Easy riders: Change is on the way. Photo: istock
Motorcyclists will be allowed to legally ride between cars on NSW roads from July as part of new measures to ease congestion.
The state government on Wednesday made NSW the first state in Australia to legalise the practice of lane filtering, following a successful two-month trial.
Under the scheme, fully licensed riders will be able to ride through stationary traffic at speeds up to 30km/h, but not during school zones, beside kerbs or next to trucks and buses.
Roads Minister Duncan Gay said the decision was a commonsense solution. ''We held a successful trial in [the] Sydney CBD last year of motorcyclists being exempt from existing lane-filtering laws in an attempt to ease road congestion and measure potential safety issues for other road users,'' he said.
''As a result … we will introduce a new law that will permit fully licensed motorcyclists to legally filter past stationary vehicles at intersections when it is safe to do so.''
Road safety experts have cautiously welcomed the move, but urged authorities to monitor the speeds at which motorcyclists conduct lane filtering.
Chairman of road safety at the NSW Injury Risk Management Research Centre Raphael Grzebieta said filtering between vehicles at speeds greater than 30km/h brought a much greater risk of serious injury or death.
''In a 30km/h impact with a pedestrian, for instance, research has shown there's a 10 per cent risk of a fatality or serious injury; at about 60km/h it's around the 90 per cent mark,'' he said.
Professor Grzebieta endorsed the law being limited to experienced riders.
He called on Roads and Maritime Services to monitor and evaluate the scheme after 12 months.
Motorcycle Council of NSW spokesman Chris Burns welcomed the change as it could prevent riders from being injured.