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LANE FILTERING IN

BRITISH COLUMBIA
Improving BC's Transportation Systems
and Reducing BC's Cost of Living

Prepared by Lane Filter British Columbia


May 2017
Proposal

To legalize lane filtering in BC within the following parameters:

1) Motorcycles must maintain a speed of 30 kilometers per hour or less while filtering.

2) Motorcycles must filter to the left, and must not filter next to the curb, on the shoulder, next to parked vehi-
cles, or in school zones.

3) Only riders holding a Class 6 license shall be permitted to lane filter.

4) Motorcyclists must comply with all existing road rules when lane filtering. This includes stopping before the
stop line at a red traffic light or stop sign, never in front or over it.

5) Motorcyclists must only lane filter when it is safe to do so.


Safety Advantages

Rear-End Collision Avoidance Intersection Collision Prevention

ICBCs reports indicate that the rate of rear-end crashes Furthermore, the practice of lane filtering allows motor-
resulting in injury has increased faster than any other type cyclists to be more visible near intersections, which are
of accident, having gone up 14% in BC from 2009 to 2014; historically the most dangerous places for motorcyclists.
a figure largely resulting from a corollary rise in distract- While rear-end collisions are the most common accident
ed driving.1 According to the Canadian Council of Motor on the roads today, the most common injurious or fatal
Transport Administrators, BC has the highest observed motorcycle accidents involve being struck by an oncom-
rate of personal electronic devices (PEDs) by drivers among ing left-turning vehicle or a vehicle turning right onto the
Canadian provinces (B.C. was 5.5 per cent; Canadian aver- road way in the path of a motorcycle3. Allowing motor-
age was 4.4 per cent). ICBC conservatively estimates that cycles to filter moves motorcycle and scooter traffic to
distracted driving is a contributing factor in roughly 25 to the first position at an intersection in urban environs, en-
33 per cent of crashes reported to ICBC.2 suring they are visible to all oncoming traffic, rather than
hidden behind larger vehicles. If a motorcycle must rejoin
By allowing motorcycles to utilize the space between a lane before reaching the front of the queue, they will
stopped or slow-moving lanes of traffic, motorcyclists and be bracketed by more visible vehicles fore and aft, rather
scooters effectively remove themselves from the path of than trailing traffic where oncoming left-turning vehicles
vehicle traffic approaching from the rear, which in turn ne- cannot see them. Additionally, by allowing motorcycles to
gates the risk of a motorcyclist being struck from behind. lane filter, motorists are made more aware of the motor-
The European MAIDS study, which examined motorcycle cyclists around them due to the increased visibility of mo-
accidents across five countries over three years and in- torcyclists filtering through traffic.
cluded a sample size of 921 accidents, found that motor-
cyclists that were lane filtering were more than six times Injury Prevention
less likely to be involved in an accident than motorcyclists
stopped in traffic conventionally.3 A new study by the University of Berkley studied the prac-
tice of lane filtering and splitting in California and found
Likewise, a comparison of rear-end crash data compar- that lane splitting is objectively safer than the alternative
ing the rate of fatal accidents wherein a motorcycle was if traffic is moving at 50 mph or less, and if motorcyclists
struck from behind (per 100,000 registered motorcycles) do not exceed the speed of traffic by 15 mph.5 The study
revealed that California, where lane splitting is legal, pos- also found that lane filtering was at its safest when traf-
sesses a rate roughly three times lower than states with fic was moving at 30 mph or less, and motorcyclists were
similar riding environments; just over 1 in 100,000 motor- exceeding the speed of traffic by no more than 10 mph.
cyclists is killed in such a scenario in California while over When those conditions were met, the Berkley study found
3 in 100,000 are killed in Arizona, Texas and Florida.4 This lane-filtering motorcyclists were notably less likely to suf-
data point is especially relevant given the MAIDS study fer head injury (9.1 per cent versus 16.5 per cent), torso
strongly linked population density with accident rates, injury (18.6 per cent vs. 27.3 per cent) or fatal injury (1.4
finding almost 75% of all motorcycle accidents occur in ur- per cent vs. 3.1 per cent) than other motorcyclists. Addi-
ban environments. The population of Los Angeles urban tionally, the Berkley study found lane splitting motorcylists
sprawl (3.9 million) is well over double the size of any city were also more likely to wear safer protective gear Includ-
in any of those comparable states with the exception of ing safer helmets, less likely to speed, and were less likely
Houston (2.2 million). to be under the influence of alcohol.
Congestion Abatement Adoption

