of a queue ("the line" for the US guys) when all of the traffic is absolutely at a standstill - I do it all the time, filter, undertake, overtake whatever it takes to make progress and keep my bike spaced out from other traffic. Isn't that one of the features and advantages of riding a bike - I use the cycleways area marked out at the traffic lights as well, so as to be well clear of the cars, trucks etc - it is a safety feature so far as I am concerned - now well established (according to some recent news reports) that cyclists in London are dying under the rear wheels of heavy goods vehicles because the cyclists don't seem to realise the turning circles of those things!!
For more general filtering, yes I will do that as well when the traffic is bad but it depends if I can see some "reason" to do so; what progress will I make overall basically - so, it usually comes down to very heavy, crawling traffic whereby I may be doing about 4-10 MPH than the adjacent traffic. When doing this I deliberately weave a lot so that the brain-deads in the cars plugged into their MP3s and the rest of their stuff can see my headlight apparently flashing a lot!!
Rules/laws were made for the guidance of wise men and the blind obedience of fools.
Your observations of car types match my own conclusions after years of in and out of London by bike.
A few drivers clearly deliberately block a bike but I think the majority that do it are unaware, or simply too full of their own importance, or are otherwise distracted, to actually notice they are drifting about their own, and other, lanes.
They are just like driving mobile phone users which us bikers can spot several cars ahead by their erratic path or raised elbow out of the window. I must say, frightening though it seems, the Builders Merchants and Skip delivery truck drivers generally manage this multi-tasking far better! Maybe they are bikers when not at work.
Not only do I regularly see drivers on the phone, talking or composing SMSs, reading maps, books, correspondance, but, amazingly, sometimes even 'working' on their LapTop (Notebook) computers - while driving along at reasaonable speeds !
I get sorely tempted to take photos and send them to the Police but I would probably get prosecuted for not paying attention to my own riding - such is life.
Just smirk to yourself, knowing that you will be at your destination ages before them.
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