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MCN  says:

MCN's guide to urban riding: Filtering

To make sure you get the most out of your bike in the city MCN has produced a guide to urban riding in association with Spada. Riding in cities requires a completely different set of skills compared to the open road. There are more distractions, more hazards and more corners. This makes it more entertaining than a track day but without...

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  • Posted 5 years ago (01 October 2010 16:14)

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Richard T


Aug 07

Posts: 33

Richard T says:

RoSPA view

I'm currently re-training fo my RoSPA re-test (after 3-year expiry), and been told I MUST filter when it's safe to do so. If I don't, I'll be marked down for failing to make progress and lack of confidence. Having said that, it doesn't bother me, my wife is more nervous when on pillion, especially where lories & coaches are involved.

 I got quite a bit of practise last w/e, northbound on th A1 past Gateshead on Friday afternoon, then clockwise on York north ring road on Sunday afternoon, both in pouring rain. It's great when other drivers pull aside to let me through, I always wave my thanks, but it's obvious there are plenty of others who don't realise I exist until I'm past. The points about relative speeds are well made - that Russian git on U-tube deserves to die!


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Jul 08

Posts: 5

wheeliedave says:

the mobile manace

This is from a good wile back but I will never forget it we were filtering on a duel carnage way myself and about 5 other bikes. On approach to a three lane roundabout filter lane on the left for well turning left belive it or not. Old Bob was in front and took the middle lane one of these morons on the inside lane indicating left and typing an email on his blackberry at the same time he pulled right into bobs lane and almost knocked him off he then made a big mistake he blasted his horn and shouting at bob not a wise move bob grabbed his blackberry and smashed it on the ground he then pointed out that its 6 points and up to a grand fine for using that on the move. Bob said so go on lad ring the police and explain to them how I broke your phone. We then all just happened to run over the offending object oops sorry bud So keep your eyes peeled when filtering there is some very Irresponsible
 people aloud to drive cars.

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Sep 10

Posts: 1

jdkarmch says:

Banned in Australia

Thank you MCN for publishing this extremely educational piece on a very controversial subject here in Melbourne Australia. Over here the entire concept of filtering is banned and frowned upon by the law. Rather that educate riders how to do it safely and properly, they just book and fine us if they catch us doing it. I will be sharing this article far and wide here. The Motorcycle Riders Association (Victoria) has been fighting to get this subject sorted for years. This article is certainly something that I will pass onto them and encourage them to promote at (you can find the on Facebook at

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Mar 05

Posts: 3

iiitsnotme says:

Hey Sweets

Sort of agree with most things that have been said,  the one thing rthat is missing is the eye contact thing, I beleive there is a way of riding in the city that involves an amount of controlled aggression, if you are not prepared, don't do it!

Ride safe, wankers rule, but a 4x4 mirror costs more than a sore hand!

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Oct 10

Posts: 1

wiseopinions says:

Bike Safe

To get good training on filtering I would hightly recommend the Bike Safe courses which the police run. I got a full days training for about £35, so not only was it great value but also great fun and seriously helpful. The guys who took the course were not only massively skilled riders but proper bike enthusiasts. I came away from the day a much more confident rider thanks to the tips on road positioning, traffic awareness and much more besides. It was also a great insight into what the police do and do not consider acceptable for bikers to do. When filtering, for example, they were quite happy for bikes to be way over on the 'wrong' side of the road (assuming there is room, of course) to keep yourself clear of traffic queues. These blokes will also do shifts in cars, and it was useful to hear how they see things. You can also get discounts from some insurers if you've done the course. Really worthwhile.

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Jan 09

Posts: 26

VitorR says:

Very thoughtful article

I wouldn't be able to remember to talk about all these things if I wanted to explain city riding to someone. It becomes mechanical but never really thought about them. congratulations, very good article!

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Apr 09

Posts: 25

BigKatDaddy says:

Be careful..

What you have to be very wary of is what is classed as 'filtering' and what is 'over-taking'. On a recent IAM ride, I proceeded with filtering, but let the Tiger creep to 20 mph. In the de-breif, my observer pointed out that despite the care and observation, this could be frowned on by the law, as at that speed it would be classed as over taking. Also, and a valid point despite what we think of car drivers (but how many of us are that too ??) passing a frustrated driver in traffic, too closely and too fast can easily p**s them off, and potentially make any situation worse.

The guidance I was given was do it, but at a veryu reasonable pace, and be awaer of what affect your actions may have on other drivers, even if they do something daft (how many of you haven't at some time made a mistake), don't antagonise the situation, just be prepared for it, deal with it and move on safely.

Another point raised in an earlier post about the reversing car... Plan yo0ur ride so you don't put yourself in this situation, if you have to pull up behind another vehicle, position youself to one side or another with room to manouvre should the vehicle start backing up, by doing this you are also giving yourself room to manouvre around said vehicle should it stall, or the oppotunity arises to continue to filter.

Also, remember what is legal and what is not.. You can filter past a vehicle at a crossing IF they are stationary for the sole reason that traffic is stopping them from moving off, you MUST not pass the lead vehicle at a pedestrain crossing if they are either moveing or they have stopped for a pedestrian or because signals have ordered that they stop. At normal traffic control lights there is no such restriction, but for safety reasons, it is better to stop behind the lead vehicle as advised, and then if the way is clear and safe, filter past once clear of the lights. Very often you will find cars pulling off at the amber lights rather than green any way, and if your sticking your nose in front, and wait for the green light (as I'm sure we all do), you may well find yourself 'tagged' by the lead car, but if you are positioned behind, by the time the lead car has moved off and you cross the line, the lights will be green, relaxed and in a good place to overtake/filter once the junction has been cleared.

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Aug 09

Posts: 56

gavinfdavies says:

banned in ozland

if i remember rightly from my few weeks in melbourne, don't you have those wonderful turn right lanes on the left hand side due to the trams? maybe that's something to do with it.

oh, and do you fit roo bars to sports bike for out in the bush ;)

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Mar 07

Posts: 1464

joeslow says:


Even if you are covered top to toe in dayglo with neon lights the twats won't see you.

Think for them and ride like you're invisible, or it will be "sorry mate didn't see you".


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Dec 08

Posts: 9

mandrakejake says:

Car drivers do not look!

Good advice from all on this page however remember car drivers don't look! After 5 years and many hours filtering, I have been struck 3 times by cars turning right without warning. Be aware of side streets that they may decide to turn down, or if there is a large space in the right-hand lane they may decide to do a U-turn - this can put you in a very compromising position. Try to make sure that  the car you are about to pass is definately stationary or continueing along straight, good luck!                 

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