When in a line of stopped or moving traffic, what should you do? When in a line of stopped or moving traffic, what should you do?

  • A. Ride past the traffic on the left

  • B. Ride past the traffic on the right

  • C. Stay in the centre-right of your lane (following the flow of traffic, in the right-hand tyre tracks of the vehicle ahead)

  • D. Stay to the far right of your lane

  • E. Stay to the far left of your lane

    The correct answer is C
    Correct. Protect your lane position from other vehicles and be as visible as possible. If the moving traffic has to move right, e.g. riding past a row of parked cars, you will move right, too. If traffic stops, stop far enough back that you can ride around the vehicle in front if the vehicle behind you can't stop.

Lane splitting or filtering

While you might see other riders lane splitting or 'filtering' this is not a technique that you should use until you are experienced. Lane splitting is where you can ride between vehicles that are moving slowly or are stationary.

A motorcycle may overtake a vehicle on the right within the same lane if it is safe to do so. The traffic must be stationary or slow-moving and the way ahead must be clear. A motorcycle may overtake a vehicle on the left only if that vehicle is stationary or if it is turning right. It must not overtake on the left if the vehicle is turning left.

Therefore when traffic is stationary at the lights you can lane split on either side; if traffic is moving slowly on the motorway then you must only lane split to the right of a lane. Stick within 20kph or so of the speed of the other traffic otherwise you will likely be stopped and charged with careless driving or dangerous driving, both which carry a substantial fine.

You must not ride down the extreme right of the motorway outside the line. Also you must not ride in the hard shoulder unless it's a transit lane.

Remember that as a motorcyclist you can use bus lanes where indicated, and these are likely to be safer than lane splitting because there will be a bigger margin.

Avoid lane splitting when there are strong crosswinds because you will be constantly in and out of different vehicle's wind shadows which could cause you to wobble.

Avoid lane splitting with a heavy vehicle at they are a good half a metre wider (at least) in the lane than a car.

In the wet, heavy spray can obscure you when you are lane splitting, so it's not a good idea.

Be careful when filtering through traffic that is stationary at traffic lights because pedestrians could be walking between cars.

Waiting in a queue of traffic

When waiting in a queue of traffic position your bike so that, if needed, you can ride around the vehicle in front. This situation might occur if you notice a vehicle in your rear view mirrors that looks like it's not going to stop. In this case it's better that you get out of the way and let that vehicle hit the vehicle in front of you. This means that you might want to position your bike in the right-hand tyre tracks of the vehicle in front.

Obviously the situation requires that you judge what is best here. For example, if positioning your bike there would put you in danger of large vehicles swinging wide while entering the intersection from the right, then you need to protect your position and could instead choose a position in the left-hand tyre tracks. Each situation will be slightly different.

In any case, leaving a buffer between your motorbike and the vehicle in front is important.

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