By Joe Appleton
Lane filtering is a controversial topic amongst motorcyclists, motorists, and other road users. Filtering, otherwise known as lane splitting, is a practice that’s widely accepted in many countries around the globe but has never gained much traction in North America. Over the last few years, interest in changing filtering laws has grown but as that interest has grown, so has its opposition.
Before we jump in and examine the most enduring for-and-against arguments surrounding the filtering debate, let’s take a quick look at what lane filtering and lane splitting mean, and shed a bit of light on this often-misunderstood road maneuver.
What is lane filtering?
Lane filtering is the act of using the road space between vehicles. In countries that allow filtering, it’s described as a move that motorcyclists can employ to move through stationary traffic or traffic that is traveling at a very slow pace. Filtering doesn’t necessarily have to occur between two vehicles, it can also be used on the space on the outside edge of a lane.
Some authorities consider lane filtering and lane splitting to be two different things, with filtering being the term used to apply to motorcycles and cyclists riding between stationary cars to move into a better and safer position at the front of a traffic queue. Lane splitting is often used to describe the more dangerous act of riding a motorcycle between moving traffic, often at a higher speed.
Finding a standard definition is one of the main reasons why filtering is such a hot topic. To some, it’s a safe and practical way for motorcyclists to beat traffic and help ease congestion. To others, it’s a dangerous act that causes accidents and puts lives at risk. This difference of opinion has caused many a debate in recent years, especially as California made …read more