Saving Lives Together

Motorcyclists

Motorcycle riders are among our most vulnerable road users. Western Australia’s motorcycle lane filtering legislation (Road Traffic Code 2000 r.130A) has been designed with the safety of motorcycle riders and all other road users in mind. The following Frequently Asked Questions explain how to lane filter safely on WA roads. A penalty of $100 and 2 demerit points apply to riders who do not follow the rules.

Lane filtering FAQs

What is lane filtering?
Lane filtering is a manoeuvre where a motorcycle rider travels at low speed – no more than 30 km/h – between two lanes of stationary or slow-moving vehicles travelling in the same direction. Riding between lanes of traffic at more than 30 km/h is illegal.
 
Can lane filtering motorcyclists ride on continuous lines?
Yes. Motorcycle riders can ride on and over continuous white lines separating lanes of traffic moving in the same direction while lane filtering. This will allow them to ride between lanes to stop at the front of the intersection where it is safe to do so.
Why aren’t lane filtering motorcyclists allowed to travel at more than 30 km/h?
Riding between lanes at more than 30 km/h increases the crash risk for the motorcyclist and other road users. Limiting lane filtering speeds to 30 km/h and below is consistent with the approach for safe riding throughout Australia.
What about pedestrian safety?
Pedestrians may try to cross the road when there are stationary or slow moving vehicles, and may not expect lane filtering motorcycles. To minimise the risk of harm to pedestrians, lane filtering is not allowed between a line of traffic and the kerb. Lane filtering is also prohibited next to the edge of the road or parked cars.

To ensure pedestrian safety, motorcyclists are also prohibited from lane filtering at more than 30 km/h. This is because the relationship between speed and injury severity is particularly critical for pedestrians. For instance, pedestrians have a 90% chance of survival when struck by a vehicle travelling at 30 km/h or below, but less than a 50% chance of surviving a collision at 45 km/h.
Where is lane filtering prohibited?
Lane filtering is a complex and potentially risky manoeuvre which should only be conducted in low risk traffic situations. For safety reasons, lane filtering is prohibited where –
  • the rider is approaching or riding on a children’s crossing, marked foot crossing or pedestrian crossing;
  • the rider is in a school zone or shared zone;
  • the applicable speed limit is 40 km/h or below;
  • the rider is between one or more heavy vehicles;
  • the vehicles the rider is riding between are merging;
  • no overtaking is allowed;
  • the rider is in a roundabout;
  • the rider is riding in or next to a bicycle lane, bus lane or other special purpose lane;
  • the rider is next to the kerb or edge of the road, or alongside parked cars;
  • it is unsafe in the circumstances to lane filter.
Why can’t motorcyclists lane filter in areas where the speed limit is 40 km/h or below?
Roads are speed limited to 40 km/h and below where there are high levels of pedestrian activity (eg near shops and cafes) and where particular care needs to be taken (eg at roadworks, school zones, shared zones, pedestrian priority zones, and where there is a stationary emergency vehicle with flashing lights). In the interests of safety, lane filtering is prohibited in such areas.
Why can’t motorcyclists lane filter in roundabouts?
Motorcyclists are already overrepresented in serious and fatal crashes at roundabouts. Allowing motorcyclists to lane filter in roundabouts will increase the risk of a crash.
Why can’t motorcyclists lane filter beside heavy vehicles?
Heavy vehicles have large blind spots, and their drivers often have difficulty spotting motorcyclists. This makes it unsafe to ride between one or more heavy vehicles.
What is a heavy vehicle?
A heavy vehicle is a vehicle, other than a bus, which has (together with any attached trailers and loads) a GCM of 22.5t or more. For example, heavy vehicles include semi-trailers, road trains, etc.
Are motorcyclists riding under a learner permit allowed to lane filter?
No. Lane filtering requires a high level of riding ability, road awareness and hazard perception, and is difficult for inexperienced riders to do safely.
Are all motorcycles allowed to lane filter?
No. Motorcycles with a sidecar and motorcycles with three wheels are not allowed to lane filter.
Do the lane filtering laws apply to cyclists?
No. Lane filtering laws apply to riders of motorcycles only. For rules and penalties that apply to cyclists, please visit the cyclist rules and penalties page.
Most rules that apply to motor vehicle drivers also apply to motorcyclists. 

However, some rules are specific to motorcyclists.
OffencePenaltyDemerits
Riders and pillion passengers  
failing to wear an approved helmet$5504
Motorcycle riders  
failing to sit astride the seat, facing forwards$1003
failing to ride with at least one hand on the handlebars$1003
failing to keep both feet on footrests designed for the driver$1003
Passengers on 2-wheeled motorcycles  
ride on a road with more than one passenger$100 
riding a motorcycle with a passenger who has not attained 8 years of age$100 
Trikes and sidecars riders  
ride with more passengers than a sidecar or passenger seat is designed to carry$1003
ride on a road with a passenger seated unsafely$1003
ride on a road with a passenger who has not attained 8 years of age, unless that passenger is in a sidecar$1003
Passengers on trikes and sidecars riders  
ride in a sidecar seated unsafely$100 
Animals on motorcycles  
riding a motorcycle with an animal between the rider and the handlebars$1001

Animals on motorcycles

The rider of a motorcycle shall not ride with an animal on the part of the motorcycle between the rider and the handlebars.

However, this does not apply to a person who rides with an animal on a motorcycle for a distance of not more than 500 metres on a road for the purposes of a farming activity that the person is carrying out, provided it is safe to do so.

The information available on our website provides a simple interpretation of the law and is not intended to constitute legal advice. Full details of traffic offences and penalties are contained in the Road Traffic Code 2000.