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Our Litigation Executive, Samantha Morrison, talks us through the dos and don’ts when overtaking on a motorcycle.

It is a common misconception by many road users that overtaking on a motorcycle is illegal but, in the UK, it is in fact legal if it is carried out safely. It is referred to in the Highway Code as ‘filtering’ but is also sometimes referred to as ‘lane splitting’. The definition of filtering is moving past queues of stationary or slow-moving traffic by travelling between lanes. Rule 88 of the Highway Code states… ‘…when filtering in slow-moving traffic, take care and keep your speed low’.

Avoiding congestion is much easier on two wheels than it is on four, and moving through traffic quickly to save time is often the reason why people choose to ride a motorbike, especially those living in busy cities. But it does bring with it some obvious hazards if precautions are not taken. The rider needs to assess the conditions and situation in front of them and be very mindful about the speed they are travelling at ensuring it is safe and reasonable. It is also good practice to wear high visibility clothing and ensure that the bike’s headlight is always switched on, even in daylight. Expecting the unexpected and being ready to use the brakes at all times is strongly advised.

There are times when filtering is forbidden. A rider should not filter when there is a solid white line in the road, where there are ‘no overtaking’ signs present and at pedestrian crossings.

Here at Minster Law, we represent many motorcyclists who have been unfortunate enough to have been in an accident when filtering, the majority being when vehicles have pulled out from or into junctions or changed lanes on multi-lane roads.

Bikers need to be properly prepared to deal with any emergency situations and, if it looks like there’s a risk, don’t take it.

Ride safe.