VIEWPOINT - A Case for Lane Filtering

motorcycleCurrently in BC, motorcycles are required to sit in traffic like any other automobile is expected to, but this is very dangerous for motorcyclists! The solution is 'lane filtering', a practice vilified by the general driving public in much of North America. Almost anywhere else in the world, you will see motorcyclists navigating traffic by going between rows of vehicles, or passing in the on-coming lane (a widely accepted maneuver while traffic is stopped). I'm not sure how the law got to be the way it is in Canada, but the fact is that as it currently stands, the law forcing motorcycles to sit in traffic does a disservice to everyone on the road.

Lane filtering is considered slow moving, up to a speed of 30km/h, and is seen as a harmless riding technique around the world. Lane splitting on the other hand is defined as moving through traffic at speeds of higher than 30km/h, and is generally considered to be a riskier riding technique. I'm advocating for support of Filtering. Here's why the practice deserves consideration:

There have been many studies done in recent years by reputable institutions around the world which ALL support lane filtering. According to a study by Rice, Troszak and Erhardt at the University of California Berkeley, motorcyclists are almost 3x more likely to be killed while NOT [filtering], they suffer more injuries, with those injuries being more severe than motorcyclists involved in accidents while [filtering] [UC Berkeley Pg. 25].

According to an AUSTroads study on motorcycle accidents, rear end collisions were the most common type of accident involving multiple vehicles, by a factor of 4x[AUSTroads Pg.50]. Here's an example of the kind of accident that can easily be avoided with legal filtering. Furthermore, in a Belgian study by traffic firm TM Leuven, Yperman states that if only 10% of commuters switched to motorcycles and filtered, commute times would be reduced by up to 40%, and emissions would be reduced by up to 6% due to improved traffic flow! [TM Leuven Pg. 27, 41] 

In a RidetoWork report Kurlantzik and Krosner state that "The studies unanimously assert that lane [filtering] is safer than riding in slow moving or stopped traffic as it reduces the frequency of motorcycle crashes in traffic and significantly reduces the severity of injuries received in those crashes. [RidetoWork Pg.4]

If there are so many benefits to be gained, why is filtering illegal? When I asked the Ministry of Transportation, their email response claims that there are "safety concerns" about lane filtering, which are: 1) That road users could lane change into a rider, 2) that a door may be opened into a rider, and 3) that there may be road rage because someone is "queue jumping". However, when filtering is done in a responsible manner, these concerns are moot. For one, it is already illegal for drivers to make lane changes without "signalling for sufficient time," which clearly indicates that responsibility lies with the lane-changer to be adequately aware of his or her surroundings, and to provide adequate notice, before exiting their lane. It is also illegal to open a door in traffic while on the roadway, and while parked they must ensure it is safe to do so before opening a door. In places where filtering is legal, motorcyclists very rarely experience road rage related to filtering, as drivers are educated to look twice for filtering bikes. Overall, drivers understand that every motorcycle that filters is one less car in their traffic queue!

If I had to choose between the possibility that someone might merge into me while on a motorcycle, and being rear ended, I would choose being merged into any day, 100% of the time. This is because while filtering, you can see into drivers' mirrors, and can read the "body language" of their vehicle. It is possible to see "tells" that a vehicle is going to lane change before they actually do it, and so it is possible to formulate a plan and have contingency strategies for if/when it happens. We're educated as drivers in Canada to use defensive driving techniques to successfully navigate complex intersections and challenging interactive dynamics in a car; the techniques are not so different in a motorcycle assessing traffic, except we are denied the privilege of using these life-saving measures. Also, if a motorcycle is filtering between lines of active traffic, there should be an extremely small risk of someone opening a door. In this, there are tools that motorcyclists can use to adapt to the dynamics of the situation, such as adjusting speed and making oneself more conspicuous by "blipping" the throttle.

The reason the Ministry has "safety concerns" about this is I believe somewhat tied to the road rage aspect. Road rage at motorcyclists is largely a byproduct of the quality of education drivers receive about other vehicles on the road. This lack of education may frustrate a driver if they see a motorcycle coming up in their mirror, and cause them to open their door purposely, which is illegal, and may constitute assault with a deadly weapon. However, when the motorcycle is filtering at a responsible speed, even if someone opens their door, the risk of personal injury is not very high; a door is a relatively flimsy obstacle compared with 500lbs+ of Bike. Consider this analogy to compare the impact of the law on motorcyclists' everyday safety decisions: Would you rather run into a brick wall as fast as you feel comfortable going? Or would you rather have a fully laden 3,000lb garbage dumpster crush you into the brick wall from behind?

