There is a lot of confusion when it comes to motorcycle filtering. Some people think it’s illegal, and others just get annoyed by it. The truth is, it is legal, but only if it’s done safely.
As with any manoeuvre or route you take on your bike you need to know that you are safe. This is why we don’t overtake on a blind bend or hopefully don’t exceed the speed limit. When it comes to motorcycle filtering, you just need to know how to do it safely and, most importantly, demonstrate that you can do it safely to other motorists to keep them happy (and likely at fault if anything happens).
Make sure there is plenty of room
One great bit of advice we like to give is to not only ensure you feel safe, but ensure that other motorists feel safe too. This obviously means not getting too close to their car no matter if you’re stationary or not. Getting too close can make other drivers nervous and therefore more likely to do something unsafe or something without thinking and cause an accident. Assume that all other road users are nervous drivers and you will be sure to leave enough room not to annoy anyone or potentially cause an accident.
Never cross the solid white lines
I’m sure you were told this on your lessons, but a lot of people seem to ignore it. The road markings are there for your safety and if you cross in front of another driver when you are not supposed to, this can annoy them and can potentially be dangerous. At the end of the day, if there is an accident, it will definitely be your fault if you disobey the road signs.
Don’t make anyone else change speed or direction
This is the golden rule to good, smooth driving of any vehicle, but it is often misread. This does not mean to speed up so you don’t cause others to slow down (unless you’re going at an unnecessarily slow pace). What it means is that you should constantly be aware of other road users, not just their vehicles. Ensure the other road users feel safe with you overtaking them or filtering, if they attempt to move their vehicles away from you then slow down, move away as much as possible and stop. If other drivers feel safe then you will.
I know we’re being boring here, but it’s important to stay slow when filtering. A lot of bikers, particularly in heavy/stationary traffic, find that they have to go very slowly anyway, but this isn’t always the case. A lot of motorcycle filtering claims are lost on the grounds that the biker was travelling too quickly through the traffic (in case someone pulls out to change lanes etc). Filtering is a great way to speed up road journeys, but remember that traffic moves slowly when there is a hazard such as a crossing, a roundabout, or if there has been an accident, so you should not move too much quicker than the cars and other vehicles.
Check that others can see you
Again, this makes for very boring biking, but what do you expect when you’re in traffic? Checking that other drivers can see you is not something that people usually think about. People normally watch out for movements of cars, but not the drivers. If you can, try to gain eye contact with the driver through their rear view or side mirrors and ensure they are looking at you when you manoeuvre.
A lot of famous cases like this have been lost due to alleged prejudice. Most people used to think that because motorcyclists were involved in more serious road accidents, that they were obviously the cause of them. This is clearly not true and has mostly been cleared up in the motoring world. This kind of prejudice is unfortunately still out there, but with SorryMate you get solicitors who understand what it’s like to be a biker, to be at the receiving end of road rage or to have been caused injury because of someone’s negligence.
For more information on how to make a claim, call 0800 6 300 301.