Motorcycle lane filtering to be legalised in NSW – what does it mean?

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From July 2014, New South Wales motorcyclists will be the first in the country to be legally allowed to lane filter, which is riding between cars that are stopped in traffic on multi-lane roads. So what does this mean for motorists and riders?

This decision to allow lane filtering legitimises something that is already common practice and for which penalties are rarely enforced. The practice is common elsewhere in the world but Australian riders can currently be penalised by police.

It follows a successful trial from 1 February until 1 May 2013 in part of the Sydney CBD last year where motorcyclists were exempt from existing lane filtering laws, in an attempt to ease road congestion and measure potential safety issues.

NSW Transport Minister Duncan Gay says the new move is part of a package of changes to ease road congestion and improve motorcycle safety.

“As a result of the trial we will introduce a new law that will permit fully licensed motorcyclists to legally filter past stationary vehicles at intersections, when it is safe to do so,” said Mr Gay.

“Riders will be able to filter at a speed limit of 30 kilometres per hour. It is important to note the new law will not apply to school zones during hours of operation where there might be an increase in pedestrian activity.”

“The new rule changes will give us the opportunity to communicate with riders so they better understand the risks involved with lane filtering and educate them on safe filtering practice.”

NRMA supports this commonsense approach, – in many circumstances, 30 km/h will be too fast.

Motorcyclists agree lane filtering is safer for riders because it reduces the chances of them being rear-ended; by getting bikes to the front of the queue, they are removed from the risk of being hit from the rear by another vehicle.

Key points:

  • Motorcyclists will still be banned from travelling left of cars in kerbside lane, from travelling in breakdown lanes and must be cautious when filtering around trucks and buses.
  • A new offence will be created for riders who lane filter at speeds over 30km/h
  • To reduce risk of inexperienced riders having accidents, filtering will only be allowed for fully licenced riders (i.e. excluding Learner or Provisional riders).
  • Lane splitting will still not be allowed – this involves motorcyclists travelling between moving instead of stationary traffic.

Drivers are urged to check both their mirrors regularly, even when stopped, and look for motorbikes filtering through the traffic; motorcyclists need to watch out for pedestrians crossing between cars and vice versa. Riders are also advised by the Motorcycle Council of NSW’s Christopher James Burns that “if it looks risky, it probably is, so manage your risk and ride accordingly”. 

Are you confident that these new laws will protect motorcyclists and help traffic flow?

Other Resources:
Lane filtering to be made legal
Should motorbikes be allowed to ride through stationary traffic?

Why don’t more people choose to bike and ride?

Bicycle carriage at Copenhagen station

Bicycle carriage at Copenhagen station

Luke, NRMA Senior Policy Advisor and commuter cyclist, investigates why more people don’t ‘bike & ride’. 

We can’t all live within a short walk of a train station. And it’s not always possible to park your car at a station.

Transport planners generally assume the average person will walk about 800 metres from their home to catch a train. If you get on a bicycle, this distance more than triples. This map shows that most of Sydney is within 2.5 km of a train station, or what is considered an easily bike-able distance.

Cycling is not for everyone, but think about how much road congestion could be avoided if just a few more people didn’t require a short lift to or from the station, or if there were a few more park and ride spaces available for people who really need them.

So why don’t more people choose to bike and ride?

Safety is a big reason that many people avoid cycling in the first place. Security of bike racks at stations is also a major concern – as is security of car parks, for that matter.

If you choose to take a bike on the train with you, you will have an awkward time, particularly if it is a busy service. Without dedicated bike storage on most trains, you will often have to stand with your bike near the doors along with prams, wheelchairs and anyone else with large and heavy luggage. This isn’t the case in Europe, where there are specifically designated carriages for bicycles.

For the weekend warriors, some of the best cycling routes are easily accessible by train, but it can be a pain even without the Monday to Friday commuters on board. Passengers on TrainLink (formerly Countrylink) trains have to dismantle their bikes and place them in a box and pay an extra $12.10 if they want to get off the beaten track on a long-distance train service.

Have you taken a bike on a train? What would it take for you to bike and ride on trains in Sydney? Tell us how you think bike and train rides can be better connected in our Seeing Red on Rail survey.

Sydney parking: We’re paying more for less

CH-CHING: Sydney parking is some of the world's priciest.

CH-CHING: Sydney parking is some of the world’s priciest.

Sydneysiders often boast that we live in the best city in the world, but it comes at a price.

