Riding skills: Filtering
23 June 2014 16:17
It’s not queue jumping
Filtering is always a contentious topic as those not on a bike often look upon it as queue jumping. That of course is rubbish; it’s what bikes were built to do.
What the law says
The Highway Code says “when filtering in slow-moving traffic, take care and keep your speed low” which appears to me to be tacit approval of the practice.
Maintain a safe speed
It is all about speed. Though, it’s not what the actual number is, it’s what your speed is in relation to the traffic you’re filtering past. Safe filtering requires this speed differential to be low, so we are not whizzing past stationary cars at 50mph.
The common sense part
Obviously we need to be travelling faster than the cars, but not so fast that we can’t react to any movement from them. Favourite danger spots in town filtering are intersections. It’s not rocket science, if a car is trying to emerge or cross the lanes of traffic you’re filtering through, then by the nature of the manoeuvre they won’t have a good view and will probably rely on someone letting them out - that kindly soul won’t be bothered if you’re wanging down the middle of the traffic and in all likelihood won’t even know you’re there. So knock the pace right off as you near junctions to give yourself a chance to do something if and when a car appears.
On motorways, again, it’s all about maintaining a low speed differential. Take extra care on the approach to exit slip roads as the Audi assassin typically leaves it to the very last second to dive from lane three to the off-ramp.
Follow these tips and keep safe while filtering
- Only overtake on the left if the vehicle in front is signalling to turn right, and there is room to do so.
- Stay in your lane if traffic is moving slowly in queues - if the queue on your right is moving more slowly than you are, you may pass on the left of the slow-moving traffic.
- When filtering in slow-moving traffic, take care and keep your speed down.
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