Filtering is one of the best legal things you can do on two wheels, it means you don’t have to sit in traffic, you’re not holding other road users up and you’re saving time and stress as well. It can also be quite a dangerous activity so here are some tips to help keep you safe.
The Institute of Advanced Motorist’s (IAM) head of riding standards and advanced biker, Peter Rodger, has given these tips on filtering.
Plan ahead when approaching long queues. Make a decision in advance for passing each vehicle, but be ready to change your plans if the traffic situation changes.
Be prepared for vehicles to move out or change lanes, particularly approaching junctions.
In bus lanes, watch for cars that want to turn left across your path.
Be aware of cyclists wearing earphones – they may not know you’re there.
Watch side roads. Drivers waiting to emerge will be looking for larger vehicles – not necessarily a motorbike or scooter.
When filtering give other vehicles time to notice you’re there – don’t arrive too quickly.
Wait behind stationary vehicles unless you’re sure you can get past them before they start to move – avoid sitting next to them where you can be in a blind spot.
Rodger said: “One of the great things about riding a bike is that you can reduce your journey time by filtering through traffic and congestion. But be considerate to other road users, and bear in mind they may not know or expect you to be there.”
Ride defensively, expect every other motorist and road user to be out to spoil your day. Take your time whilst filtering and be sure to check every side road, watch out for car doors opening suddenly, frustrated motorists suddenly doing U-turns to escape the queue, or pedestrians crossing in between slow moving or stationary vehicles. Be patient if a car driver either ignores you or deliberately stops you getting through a gap. Remember you’ll still beat him to work and will have had a much more pleasurable experience as well. Most accidents are avoidable, providing you look out for yourself rather than relying on every other driver to be considerate and courteous towards you.
Our advice to car drivers is always check your mirrors in slow moving or queuing traffic, expect motorcycles to want to make progress. Filtering is perfectly legal so don’t deliberately obstruct the rider. A slight blocking move by you could have serious or fatal results – is it worth having that on your conscience? Remember bikes and scooters getting through the traffic quickly is also saving you time in the queue. If you swapped to two wheels you’d be much less stressed!