I know what I and many other riders already choose on a daily basis. Speaking on a daily basis, how many times when traffic is bad do you already see motorcycles riding the shoulder? I personally ride ATGATT (All The Gear All The Time), and when it's summer and the temperature is +-30 degrees, if I am not moving I am absolutely sweating like a pig! Inside my gear it gets easily 5-10 degrees hotter than the outside air temperature. My commute isn't that long and there were still occasions when I started seeing stars and feeling light headed, thankfully after I had arrived home! However what if my commute was longer? Would it be better for me to pass out on the road, causing a traffic jam, or potentially causing myself bodily harm, or both all for the sake of the law? The proper gear REQUIRES air flow, so to sit motionless for too long is a danger not just to myself but for everyone around me.

BCCOM (British Columbia Coalition of Motorcyclists) is putting forth another proposal in 2017 to make lane filtering a legitimate method for riders to navigate traffic, and I hope that reason wins this time. It would save lives, time, and stress for everyone. Plus, I would finally feel okay to sell my car and go motorcycle-only. We have to make difficult choices in a split second on the road every day. It would be best for everyone if we could make those decisions without the cognitive dissonance from laws that are based more on fear of motorcycles than fact.

In summary: Riding a motorcycle is a riskier endeavor than driving a car, but it is a lifestyle choice that I'm happy to live with. However, all motorcyclists are under more risk than they need to be, due to one small misunderstood aspect of driving in traffic! Traffic which is not getting any better despite ambitious plans for bigger bridges. Traffic is also not getting any safer for the time being, with distracted drivers at every intersection and reports of motorcyclists getting rear-ended, it is only a matter of time until I am caught in an impossible dilemma: do I let myself get hit or do I take evasive maneuvers and filter between the cars? Can you believe that it is against Canadian law for me to make the obvious choice to avoid getting hit? Studies conducted around the world have unanimously come to the conclusion that "filtering" is safer for motorcyclists, reduces congestion and emissions, and makes motorcycles the most efficient way to get around large urban centers. The "safety concerns" held by the Ministry are not up to conventional standards of evidence given the recent wealth of studies available to everyone.


There have been many studies done in recent years by reputable institutions around the world which ALL support lane filtering. According to a study by Rice, Troszak and Erhardt at the University of California Berkeley, motorcyclists are almost 3x more likely to be killed while NOT [filtering], they suffer more injuries, with those injuries being more severe than motorcyclists involved in accidents while [filtering] [UC Berkeley Pg. 25].

I didn't bother to read the study, but the statistic you quote seems useless to me.  I would say and analogy to this would be to claim that:

"putting a gun to your own head and pulling the trigger is a good idea, because 500x more gun deaths occur when people are NOT putting the gun to their own head and pulling the trigger."

My gut feeling is that in many areas where filtering is done, the vehicles are smaller.  There are a lot of large vehicles on the road in BC including large pickup trucks with huge mirrors etc.  Would it still work effectively and more importantly, would filterers attempt to squeeze through and cause minor collisions and damage?


Well... i'm not even sure what to say to that analogy, since filtering has been proven to be safer for motorcyclists, i'm not sure why you're using a gun as the comparison, but I digress.

Unfortunately "gut feelings" around filtering need to be set aside for hard, empirical facts and studies. So far the Ministry has been non-forthcoming with anything to counter the studies that have been done which support motorcyclists filtering through traffic for their safety. More countries are legalizing filtering because of it, the opposite would be happening if these studies were not coming to the same conclusion. 

Motorcycles' widest points are generally perhaps an inch or two wider than where your hands rest on the bars. Even without filtering you learn really quick just how small you are, other road users make that quite apparent, very quickly. To a rider, looking at gaps around the lower mainland, I can say that most of the time I would have no issues on my way through traffic. There are the odd vehicle here and there that happen to be positioned closer together, if they aren't too close you can do a dip sort of maneuver, I will provide a video example below. However it is also pretty apparent when it is just not possible to get through, in that case, make what progress you can and then sit and be patient, unless the drivers are cogniscent enough to move over for you, which is always appreciated! 

In summary: Riders are acutely aware of their size, and when the gap gets tight, the riders slow down. Very rare are the occasions where it isn't possible to get by, especially utilizing the "dip" maneuver. While damage is possible, it has yet to be studied on what is more expensive, fixing perhaps more dinged mirrors or fixing less "dinged" fenders/ motorcycles, ambulance, hospital, loss of earnings, funeral(?), pain and suffering, etc. 

Riders shouldn't have to pay mentally, physically, or fiscally for the inattentiveness, careless mistakes of other road users. I would say that the average rider is FAR more aware of what is happening on the road than the average car/pickup driver, and even if they were on the same level of awareness, the motorcyclist has a far greater capacity of doing something about it, due to aforementioned size. 

