WA motorcyclists can now filter through traffic queues
MOTORCYCLISTS will be banned from weaving between fast-moving traffic but will be allowed to do the manoeuvre in queues of slow or stationary vehicles under reforms aimed at cutting the number of riders killed on the roads.
Tougher licensing restrictions for motorcycles and mopeds — which include increasing supervised training hours, keeping novice riders on lower powered bikes for two years and an Australian-first motorcycle-specific hazard perception test — are among the proposed law changes.
Road Safety Commissioner Iain Cameron said the initiatives came from a review into motorcycle safety which was launched after 44 motorcyclists died in 2014 — WA’s worst motorcycle road toll.
Sixteen riders have died this year — representing 24 per cent of the State’s road toll — despite motorcycles comprising just 6 per cent of registered vehicles.
Mr Cameron said riders were vulnerable in crashes, and the risk was increasing with the number of motorcycles on WA roads more than doubling since 2008.
He conceded the plan to legalise “lane filtering” might be controversial but he believed that if it was limited to traffic speeds of 30km/h and less, it would improve rider safety and ease congestion.
“It’s legal in four other States and the rationale is that it will only be at low speeds, so if the worst happens and a rider does get clipped, the evidence we have is that they won’t be badly injured,” he said.
Motorcycle Riders Association of WA safety officer Dave Wright supported the manoeuvre in queues of slow or stationary traffic.
“We hear some horrific stories of motorcyclists being rear-ended and sandwiched between two cars because drivers don’t see the motorcycle in the queue,” he said.
Mr Cameron said while it was difficult to get evidence about the likelihood of that, authorities in WA and other States regularly received concerns about it.
But he said lane-splitting at speed — such as when motorcyclists weaved between lanes where there would not be space if it was a car — was too dangerous and should be banned.
Mr Wright supported moves for increased training and monitoring and said he would also like motorcyclists to be allowed to ride in all bus lanes.
The Motorcycle Safety consultation paper is being launched today at a forum in North Beach. It is open for comment until July 23.