Filtering: Official line from Lancs Police

police motorbike with police line barriers 700px

We’ve been chatting to Lancashire Police again, this time asking for the official stance on filtering in the UK.

First and foremost, filtering is legal in the UK, no matter what car drivers think, shout or gesture to you as you do it.

But there are a couple of grey areas surrounding filtering, or lane splitting, and they revolve around due care and attention and, ultimately, dangerous driving.

Chief Inspector David Mangan, Lancashire Police, had his say on the subject:

“There is no law against safe filtering.  Any offences will be driving without due care and attention where the standard or riding falls below that of a careful and competent rider or dangerous driving which is where the standard of riding fall far below the standard of a careful and competent rider.

“It is a subjective test based on the individual circumstances and can be affected by the speed of the rider, the speed of the cars being filtered through, road conditions; weather conditions any other hazards etc.  This list is not exhaustive.”

So there you have it, if you’re filtering safely and you’re in control of your bike, you should be ok.

filtering safely on a motorbike

Is there a legal speed limit for Filtering?

For the majority of UK riders, nothing about that answer will surprise you, why would you filter if you can’t do it in a safe and controlled manner?

What may surprise some riders is the fact that speed isn’t mentioned once.

There is a general rule of thumb that lots of riders will tell you about where you can travel at 10mph more than stationary or slow moving traffic around you.

In Lancashire Police’s filtering video, they too mention that riders should filter at no more than 10mph more than the traffic around them.

So we asked CI Mangan whether there was a legal speed limit that riders should filter at.

CI Mangan said: [There is] No legal speed limit. It all depends on the circumstances.

“For example on a motorway where there is stationary traffic it would be reasonable to filter at a higher speed than through town whilst riding to the front of a traffic light queue.

“It’s a subjective test based on what a careful and competent rider would do.”

While we’ve got some answers to the big filtering debate, there remains a lack of absolute clarity about filtering and the speed at which you can do so.

The 10mph rule is a good one and if the police mention it in one of their safety videos, it’s good enough for us.

Next page: Lancashire Police release filtering fails and tips video