"Dip" technique used several times in this video:

You would likely be driven over doing that on a motorcycle in the lower mainland of BC.

Just because you can doesn't mean that you should.

In reply to by DriveSmartBC

Speaking from experience, I've had just as many drivers accommodate me by moving over in their lane as have honked at me. Overall the only thing that makes me nervous doing it is coming across a LEO. I think it's the only thing that stops many riders. It's pretty hard to drive over someone going by you when you're boxed in, in bad traffic. Quite often the reasonable, safe speed to filter at is 5-15km/h, it is relatively safe, all things considered with riding. We should not be denied this protective strategy due to ignorance, bias, or assumptions. 

I do not intend to have to suffer the repercussions of literally being driven over from behind by someone more content to text, browse Facebook or any other site instead of focusing on driving. I'm not going to accept that. 

In reply to by Luftwaffen (not verified)

First off I'd compliment Luftwaffen on the research that he obviously did on this subject. In too many cases, the nay sayers are driven by personal opinions and have an adversion to facts.

The initial BCCOM proposals taken to the Minister of Transportation about 10 years ago were at the urging of a then Burnaby RCMP Motorcycle officer whom I happen to know. He imputus was that in one year, six motorcyclists had been killed by being rear-ended when stopped behind a line of cars.

Logical as this procedure may be, there was only one North American jurisdiction where it was tolerated, that was California. I say tolerated because the State Motor Vehicle laws did not have wording about multiple vehicles in the same lane. As a result, lane splitting was and still is a common practise. Recent legislation has "clarified" the procedure.

In a face to face conversation with Todd Stone a couple of years ago, it was evident that the primary objection to legalising the practise in BC was two-fold: First of all, the probability of inciting Road Rage. The second was an inability to educate the BC automobile drivers that such a practise was "legal".

As a rider who started (officially) in 1952, it was common practise to simply ride around a line of cars to be first off when the light changed. Indeed, we were half way to the next intersection before the cars were across the road. But then, cars had maybe 100 HP and weighed 3,000 lbs. Road Rage was rare as well.

But in the past ten years, the risk to motorcyclists has increased as never before. Electronic gadgetery, cell phones and especially texting have made the roads a very dangerous place to be. Having lost a few friends to idiot drivers, I'm not very charitable. In fact, I've been known to make some direct remarks to texting drivers about their habits and parentage.

Until some logic is introduced into our MVA, I will continue to sit where I have an "escape route" keeping the bike in gear, hands on the clutch and throttle, watching my mirrors. Only when there are at least two stopped vehicles behind me, will I relax.

BTW - If I have to scoot away to avoid being hit and get a citation for it, you can bet that I'll see the cop in a courtroom.

Look at what happens with a lane closure today: Everyone moves over into the open lane and leaves a kilometer of empty space in the other. Try and drive down that lane and you will have someone open a door or move over to prevent you from passing them or no one will let you in when you reach the merge point.

With that kind of attitude, regardless of the fact that the authorities are educating the driving public, lane filtering will be a dangerous choice. I wonder if filtering or waiting is the more dangerous of the two?

As to being ticketed for avoiding being involved in a crash, I would like to think that the officer would not. You are justified in saving yourself from harm.

In reply to by DriveSmartBC

Being a rider myself, I would never lane split. I find it insanely dangerous, you never know when someone is going to change lanes on you, not expecting a motorcycle lane splitting. Or if doing it while the traffic is moving, if that vehicle doesn't hold his lane very well, we have a problem.

I find the odds of being in a collision while lane splitting is more than being rear ended.

Well that is your perogative sir, and would be the best part about legalized filtering. Riders who are comfortable with the practice, and carry it out in a safe, responsible manner should NOT be barred from doing so. Riders who are uncomfortable with it, well again, that is your perogative. 

Unfortunately, anecdotal evidence is not factual, and should not be mis-represented as such. And so far, all of the evidence points in the "legalize it" direction. I'm sorry.

Hawk: Mighty nifty information you have there sir! 

"The initial BCCOM proposals taken to the Minister of Transportation about 10 years ago were at the urging of a then Burnaby RCMP Motorcycle officer whom I happen to know."

Would this gentleman stil be involved with BCCOM, or the community in general? I think one of the hardest parts of getting filtering legalized will be people on the side of law enforcement stepping up and endorsing the practice. Until they do its a matter of "Us vs Them", and I have to admit that while I am riding I don't see LEO's as a measure for enforcing safe driving techniques, but tithe collectors.

Mr. DrivesmartBC: "Look at what happens with a lane closure today: Everyone moves over into the open lane and leaves a kilometer of empty space in the other. Try and drive down that lane and you will have someone open a door or move over to prevent you from passing them or no one will let you in when you reach the merge point."

