Call for traffic filtering trial

Victorian motorcycle and scooter riders are united in calling on the government to implement recommendation 59 from the 2012 Parliamentary Inquiry into Motorcycle Safety (PIMS), which calls for the constitution of a traffic filtering review committee (TFRC) by December 2013. The TFRC will review the benefits and risks of traffic filtering with the aim of its introduction in Victoria.

The Independent Riders’ Group (IRG) and the Victorian Scooter Riders Association (VSRA) representing Victorian Motorcycle and Scooter Riders believe the introduction of traffic filtering is too important to be delayed. It will benefit all road users by increasing safety, reducing traffic congestion, reducing commuting times and pollution. The VSRA and the IRG therefore call upon the Victorian Government to conduct a filtering trial for Powered Two Wheelers (PTW’s) at the earliest opportunity.

The VSRA and the IRG call on VicRoads and the TAC to support the filtering trial and PIMS recommendation No 59.

PIMS recommendation 59 calls for the TFRC to report on the benefits and risks of traffic filtering for Victoria and their report to be submitted to the Minister for Roads within a year of the TFRC being established. The VSRA and the IRG can see no reason why the proposed TFRC cannot be established prior to December 2013 and request members from both organisations sit on this Committee.

The IRG and VSRA support traffic filtering (as distinct from lane splitting) as a safe method of sharing the road in accordance with the following definitions:

Traffic Filtering
When a PTW passes in parallel to the left or right of stationary or slow moving vehicle, in both a safe manner and at a safe speed.

Lane Splitting

When a PTW passes in parallel to the left or right of stationary or slow moving vehicle, in an unsafe manner or at an unsafe speed.

The IRG and VSRA believe traffic filtering is the safest way to ride in congested traffic. Traffic filtering is safe when the speed and proximity of a PTW in relation to other vehicles allows a crash to be avoided in changing traffic conditions. The IRG and VSRA therefore support the introduction of traffic filtering which benefits all Victorian road users, as:

? Traffic filtering improves safety for all vehicles. For example; when a PTW moves to the front of a traffic queue it reduces traffic congestion and greatly reduces the risk of the PTW being hit from behind. A 2006 insurance survey showed that in 40% of claims the PTW was hit from behind.

? Evidence shows traffic filtering significantly reduces traffic congestion. PTWs are far more environmentally friendly than the majority of vehicles on the road. During peak commuting times single-occupant cars are 70% of traffic.

? Traffic filtering provides significant and quantifiable benefits to all road users. Evidence shows that an answer to world traffic congestion is as simple as creating policies to promote PTW commuting. The federal government’s report on Australian Cities 2012 documented the role of PTWs. If just 10% of all private cars are replaced by PTWs commuting time can be reduced by up to 40% for all road users.

? PTWs replacing larger vehicles and using traffic filtering not only improves safety for all road users, but also significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.

The IRG and VSRA believe clearly defining and legalising traffic filtering will benefit all road users. The introduction of traffic filtering will make Victorian roads safer allowing car drivers to acknowledge it as a legal traffic manoeuvre. Then instead of attempting to block the path of PTWs, drivers can take action to accommodate PTWs, improving safety, reducing congestion, pollution and easing parking shortages in our cities.

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