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Getting there more efficiently but safely…. filtering
This is a great pub topic where everyone has an opinion and a story about what is legal and what isn’t, what speed you can ride at, whose fault it is if you have an accident – and so on until it is time to go home.
You don’t have to filter. You can simply queue with the other vehicles. But this does seem to take away some of the freedom and time saving that riding a motorcycle represents. Clearly some journeys are worth filtering for and others less so.
Inherently the principal problem with filtering is that it compounds the three issues that are central to riding a motorcycle; we’re quick, vulnerable and easily obscured.
Where you live will have a marked effect on your vulnerability. Filtering in London, Birmingham or Manchester is safer than filtering in Auchtermuchty, because other road users are used to seeing motorcyclists and therefore take more precautions. Nevertheless, filtering puts you into places that other road users may not expect.
There are two principal risks: a vehicle changing lanes or a vehicle turning right through the traffic. The first risk is easier to spot – gaps in the traffic or the lanes moving at different speeds or approaches to junctions or exits are all situations where other traffic will start changing lanes. The second risk is harder to spot as other road users don’t just pull out from junctions but also from forecourts, houses, etc. The rule of thumb here is always proceed very cautiously where your view to the left is obscured by tall vehicles; vans, lorries, buses etc.
Experience is everything with filtering, and it is easy to watch another rider moving through traffic quite efficiently but not see the years of experience that goes into the decisions being made.
So, the rule of thumb has got to be start slowly, even a few cars is a gain, go very cautiously and keep the speed down to a walking pace. Who is right or wrong is of very little interest if it is always you that gets hurt. Build up your experience.