Centre for Road Safety

The laws in NSW

Motorcycle lane filtering laws apply in NSW. Our animation explains the laws and shows how to lane filter safely. Read a transcript.

 

What is lane filtering?

Lane filtering is when a motorcycle rider moves alongside vehicles that have either stopped or are moving slowly (less than 30 km/h).

What motorcyclists need to know about safe lane filtering

  • Motorcycle lane filtering laws apply in NSW, with strict conditions
  • Motorcyclists must only lane filter when travelling less than 30 km/h
  • Motorcyclists can lane filter through stationary and slow moving traffic
  • Motorcyclists caught moving between traffic at over 30km/h  face heavy fines and three demerit points under the offence called ‘lane splitting’
  • It is illegal for motorcyclists to lane filter:
    • next to the kerb
    • next to parked vehicles
    • in school zones
  • Motorcyclists should always look out for pedestrians and bicycle riders
  • Motorcyclists should not lane filter around heavy vehicles and buses
  • Only fully licensed motorcyclists are allowed to lane filter
  • Motorcyclists must only lane filter when it’s safe
  • Motorcyclists must comply with all existing road rules when lane filtering. This includes stopping before the stop line at a red traffic light or stop sign, never in front or over it.

Our lane filtering FAQs have more detailed information, including a Summary of Trial Results from a 2013 trial in the northern part of Sydney's CBD.

Safety for other road users

Motorists

Motorists should always check twice for motorcycles.
Motorists should not deliberately move into the path of a motorcyclist who is lane filtering.
To ensure safety, motorcyclists:

  • Are only allowed to lane filter when they are travelling less than 30 km/h
  • Are only allowed to lane filter when it's safe
  • Should not lane filter around heavy vehicles and buses.

Pedestrians

Pedestrians should always check twice for motorcycles.
Pedestrians should always cross at pedestrian crossings or traffic lights where they are available.
To help protect the safety of pedestrians, motorcyclists:

  • Should always look out for pedestrians when lane filtering
  • Should not lane filter near buses
  • Should not lane filter near parked vehicles
  • Are not allowed to lane filter in school zones
  • Are only allowed to lane filter when it’s safe.

Bicycle riders

Bicycle riders should always check twice for motorcycles.
To help protect the safety of bicycle riders, motorcyclists:

  • Should always look out for bicycle riders when lane filtering
  • Are not allowed to lane filter next to the kerb
  • Should not lane filter near heavy vehicles or buses
  • Should not lane filter near parked vehicles
  • Are only allowed to lane filter when it’s safe.

The Road Transport Legislation Amendment (Lane Use by Motor Bikes) Regulation 2014 (PDF, 34kB) has details of the new laws.