In a car? Yes, I have witnessed and maybe even felt rage when this happens. But for someone on a bike, i've never seen angry behavior from any road users. I honestly think that MOST people get it, why should something so small have to deal with traffic in the same manner as cube vans, F-350's, or Mercedes G Wagons? In 10 years of being a licensed road user, I have only ever seen doors opened on active roadways twice, which is VERY illegal anyways. I've never seen someone intentionally open their door, aside from committing assault with a deadly weapon, the hassle that would happen from causing an accident that way.... Well i'm not saying never but, especially if we're talking about a bike using existing roadspace before a zipper merge... Just ride in the outside of the lane? It honestly isn't that complicated.

I think you're trying to make this into a bigger issue than it really is, i've conversed with probably 50+ people at my work about filtering, and only 1-3 were against it, one simply because it was illegal. So say 2 people were against it, and I can tell you they weren't educated about the subject at all, as most people aren't. So something that has been proven to be beneficial in every way should be illegal because +-4% of the population (I know not really factual, but lets roll with it, if you will?) cant wrap their heads around the concept? How many people are texting behind the wheel? Well lets have a look... 

Eric Anderson's photo.

Eric Anderson's photo.

How is this justifiable? How is this safe? 


... it's never a good idea to drive - or ride - in another driver's blind spot.

And if you don't know when you're in that situation, then you sure as hell shouldn't be attempting 'lane filtering'!

Luftwaffen, my friend has long since been promoted (and they took his bike away). However, he is very active as a personal rider having, among other things, just completed leading a group of 10 or so to and around the Baja. Tough as nails? You bet. Recently, I haven't seen the enthusiasim for the BCCOM but I don't know why.

Tim, I don't know if you rode motorcycles in your career. Almost every person I've known who has taken courses to learn to ride have said that what they learned greatly improved their driving skills. To survive on our roads today, a rider has to be keenly aware that every driver out there may injure or kill them in total oblivion. Of course there are exceptions, but you won't find long time riders in your blind spot. Nor riding beside a semi .... do you have any idea what happens if one of the truck's tires blows beside you? Or sheds a tread? Constant awareness of drivers who wander in a lane, or beyond, is mandatory. Behind or in front and keeping right except to pass are survival tactics. The safest place to be is in front, P1 in the right lane about 5 to 8 kph faster than the traffic flow. As a police officer, I know that will wrangle but I said "safest" because it keeps the tailgaters off your back wheel.

No, I never rode a motorcycle during my career. I was offered the course twice and refused both times. I didn't think that I had what it took to be a safe rider because I was afraid of all the other drivers.

In reply to by DriveSmartBC

Tim, I applaud your decision. It's a great sport and probably the closest thing to flying without an airplane. But if you have an uderlying fear, it would never be pleasurable.

You were very wise .....

I did consider using a quiet low horsepower motorcycle off road in my late teens. My brother had a Honda 100 that didn't scare off everything within 2 miles and I managed one ride on an inactive logging road above Kootenay Lake. That was an enjoyable experience because I was the only one there and only had to worry about myself.

Wow that sounds quite exciting! Perhaps you might steer him in BCCOM's direction? It appears as though they are rebranding themselves for the coming 2017 season in a bid to reach more riders. I have contacted them about making a quick advert, in the style as something like this:


I agree on riding making you a better road user in general. Since I started riding, I am exponentially more aware of what is going on around me, and I was already rarely taken by surprise or making unexpected encounters with other drivers. There are no blind spots, the risk for riders is smaller both in terms of injury and death, the onus is already on lane changers and door openers, and there is no solid, factual reason for filtering to be illegal as far as i'm concerned. 

The public can be made aware through radio ads during rush hour, ads on the jumbo tron at Canucks/Lions games, YouTube ads, TV ads, Global/CTV news spotlights, etc. I don't buy it.

I'm sorry sir, but "blind spots" is a copout response, advocating for the unskilled, lazy, and/or inept.

I regularly drive my companies work vehicles, and there are no blind spots, given a good solid look in the mirror and a half decent shoulder check. The onus is already on the person changing lanes to ensure it is safe to do so, and placing ones self between vehicles places you right where most mirrors are aimed.

The blind spot response is a myth. I'm sorry. The simple fact is that even when involved in an accident while filtering, I am statistically less likely to suffer injuries, my injuries are less likely to be as severe, and I am almost 3x LESS likely to be killed while doing so. I know what I am going to do.

Blind spots dont exist.

I'm sorry sir, but "blind spots" is a copout response, advocating for the unskilled, lazy, and/or inept.


Blind spots are the very reason that drivers need to make adequate use of their mirrors, supplemented when necessary and appropriate by shoulder checks.

