MOTORCYCLISTS should be allowed to weave their way to the front of stationary traffic and car drivers should have to study up on motorbike safety, according to a "landmark" Australian parliamentary report.

    It is an offence for motorcycles to "filter" between cars at red lights and in slow traffic, but the report by the Road Safety Committee said that behaviour could cut commuting times, slash congestion and should be legalised.

    The report, applauded by the motorcycling community but given a mixed reception by other road users, also recommended questions about safety around motorcycles be included in VicRoads' car licence tests and that the $66 motorcycle safety levy be scrapped.

    Rob Smith, of Motorcycles Australia, said the report was a big win for motorcyclists but it might be some time before new laws were introduced.

    He said he understood concerns from other motorists about safety, but claimed that filtering through traffic was a solution to congestion.

    "Filtering motorcycles benefits every road user by saving travel time," Mr Smith said.

    "People should be concerned about road safety, but there is no evidence anywhere in the world that lane filtering is actually dangerous."

    But Cheltenham motorcycle driving instructor David McKenzie told the inquiry drivers often did not watch for motorcycles and filtering could lead to more accidents. He said drivers were opportunistic lane changers and could easily sideswipe bikes if the practice were legal.

    "How many of you have seen cars go, 'I will have that gap right now?' Cars do not look for motorcyclists," he said.

    Victoria Motorcycle Council deputy chairman of data and research Rob Salvatore said the report was a landmark recognition of motorcyclists as legitimate road users.

    A spokeswoman for the TAC said a response to the findings would be made when the report had been digested.

    2Committee chairman Murray Thompson MP said there had been a 66 per cent increase in registrations of motorcycles in the past decade and passenger vehicle drivers needed to be more aware of them.

    "It is imperative that there is an uplift on the part of motorists to be more aware about motorcycle users," he said.

    [Source: news.com.au]

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