Thousands of motorcyclists turned out at the weekend to support the motorcycle group La Federation Francaise En Colère and protest against the ban on motorcycles filtering through traffic. In France, starting from the 1st of February, motorcycles are not allowed to filter between lanes of stationary traffic when trapped in a traffic jam. The fine for doing this is now 135 Euros and three points on your licence.
This new law has come out of a trial to test the safety of filtering, which has been taking place in three areas in France. The government has decided that it is not safe so has now banned it by law. Technically this is not actually a new decision, as it has only been legal on some roads since 2016 as part of the trial, whilst already being illegal most roads. However in reality many motorcyclists will weave their way through trapped traffic when the opportunity presents itself.
The trial was to determine whether the practice should be legalised and written into law in the French Highway Code, but the powers that be have decided not to legalise it and motorcycles are now expected to behave like cars and wait in the queue.
This does not sit kindly with many French motorcyclists who descended on Paris, Toulouse, Lyon and Lille amongst other cities, en masse at the weekend, to protest against this decision. Although technically illegal, many motorcyclists have been habitually wiggling through the traffic when there's a jam and thinking of it as one of the advantages of two wheels over four that they can get through the gaps and shorten their journey time. Now the fear is in France that the blind eye will no longer be turned and it will be strictly enforced going forward, hence the protest.
Here in the UK motorcycle lane filtering is legal and is considered to have benefits such as saving journey time and fuel, and reducing overall traffic congestion as motorcycles are through and away, not stationary pumping out fumes like the cars.
So how do you feel about lane filtering? Is it something you do when riding in heavy traffic on your bike, or do you think it is too dangerous and side with the French traffic department in thinking it should be banned?