We pay more for a Big Mac than a New Yorker. We pay more for our Corn Flakes than a Londoner.

And according to a recent report commissioned by NRMA, Sydney motorists are paying more for the privilege of fighting over fewer parking spots than our counterparts in similar sized cities overseas.

The Sydney CBD Parking Comparison report analysed the cost of, quantity and type of parking available to drivers in Sydney’s CBD. The report compared Sydney’s parking assets to those of the Boston, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle CBDs.

The news will come to no surprise for Sydneysiders: we are paying more for fewer parking spots than residents’ in comparable cities overseas.

We’re also greater adopters of public transport compared to our Atlantic neighbours, with 61% of trips to the CBD using some form of public transport – almost double that of the closest other city Boston (37%).

Sydney’s parking problems are likely to get worse with the scheduled construction of the South East Light Rail project from Maroubra to the CBD resulting in a further loss of all on-street parking for motorists along the route. So what can be done?

We’d like to see an audit of all car parks near commuter transport hubs to ensure a balance between short and long term parking. The Government also needs to involve the private sector to come up with innovative solutions, including new technology, to increase the number of Park & Ride spaces at otherwise under-utilised location near commuter hubs.

Tell us about your local Park & Ride facilities in our Seeing Red on Rail survey. Do you have an inner city parking nightmare story you’d like to share? What barriers are there for you catching public transport to the CBD?

Geneva Motor Show 2014 Gallery

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The 2014 Geneva show revealed very little that was new (or, at least, that hadn’t already been leaked out onto the internet!), but there was plenty of machinery worth taking a look at.

In terms of trends, it’s hard to pick a particular one. Geneva’s show tends to reflect the European market, which differs in key areas to ours ie relatively little dual-cab 4×4 ute activity. A flurry of increased fuel-saving technology for petrol engines continues unabated, which has the knock-on affect of making diesel-powered vehicles less attractive form an economic viewpoint.

Key releases included the Mazda Hazumi Concept,which will morph into the very popular Mazda2 later this year. It’s an important car for Mazda in Australia, as the current model, while seven years old, still sells at the rate of more than 1000 a month. The B-segment hatchback concept is certainly more overt and sporty than the existing car, something that chief designer Ryo Yanagisawa acknowledged.

Other cars to debut in Switzerland’s capital included Mercedes-Benz’s new C-Class, Jeep’s baby-sized Renegade (based on a Fiat platform), Ford’s redone Focus and Audi’s third-generation TT sportscar.

One of DriverSeat’s favourite cars of the show, though, was the clever Citroen C4 Cactus. The small SUV-sized wagon is simple, stylish and clever, and would suit Australian buyers to a tee if it were priced competitively.

See below for pics and captions direct from the show!

Mazda Hazumi Concept

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Take away the wing mirrors, the centre-mount exhaust pipes and the showy wheels, and you’re looking at the new Mazda2. Mazda isn’t a very big brand in Europe, so the Hazumi Concept is as much about staking a claim in the biggest game in town as it is about updating a successful model. Expect to see the production version around October.

Ford Vignale wagon

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It’s a good looking thing, isn’t it? While Australia will get the all-new Mondeo sedan and wagon next year, the Vignale will take pride of place as Ford Europe’s largest, most upmarket vehicle. The nose treatment will be mirrored on the upcoming Falcon update, too.

Ferrari California T

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A few (!) people gathered to witness the reveal of Ferrari’s first turbocharged car since the F40 of 1987. Now equipped with a twin-turbo V8, the convertible California has also been updated in the bodywork department. While it’ll continue to be the ‘cheapest’ Ferrari on sale in Australia, don’t expect much change from a quarter of a million dollars.

Koenigsegg One:1

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If the Fezza is a little cheap for your tastes, perhaps Sir would fancy the latest in Swiss technology? The handmade Koenigsegg One:1 features 1000kW (or 1mW) of power, more than 1000Nm of torque, carbon everything and phenomenal (some might even say ‘unusable’) performance. It’ll be more than a million bucks per unit, and only six are destined to be made.

Volkswagen Phaeton

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One of the stranger beasts in the VW fleet. It’s an AWD, 3.5-litre twin-turbo, alloy luxury sedan that competes almost head to head with VW stablemates Audi in the luxury sedan segment. Born of a desire to make the ‘ultimate’ VW, this is the second iteration of the Phaeton; the first sold only in tiny numbers. If it ever came to Australia (and it won’t), it would probably cost $125,000…

Subaru Viziv 2 Concept

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To be honest, it looks as if the Viziv was designed by a Subaru employee’s young child… it’s cartoonish, overstyled and just plain odd. From the afterburner-esque light bezels front and rear to the overly fussy door arrangement, the hybrid powertrain – petrol engine for the front wheels, electric motor for the rear – is about the only thing to recommend this one.

