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Motorcycles and Lane Filtering: Is it legal in Australia?

Lane filtering is the act of slowly riding a motorcycle between two rows of slow-moving or stationary vehicles heading in the same direction as you. If you’re a motorbike rider, you’ve probably lane filtered before. If you’re not, you've likely seen lane filtering in action when traffic gets heavy.

Lane filtering is legal in most Australian states, but the rules around it differ.

Lane splitting is moving past slow-moving or stationary vehicles at an unsafe speed of 30km/h or more. No matter what state you’re in, it’s always safest to assume lane splitting is illegal.

Click on your state to find out the laws around lane filtering


In Queensland, lane filtering is only legal when you hold open licence and:

  • The traffic lanes are travelling in the same direction;
  • You’re travelling at 30km/h or slower; and
  • It’s safe to do so.

Lane filtering is illegal:

  • If one of the lanes is a dedicated turning lane;
  • In a school zone during school hours;
  • Where there are ‘no filtering’ filtering signs present;
  • If you’re a learner or on a provisional licence; and
  • In a bicycle lane.

Queensland law doesn’t specify any direct prohibitions against lane splitting. However, any movement between lanes that doesn’t comply with the regulations around lane filtering will be illegal, and riders may be subject to penalties.

New South Wales

In New South Wales, lane filtering is legal at low speeds of up to 30km/h for fully licenced motorcyclists, where and when it is safe to do so.

Lane filtering is illegal:

  • between traffic and an adjacent kerb;
  • between traffic and parked vehicles;
  • in bicycle lanes;
  • in school zones; and
  • between lanes of traffic travelling in opposite directions.

Lane splitting is illegal.


In Victoria, lane filtering is legal:

  • for fully licensed motorcycle riders;
  • at speeds of up to 30km/h;
  • it's safe to do so; and
  • between parked vehicles and traffic.

It is illegal:

  • in bicycle lanes;
  • between traffic and an adjacent kerb; and
  • between lanes of traffic travelling in opposite directions.


Lane filtering is legal in Tasmania for motorcycle riders on open licences when safe to do so.

It’s illegal to lane filter:

  • for those who hold Tasmanian or interstate learner and provisional licences;
  • at speeds greater than 30km/h;
  • travelling through a school zone during school hours;
  • next to parked cars; and
  • between the side of the road and other vehicles.

South Australia

In South Australia the laws around lane filtering are similar to other states.

It is legal for motorbike riders:

  • who hold an R or R-Date licence class (who are not required to display L or P plates). This is the same for interstate riders visiting South Australia;
  • travelling at speeds less than 30km/h; and
  • when it is safe to do so.

It is illegal:

  • travelling through a school zone or across pedestrian crossings;
  • in bicycle, bus or tram lanes;
  • between the side of the road and other vehicles;
  • next to parked cars; and
  • on roundabouts.

Western Australia

As with other states and territories, WA riders can legally lane filter but it is also limited to traffic speeds of 30km/h and less.

Northern Territory

In the NT you are allowed to lane filter if you hold a unrestricted, full or open motorcycle licence. You can only do this if your speed is not over 30km/h and it is safe to do so.

Australian Capital Territory

In February 2015, the ACT introduced a two-year lane filtering trial and motorcycle riders were allowed to move slowly through stopped or slowed vehicles. The trial was given the green light to continue while the government decides whether or not to make the laws legal long-term.

Shine Lawyers - we're here to help

If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident you may be entitled to compensation. Our team of motor vehicle accident claim experts can guide you through the legal process to help you get back on your feet. Get in touch today.

To find out more about the laws for motorcycles please check your local state or territory government transport department

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: June 30, 2020.

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