VIEWPOINT - Benefits of lane filtering

motorcycleMy Definition of Lane filtering:  When a motorcycle moves through traffic in between stationary vehicles.

Being a Driver in England I am very familiar with filtering through stopped traffic, as as Car driver I would allow space for motorcycles to pass. As a Motorcycle Driver I would drive very slowly between the vehicles (under 10kph) 

Never have I been in a scenario where I was at any danger when filtering through stationary traffic. And I was shocked that this safe and efficient practice was illegal in BC. And it feels very unnatural to be sitting in lineups taking up space while on a motorcycle on the Highway.

Now the Benefits of lane filtering, If this was legal in BC, and people were aware of a way to essentially skip the gridlock during rush hour I would bet that a lot more people would take up commuting with a Motorcycle. And with that increase in motorcycle use we would see a drop in emissions and a drastic drop in all Vehicle wait time as shown in studies  When 10% of all private cars are replaced by motorcycles, total time losses for all vehicles decrease by 40%.The attraction of new traffic (due to improved circumstances) is taken into account in this case study.

Another benefit would be having less distracted drivers on the road. To be distracted on a motorcycle is quite difficult due to a much more obvious sense of risk when compared to being in the safe confines of a car.

Another Benefit is to eleminate the risk of Motorcycles being rear ended when sitting at a line up. Sometimes drivers are preoccupied or just do not notice a motorcycle tucked in behind a car. When the car rear ends another there is a fender bender. When a car rear ends a motorcycle there is a great risk of death.

I understand that this practice is legal in most of/all of : England, Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, and California, With current trials in Australia.

When are we going to embrace this solution to Vancouvers Gridlock? We should embrace it now.

The more common name for it in California is lane splitting. I have a friend who used to be on the CHP and he did it all the time during motorcycle patrols.

I don't have enough confidence in BC drivers and their lane discipline to try it here. You are likely to be lane changed over top of!

In reply to by DriveSmartBC

I heard that BC was considering legalizing the practice of land filtering, I can find nothing on the internet to substantiate this claim. Do you know if there is anything in the works?

I thought the whole idea was insane until it was mentioned that 40% of accidents are rear enders. They went on to say that it is statistically safer for a motorcyclist to be involved in an accident while lane splitting than it is if they are rear ended. I am a highly trained rider with 4 training programs under my belt, but all my training goes out the window if I am nailed from behind while sitting still in a traffic jam, so after hearing the arguments I think I see this a bit differently now.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

As long as the other 60% don't come from lane splitting, you are OK. The last year that I have any real collision data for is 2007. That year Following Too Closely by the other driver was listed as a contributing factor in 2.45% of motorcycle collisions, although Driver Inattentive counts for 13.94%. These were the only two factors that seemed to me would include striking a motorcycle from the rear. Even if they both only meant a rear ender, that is still much lower than 40%.

I think that the statistic was aimed at aimed at all accidents in the USA. I did not do my due diligence I got the info from this article to begin with Motorcycle lane splitting: Better for riders, better for drivers, and safer than sitting in traffic. I was just trying to discover if the practice was accepted as something safe anywhere. This video actually moved me quite deeply, understand I want as safe environment as possible for motorcyclists and I really have no background on this issue.

I just found this as well it looks as the Australia motorcycle council is being successful at changing the laws there.

I like how the motorcycle rider in the animation always has an open spot to pull back into. I know from experience that the gap shown is a rarity among stopped vehicles in our province. There is no doubt in my mind, legal or not, there will be "enforcers" among the stopped traffic that feel they are losing their turn and might take action to prevent filtering or engage in road rage. They do it now for other road users at road obstruction/construction merges. This has been discussed here on the site already.

My little Blurb above was focused on lane filtering, which i believe have slightly different  definitions.

Lane splitting: Motorcycles are permitted for using the space inbetween other vehicles whilst they are moving or not.
Lane Filtering: Motorcycles are permitted for using the space inbetween other vehicles only when they are stationary.

I can see a risk of lane changing being a problem while splitting. But while filtering there is hardly any risk that i am aware of.


I wholeheartedly support this, recently uploaded a video demonstrating how one can safely lane filter in Vancouver. There is also a petition floating around out there, not sure how official it is but it seems like it shares the spirit of this post. Trials passed with flying colours and lane filtering is now legal in Australia.

Not a fan of high speed lane splitting, although it seems that individuals will do that regardless if there is a law allowing safe lane filtering or not, so I don't buy the argument that lane filtering will open the doors to lane splitting.

I talk to people almost daily about this, trying to educate those that don't understand the difference between lane splitting and filtering and there are many, motorcyclists and drivers of other automobiles alike.

It would certainly help lighten traffic and get bikers out of harms way. If the goverment would legalize it and educate the public at the same time, it would be a huge success of that I have no doubt.