And to suggest that I'm 'advocating for the unskilled, lazy, and/or inept' is just plain retarded. Recognizing that there are drivers who fit these descriptions in no way endorses their behaviour, but recognizes that they're out there and potentially a danger to those around them - motorcyclists in particular, such as the one in your video.

Having been driving for more than 45 years in everything from 18 wheelers to motorcycles, and having been a driving instructor for close to 30 years, I can assure you that I know what I'm talking about.

So I'll explain something else to you as well, though it will no doubt fall on deaf ears.

Defensive Driving principles are based on the fundamental concept of keeping sufficient space for the vehicle and visibility for the driver; a collision cannot take place unless two or more objects try to occupy the same space at the same time. That simple.

What you're advocating - this stupid 'lane filtering' idea - is the antithesis of defensive driving, that simple.

And any motorcyclist who rides in another motorist's blind spot is a damn fool; an accident trying to find a place to happen.

You'll find some useful information on lane positioning in Chapter 6 of this guide, while Chapter 7 has some great diagrams of those mythological blind spots!

Thoughtfully, ICBC provide information on BC Transplant and the Organ Donor Registry on Page 127.


Now since you don't seem to care about data, i'll quote the UC Berkeley study about riders who are involved in accidents while [filtering].

And I quote: 

"Lane-splitting motorcyclists were also injured much less frequently during their collisions. Lanesplitting riders were less likely to suffer head injury (9% vs 17%), torso injury (19% vs 29%), extremity injury (60% vs 66%), and fatal injury (1.2% vs 3.0%)."

"Speed differentials of up to 15 MPH were not associated with changes in injury occurrence; above that 4 point, increases in speed differential were associated with increases in the likelihood of injury of each type."

"The observed injuries among the motorcyclists were significantly different between LSM and other motorcyclists (Table 12). LSM were markedly less likely to suffer head injury (9% vs 17%), torso injury (19% vs 29%), or fatal injury (1.2% vs 3.0%) than non-lane-splitting motorcyclists."

". Lane-splitting motorcyclists were much less often injured during their collisions. They were considerably less likely to suffer head injury, torso injury, extremity injury, and fatal injury than riders who were not lane-splitting."

"We found that motorcycle speed differential is a stronger predictor of injury than was the overall traffic speed. Speed differentials of up to 15 MPH were not associated with changes in injury occurrence; above that point, increases in speed differential were associated with increases in the likelihood of injury of each type."

I know what choice I am going to make, regardless of what the law says. The law is based on fear, not facts, prejudice, not science. Am I saying legalizing filtering would be painless? No. Would it be better in the long run for the unending traffic congestion we have in the "Most congested city in Canada", safer for vulnerable road users, foster better, more aware drivers and incentivize people riding instead of gas guzzling SUVs and pickups? Yes. 

When I ride, I only feel safe when I am in control, and that is how I ride. I am in control of my safety, at ALL times. Automobiles will kill me when hit in a full on brute force impact. When hit from the side I stand a better chance of remaining up right due to motorcycle wheels being very large gyroscopes. It is time that BC law reflected the modern realities of riding in busy congestion, with distracted drivers at literally every intersection.

Well, you were the one who threw the "R" word first, my position is based on facts and evidence, so i'm not sure what you are talking about. 

I don't doubt that collisions involving motorcyclists who were lane splitting, at low speeds - such as weaving through stationary traffic - suffered less injury and/or death rates than motorcyclists who were involved in higher speed collisions; but that's just fundamental physics - the faster you're travelling, the harder you hit.

But in no way do your statistics prove that lane splitting is a safe practice!

In one study I read through, I think this was from California, 17% of motorcyclist's collisions were attributed to lane splitting! That's a huge number, and if the practice was eliminated then it would be a change for the better.

Not hard to figure out, really.

From the UC Berkeley study again: 

"Of the 5,969 collision-involved motorcyclists we studied, 997 were lane-splitting at the time of their collision (17%)."

"Compared with other motorcyclists, lane-splitting motorcyclists were more often riding on weekdays and during commute hours, were using better helmets, and were traveling at lower speeds."

"Lane-splitting appears to be a relatively safe motorcycle riding strategy if done in traffic moving at 50 MPH or less and if motorcyclists do not exceed the speed of other vehicles by more than 15 MPH."

"A 2014 UC Berkeley survey of 951 motor vehicle drivers and 709 motorcyclists in California found that 80% of motorcyclists reported that they lane-split at least some of the time when traveling on freeways, and 37% of riders reported that they lane-split “always” when on freeways. (Source material is available from the authors.)"