Massage Therapy

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Hey – it’s hard work pounding the halls!

Porsche 919 Hybrid

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This is Mark Webber’s new company car. It’ll compete at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours.

Chevrolet Corvette

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We may see this beast Down Under after the Commodore bows out in 2016; Ford has already committed to bringing out the Mustang, so the General may have to react in kind.

Lamborghini Huracan

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This is the new baby Lambo that will replace the long-serving Gallardo. It lacks the swing-wing doors of its big brother, but the V10-powered Huracan (a famed fighting bull) is still pretty out there.

Subaru WRX STi

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We’ll be driving this car in Australia in the next few weeks; stay tuned to mynrma.com.au/motoring to see what we think!

Land Rover Discovery 4

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Nothing much to report here, other than the Disco is 25 years old, and we expect to see a new version at the New York Motor Show in a month and a half!

Citroen C4 Cactus

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Citroen Australia says this car is set for Australia, but it’s still working on pricing. Here’s our tip; lose a few bucks on the first few to get them out into the general populace, because we reckon the Cactus will sell by the baguette-load once people get a look at them. Simple, rugged, modern and set to be ultra-economical to boot, the Cactus harks back to an era for Citroen where style and practicality set them apart from the pack.

Jeep Renegade

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Jury is out on this one. Based on the Europe-only Fiat 500X, the new baby Jeep is soft on the outside and soft and cuddly on the inside, too. Jeeps are not, however, meant to be soft and cuddly. The cars were surrounded all day, though, so perhaps they’ll be a success, but we wonder if these little Jeeps have been tested on the Rubicon Trail?

Maserati Alfieri Concept

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A return to form for Maserati. This two-door concept is meant to preview the next GranTourismo, which has been in production for nearly seven years now. This was one of the true stars of the show, and getting a photo of it sans people draped all over it was almost impossible!

If there’s anything we may have missed, let us know below!

You’ll find more stories on our webpage, while there’s a host of video reviews on our YouTube channel.

 

2014 Geneva Motor show preview

The DriverSeat team is in Geneva, Switzerland for the 84th Geneva Auto Salon. Geneva’s compact show floor is renowned for the debut of striking concept cars from the world’s biggest manufacturers, and this year will be no exception.

We’ll be grabbing loads of photos and info from the show floor, as well as bringing you news from some of the bigger launches. Here’s just a brief idea of what you can expect to see.

Mazda Hazumi Concept

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If you squint a little and take away a few small details, the Hazumi Concept is the new Mazda2, destined for release later in 2014. Hazumi refers to the design language of the small compact, but the nose treatment is very much in line with that of its bigger siblings, the Mazda3 and Mazda6.

Ford Focus update

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The quiet achiever in the Australian hatchback sales race, this major update is expected to herald a revised interior and new engine options, as well as an exterior makeover that will bring the Focus into line with the newer, smaller Fiesta. It’s also a look that you can expect to see on the next – and last – Falcon later this year.

Audi TT

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The third-generation TT will be one of the belles of the Geneva ball. The orginal two-door, two-seater took the world by storm when it debuted in the early 2000s, and the word is that Audi is hoping to capture that same sense of wonder with the newest Golf platform-based version.

Citroen C4 Cactus

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Not necessarily the best name for an Australian release, sure, but the innovative C4 Cactus is reportedly being considered for release Down Under. Shoter than a Golf but with more interior room than competitors like Nissan’s cute Juke, it’s designed specifically to survive the daily rough and tumble thanks to the use of plastic body panels and the unique AirBump panelling down its flanks.

Apple CarPlay

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Apple has finally crossed the last divide into automotive integration, announcing an extensive and far-reaching collaberation with some of the world’s biggest carmakers to introduce CarPlay. Designed to work seamlessly with newer-model iPhones, Apple makes use of its Siri voice-activation system to bring deeper, safer integration of its phones into cars via bespoke apps that can read out messages, tie in navigation with calendar appointments and more.

Are you excited about this new Apple Technology?

Stay tuned to the blog and to our Twitter and Facebook pages for more news!