The Lower Mainlands traffic congestion issues are well By placing stringent parameters on lane filtering to in-
known. Vancouver perennially ranks as one of the worlds crease safety for all road users, little motorist education
most congested cities6 due to a number of factors. The ge- would be required. Strictly regulating lane filtering in the
ography of the region, with numerous water crossings, as manner proposed reduces the degree of cooperation re-
well as the volatile housing market all play a role in creating quired of motorists and places the responsibility on the
congestion. Employees are forced ever-farther from their motorcyclists that choose to lane filter. Put another way,
workplaces by rising house prices. Difficulty in procuring by regulating lane filtering with such proposed measures
funding and the structural makeup of the region's govern- as an easily enforceable speed limit, situations where mo-
ing bodies conspire to prevent infrastructure expansion. torcyclists will be able to legally filter will be situations
But while infrastructure growth is difficult, lane filtering wherein automobile drivers need not be proactive or re-
provides an easy and affordable efficiency countermea- active to filtering motorcyclists; all motorists need do is
sure to BC's congestion woes. continue to drive their vehicles as they currently do.

A Belgian study found that if just 10% of motorists were Individuals with Class 6 licenses can be informed of the
to commute by motorcycle, travel times for all road us- change in law by mail, while those motorists without a
ers would be reduced by eight minutes per journey, which Class 6 but who ride motor scooters can be made aware
represented a 63% reduction in travel time. The same of the changes at ICBC Autoplan agencies with notices
study also found total emissions on major thoroughfares and pamphlets given to all those obtaining insurance for
would be reduced by 6%.7 One would expect similar effec- motorcycles and motor scooters. A modest advertising
tiveness on the availability of parking in urban areas. capaign utilizing conventional and social media co-opting
the standard rhetoric during May's Motorcycle Awareness
Furthermore, the emphasis placed on increasing housing campaign would serve as adequate notice to motorists.
density in some of the province's most congested areas ICBC study guides and handbooks would be updated to
precludes car ownership for many, but would still allow reflect the regulations surrounding lane filtering.
for scooters or motorcycle ownership. Paired with the ex-
panding mass transit network or any of the burgeoning car By legalizing filtering through the amendment of MVA Sec-
share programs in operation, lane filtering may provide tion 157 (1) Duty when overtaking to include the afore-
the incentive required to convince Vancouver commuters mentioned proposed regulations limiting filtering behavior
to trade their passenger car for more efficient modes of to specific road conditions, the legal onus of responsibility
transportation without sacrificing their self-reliance. would lie on the motorcyclist engaged in filtering.
Conclusion Contact

Given the economic environment in many parts of BC, Daniel Fritter


where home prices are pushing many away from the dgfritter@gmail.com
metropolitan cores they work and recreate in, allowing 604-790-3136
lane filtering for motorcycles and scooters would increase
the adoption of such vehicles within the most congested
and urban areas, and provide many with an affordable
method of transportation while simultaneously alle-
viating some of the burden on our transit system and
roadways. Often citing European cities as models for BCs
urban transportation plans such as the incorporation
of bicycle lanes and bike share programs, the adoption
of lane filtering as is practiced across Europe, is a logi-
cal next step for British Columbia. And given the safety
ramifications of an ever-increasing number of distracted
drivers on roads that are ever-more congested, British
Columbia cannot afford not to.

References

1: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/ICB-
C+applies+hike+fees+cent+come+November+updat-
ed/10150385/story.html

2: http://www.icbc.com/about-icbc/newsroom/Docu-
ments/2014Sept04/Backgrounder.pdf

3: http://www.maids-study.eu/pdf/MAIDS2.pdf (Table
5.7)

4: http://www.ridetowork.org/files/docs/LANE_SHAR-
ING_A_GLOBAL_SOLUTION_FOR_MOTORCYCLE_SAFETY.
pdf

5: http://news.berkeley.edu/2015/05/29/motorcy-
cle-lanesplitting-report/

6: http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/jesse-
kline-vancouvers-traffic-headaches-result-from-poor-city-
planning

7: http://www.tmleuven.be/project/motorcyclesandcom-
muting/home.htm