"Four-fifths of the surveyed motorcyclists stated that they split lanes when riding on freeways. Of these riders, 38% reported that they only split lanes in stopped or “stop-and-go” traffic. An additional 27% reported lane-splitting when traffic is moving at 20 MPH or less, and 15% reported lane-splitting when traffic was moving at 30 MPH or less. Increasingly small numbers of riders reported lane-splitting as traffic speed increased; 7%, 2%, and 3% engaged in lanesplitting in traffic moving at 40, 50, and 60 MPH or less, respectively."

"g. When traffic was moving at 0-10 MPH, 90% of riders were lane-splitting. As speed increased, the proportion of riders lane-splitting decreased steadily to 59% when traffic was moving at 31-40 MPH. At traffic speeds of 50 MPH or greater, the proportion of riders who were lane-splitting dropped markedly. (Source material is available from the authors.)"

Link to graph.

I think your thinking is backwards, if riders weren't splitting, we would see a very much larger percentage of riders being rear ended. 

The simple fact is that younger riders are NOT putting up with the status quo, myself included. Thanks to technology, namely YouTube we have access to videos from all around the world at the click of a button. I (and many others) see riders from the entire rest of the globe calmly, safely, responsibly making way through traffic and think "screw sitting in traffic like a chump". I'm in control of my safety, and since I have no safety cage, no crumple zones, my incentive to filter at a speed where little to no injury would occur are pretty damned high dontcha think? Vulnerable road users should be allowed to be in control of their safety at all times, especially with the amount of distracted drivers around here. Unless you've ridden, especially in the LML you probably won't get it, and I see that you don't so i'm going to stop wasting effot to try and help you understand. 

Filtering is becoming normal here slowly, its just a matter if it happens in a legal, legislated way that makes it safer for everyone, or if it becomes normal because the vast majority of riders say "screw the law" and take their safety into their own hands. 

EDIT: "I don't doubt that collisions involving motorcyclists who were lane splitting, at low speeds - such as weaving through stationary traffic - suffered less injury and/or death rates than motorcyclists who were involved in higher speed collisions; but that's just fundamental physics - the faster you're travelling, the harder you hit."

NO. WRONG. Riders are more likely to be seriously injured when involved in accidents when NOT FILTERING. While they do suffer more injuries when splitting at higher speed differentials, obviously, up to the threshold of 15mph THEIR INJURIES STAYED THE SAME. You are entirely missing the point here. The point is that while filtering with a speed differential of up to 15MPH (25KPH approx.) Riders suffer FEWER injuries, LESS severe injuries and are almost 3x LESS likely to be killed than riders involved in accidents who are NOT FILTERING. 

I don't know how to more clearly spell it out for you.

Show me a statistic that indicates that lane filtering motorcycles have a lower collision rate than non-filtering motorcycles hit from behind while stopped, waiting behind a stationary vehicle.

In reply to by DamnIHateThat

The best we can do at this point is inferr from the data we already have. There are big problems with collecting the sort of data you're asking for, and could be biased from the outset by each rider. With the data we have, and I have posted earlier, we know that 90% of riders reported splitting when traffic was moving 0-10MPH. I don't think it would be out of order to say that most accidents with non-splitters would happen in this speed bracket, as this is when traffic moves for a time, and then stops again, then moves and stops(Prime rear end territory) . Then when we look at the following graph:

Also: "Compared with other motorcyclists, lane-splitting motorcyclists were more often riding on weekdays and during commute hours, were using better helmets, and were traveling at lower speeds. Lane-splitting riders were also less likely to have been using alcohol and less likely to have been carrying a passenger. Lane-splitting motorcyclists were much less often injured during their collisions."

Splitting riders seem to overwhelmingly be commuters, who are exposing themselves to far more dangerous conditions from the outset than fair weather/pleasure/weekend warrior riders. We also see that there are far more collisions by riders who are not splitting. I don't think it would be a stretch to say that if these commuters were NOT splitting, there would be a proportional, magnified increase in the amount of accidents in the "Non-splitting" category, due to the increased amount of riders exposing themselves in slow traffic conditions (0-10MPH).

It would appear that more riders in California are splitting than not, but the majority of the crashes are from non-splitters. 

Its not a yes/no answer, but its the best we can do given the data we have.

In reply to by DamnIHateThat

my concerns would be that as a driver I would be burdened with yet another possible collision point.  I have pedestrians, bikes both in bike lanes and not in bike lanes and aggressive drivers changing lanes and now bikes filtering.  It seems like a recipe for disaster to me.

