As motorcyclists, we have the flexibility and manoeuvrability to use limited amounts of space to make progress in traffic that is either stationary or moving slowly in queues. This is known as filtering.
The Highway Code (Rule 88) tells us that filtering should be done carefully and at low speed; it also reminds drivers to “be aware of other road users, especially cycles and motorcycles who may be filtering through the traffic. These are more difficult to see than larger vehicles and their riders are particularly vulnerable.” (Rule 160)
Filtering is one of the real benefits of riding a motorcycle and the reason why so many of us choose a bike for our daily commute. However, filtering can be risky and if you decide to filter consider:
- Safety first
- Keep your speeds low
- Ensure you have your safety gap to move in to
- Ensure that you are visible to other road users
- Consider using your horn or your lights to show your presence on the road
- Always be courteous to other road users
Collisions are more likely while filtering if motorcyclists do not anticipate other road users such as pedestrians, vehicles merging from junctions, vehicles changing lanes or doing U-turns without warning, doors opening and also failing to use their observations to gather the information they need such as road markings, traffic islands or signage.
Just be aware that if you do have a collision while filtering, your insurance company may go in favour of the stationary vehicles.