Am I no longer allowed to put my arm out the window?  My kids love to wave their arms around like fools :)

It's been recognized for years that while roughly 33% of motorcycle accidents are single-vehicle (i.e. the rider couldn't control his machine, nobody else involved), of the other 67 %, the majority of the time the fault is on the part of the other driver, not the motorcyclist. Why? Fundamentally, because all too often other drivers don't see motorcyclists, or see them too late! You know this, you're a rider, you encounter it all the time - and have probably been compensating for that deficiency on the part of other drivers effectively, being as you're still apparently alive and well. But sorry, this either/or approach isn't rational. Don't try to tell me that it's safer for a motorcyclist to constantly weave through traffic, as a way of escaping being rear-ended (the commonest two-vehicle collision). And please, don't try to suggest that the reason motorcyclists try to get through traffic in this way is because they're trying to 'stay safe' - they do it because they lack patience, and because they can. Until they get squished ... by someone who didn't see them ...

Patience? Tell you what, when summertime rolls around again and its 30+ out, feeling brave enough to come for a ride with me? Do you want to sit in traffic at 4pm for an hour in full gear and see how you're feeling? This is why people who don't understand shouldn't be in the position of power to legislate on behalf of others. Filtering across the world is universally seen as a safe and logical thing to do, it is only here in North America with individuals such as yourself start crying wolf the moment someone tries to make a case for it. We have every reason to legalize it. We suffer fewer injuries, less severe injuries, and are 3x less likely to be killed. We reduce congestion, reduce fuel consumption, and maybe give frustrated, but capable people an alternative means of commuting to help further reduce congestion. 

I'll take 10 doors or being merged into before being rear ended once, you know why? Because I am the determining factor in how hard I run into that door or someone merging into my space. The incentive for me to go at a reasonable speed is pretty bloody high. Someone who is more likely to rear end someone, is probably on their phone, and probably won't see that traffic is slowing down, and probably won't see the rider they're about to send to the hospital/morgue. 

Look at it this way. Would you rather run into a brick wall as fast as you feel comfortable going? Or would you rather the fully laden 3,000lb dumpster smash you into the brick wall from behind at an unknown speed? The way the law treats motorcycles is the equivalent of being in a busy supermarket, and forcing all of the people with hand baskets and only one or two items to get in line with the people who have $1,000 worth of groceries in their carts. It literally makes no sense! It's like people with handcarts or one/two items not being able to go around people with shopping carts in the isles, and if you get caught doing so the store manager fines you and bans you from the store for a week. Could you imagine grocery shopping if you couldnt make your way past people with shopping carts? I don't think so.

One way or another, kicking and screaming, filtering is becoming a normal thing on the island/ LML. Which way do you want it to become normalized? Illegally, or legislated?  

... then I wouldn't be stupid enough to subject myself to it.

You remind me of those people who don't want to wear their seatbelts for fear of wrinkling their clothing, or wear them wrongly because it's more comfortable.

But I'm probably wasting my time in responding, because it's clear that you will try to apply any sort of rationale in order to justify your lack of lane discipline, along with your failure to comprehend the fundamentals of defensive driving practice.

Have a nice weekend!

Maybe if seat belts weren't conclusively proven to be safer than not wearing that line of thought would be rational.

Ohhh... So there's no point in riding when the weather is so nice out that you might go down to heat exhaustion? 

Then what's the point in commuting by motorcycle? Because I sure don't do it to sit in traffic and send myself to the hospital to get an IV inserted in to me. Motorcycles can be a piece in the traffic congestion solution, or they can be another "car" in line taking up space, making it take longer to get wherever everyone is trying to go.

You can't apply defensive driving principles to something that has half the wheels, and no safety cage. There is very little cross over. No wonder you don't get it, you've clearly never been in a situation in heavy traffic where every time you slow significantly in speed, your life is in jeopardy and it TELLS. This is exactly what I mean when I say that it makes absolutely no coherent logical sense to have people who have never ridden, never would, and obviously don't understand the rationale behind NOT sitting in line with a target on your back.

The only other way to do it would be to duct tape you to the back bumper of a car in traffic and wish you luck! Every single day of the week. Getting antsy about getting rear ended yet?

I'm inclined to agree, I can only imagine the road rage this would cause in the Lower Mainland, not to mention how many more car/motorcycle accidents there would be.

If you guys are talking about the filtering in the video, then yes, I agree as well. However that shouldn't be a barr on progress. It can't get much worse for riders than how the law currently is. I, and many riders ALREADY filter, regardless of what the law says because we KNOW it is safer for us. The law should reflect facts, not fears. 

Any filtering legislation would probably be limited to stop and go traffic, or crawling (sub 20-30kph). The government would be compelled to do its due diligence to inform and educate the public to the changes in the law. There really is no good reason for filtering to be illegal.

Many riders already filter daily, and experience little to no rage over it (I've had more people make way for me than anything!). Legislation would simply make it safer for all parties, and finally make motorcycles the most efficient way to get around busy, congested cities as they are in the entire rest of the world. 

Filtering will become normal one of two ways: 

1: It remains illegal, but riders (especially in the LML) will discover the futility of riding strictly according to the rules. What is even remotely fun or enjoyable about spending more time with your foot on the ground, watching your mirros and sweating like a pig?

This is currently in the process of happening.

2: The government decides to be proactive, and launches a public awareness campaign to inform the public that motorcycles will be allowed to navigate through slow moving and stopped traffic for their safety, to help ease congestion, and for the safety of motorcycle riders. This is what I want to happen.

Which do you choose? 

Like it or not ladies and gentlemen, we do it because it is safer for us. 

(Provided link is outdated and has not been replaced.)

I see the responses get down to a vertical column of words and letters .... Kind of hard to read Tim.

Lets remember that just because something is "legal" does not mean you have to do it.  Yes, as a young person learning the painful lessons of riding (Like falling off), I did some pretty weird stuff but maturity finally kicked in.  Today, I probably wouldn't "filter" either but I'd like to have the choice. As for "splitting" as is common in California and most other places in the world, my survival instincts would again probably have me erring on the side of caution.

But these are personal choices. I do believe that the Legislators should make decisions based upon proper reaearch (Such as has been mentioned above by Luftwaffen.) and not by personal opinions ... especially if they don't ride themselves.

A lot of data to go over, but the fact is the evidence shows that lane filtering is 

- Safer

- Better for traffic flow

- Better for motorcycle and rider health

I put together a petition to try to get Ministry of Transport on board. So far we haven't had any scientific evidence that no filtering is safer. I challenge anyone to come up with some.

Anyway, for my petition:

Please sign it and share with any like minded individuals.

Competent, the stats don't lie, do the research, you will see. There is a reason Australia chose to adopt Filtering, it's safer, period. If you have evidence refuting that fact, the community would love to see it.

Quoting stats that are in favor of the motorcyclist and then attempting to sway the reader into thinking it was actually the driver of the car that was the victim is laughable, and does not hold water. Your opinion, is just that, an opinion. You are entitled to it, but there is nothing in your opinion that is realvent to the argument.

Current traffic laws in BC and Canada must be amended to allow for Filtering, for the well-being of all motorists.

I for one will not be waiting to get rear-ended or for my bike to overheat or for some pleb talking on his phone to take me out, and I know I am not alone.

Still waiting for an objection to the practice based on facts and not fears. 

Any source at all would be nifty.


Please comment and identify the respective research and practises with regard to lane filtering by other road vehicles such as motorcycles with sidecars, motorcycles with trailers, roadsters, motorized tricycles, human powered bicycles and human powered tricycles. 

In anywhere where filtering is allowed, sidecars, trailers, and tricycles are generally not allowed to filter, as they are not two wheeled vehicles and do not have the necessary size requirements to fit between vehicles. Not sure what you're trying to get at.

We already technically allow and encourage bicycles to filter, sort of, in their own way, so why don't YOU go get those safety studies? This is not the point of this topic, so I'm not going to do that for you.

I have provided MORE than enough evidence for anyone clear of mind to know where the priorities for any rider who values their safety should be.


In case you missed the point somewhere down the line, lane filtering is about ‘two wheeled’ motorcycles utilising the available space between lines of stationary or slow moving traffic. This type of manoeuvre ensures vulnerable riders are removed from the firing line created by distracted drivers texting by way of debating ‘What's for dinner?’ or ‘Mummy is late to pick little Johnny up from sports’ or equally unimportant messages being fielded whilst driving! Distracted drivers tend do this just before they crush a motorcycle and its rider between their vehicle and the vehicle in front! 

Clearly there is no logical reason why a three wheeled vehicle would attempt to lane filter due to vehicle width.  For that reason nobody in their right mind would even look at studying or legalising such a manoeuvre because it doesn’t happen legally anywhere in the world, or certainly nowhere that I am aware of.   FYI, I’ve lived/worked and driven/ridden in Europe, Asia and North America, so its that experience I am basing my comments on.

Luftwaffen has already provided more than enough links to plenty of irrefutable information on filtering studies. However, if you find any filtering studies on motorcycles with sidecars, motorcycles with trailers, roadsters, motorised tricycles, human powered bicycles and human powered tricycles feel free to enlighten us. 


This absolutely disgusts me. Another rider with life altering injuries, in a completely avoidable and counterintuitive position for riding safety. Good job BC.

We want lane filtering for our SAFETY. It doesn't matter if motorcyclists only make up .5% of registered vehicles in the province, our safety, is OUR SAFETY, and the government has been extremely lax in their duty to make the roads as safe as possible for ALL road users, not just the popular methods.

Filtering IS safe.

This report from France suggests that over the five year period where lane splitting was tested, motorcycle accidents increased by 12 percent in the 11 departments while accidents decreased by 10 percent on roads outside of the testing area.