Thousands of motorcyclists turned out at the weekend to support the motorcycle group La Federation Francaise En Colère and protest against the ban on motorcycles filtering through traffic. In France, starting from the 1st of February, motorcycles are not allowed to filter between lanes of stationary traffic when trapped in a traffic jam. The fine for doing this is now 135 Euros and three points on your licence.

This new law has come out of a trial to test the safety of filtering, which has been taking place in three areas in France. The government has decided that it is not safe so has now banned it by law. Technically this is not actually a new decision, as it has only been legal on some roads since 2016 as part of the trial, whilst already being illegal  most roads. However in reality many motorcyclists will weave their way through trapped traffic when the opportunity presents itself.

The trial was to determine whether the practice should be legalised and written into law in the French Highway Code, but the powers that be have decided not to legalise it and motorcycles are now expected to behave like cars and wait in the queue.

This does not sit kindly with many French motorcyclists who descended on  Paris, Toulouse, Lyon and Lille amongst other cities, en masse at the weekend, to protest against this decision. Although technically illegal, many motorcyclists have been habitually wiggling through the traffic when there's a jam and thinking of it as one of the advantages of two wheels over four that they can get through the gaps and shorten their journey time. Now the fear is in France that the blind eye will no longer be turned and it will be strictly enforced going forward, hence the protest.

Here in the UK motorcycle lane filtering is legal and is considered to have benefits such as saving journey time and fuel, and reducing overall traffic congestion as motorcycles are through and away, not stationary pumping out fumes like the cars.

So how do you feel about lane filtering? Is it something you do when riding in heavy traffic on your bike, or do you think it is too dangerous and side with the French traffic department in thinking it should be banned?

Let us know your thoughts at or drop us a message on Facebook.


26/02/21 - I support the bikers, theres no problem with filtering sounds like Macron has thrown his toys out the pram again. Get a life there are more important things to consider in France ie: vaccinations for starters.

26/02/21 - It’s fairly safe, if banned in UK I would sell my motorcycle !!

26/02/21 - I think the ban is stupid and now we are out of the eu shouldn’t affect us, i always filter and have been doing it since i was 16 i am 70 next month and i will continue doing it Phil

26/02/21 - Filtering in traffic jams etc when safe to do so is the way to go

26/02/21 - The French Government are a*******! Try telling bikers in Bangkok or Ho Chi Min they’re not allowed to filter Lol 😂

26/02/21 - Car driving since 1974 when passed test ..Bike riding since 1979.. passed test in 1981..No accidents on anything..I do not filter on my bike in any traffic..people think I am bonkers... But I say ban it over here on England too ! IT AINT SAFE..because normal car driver's are not bike aware enough..and some bikers are tested..from a 64 year old bloke with a perfect record to back it up.

26/02/21 - Re the new law in France stopping filtering. I have ridden in France for many years and it has always been common practice to filter. If any one has ever  ridden the Paris Periferique the only way to make any progress is to filter and I find the best way is to follow the many scooter riders. I can't see any way that the police can stop it.

26/02/21 - Lane filtering is safe if done under say 20 mph. Imho it is unnecessary to filter if traffic lanes are moving faster. As long as you're moving at that speed you will be out of the jam soon.

26/02/21 - Sitting in traffic in 30+ degree heat with full motorcycle gear on and not being allowed to filter is far more dangerous than filtering to make progress and keep cool; the decision is insane.
In Germany you have the same problem, suffering in the heat I started to filter promptly followed by several German motorcyclists wilting in the heat on a jam packed Autobahn full of stationery vehicles. Trucks and cars automatically made a passage as they saw us coming through as they do in most other places on the continent; it’s a known tradition.
If you use common sense it can be done quite safely, you will never achieve 100% safety like most any other thing in life but that is life in general.
PS. In order to keep cool in the South of France are the French authorities advocating wearing just a shirt, thin gloves, trousers and boots as per two French police motorcycle riders observed riding well over the national speed limit.

27/02/21 - Hi
Further to your newsletter and invitation for comment. Every rider does it their own way - this is my way...
If you are filterng through traffic, you are drawing attention to yourself. In such a situation, consider yourself to be an ambassador for motorcycling!
In commuting traffic, you will be passing the same drivers regularly. If you reguarly upset them, it's too easy for them to 'Smidsy', door or otherwise hurt you with minimal consequences to them.
Every rider has different perceptions of risk and what is an acceptable level of risk
1) to themselves and
2) to other road users. I regularly use a bike for suburban and urban commuting.
I do filter between traffic BUT...
Only when the surrounding traffic is stationary.
Only when I see a safe path through the gaps and there is enough space so that I don't have to weave between wing mirrors etc. Only when I can see a safe place ahead to stop, such as a decent gap between 2 cars. Never unless I am **really** sure I know what's going to happen around buses, trucks, wagons, artics and other large vehicles. Avoid if there is a bend in the road ahead because expected gaps may not be available.
If the traffic ahead is starting to move off, I stop in a gap and move off with the traffic so I am not perceived to be cutting someone off. In moving traffic I only move with the traffic because doing something even slightly different from what's around you is asking to get hurt. Once the traffic starts to move, drivers will only pay attention to what's ahead, never to the side or behind.
Safe journeys and stay healthy

27/02/21 - Reading about the new filtering laws in France reminds me of a day I was in Germany filtering in a heavy traffic jam. The car drivers were closing the gaps on purpose to stop me coming through, I was later told that filtering is illegal in Germany. If true then it could go across other EU countries too.

27/02/21 - If you ride sensibly not a problem to weave through traffic. I'm an advanced police motorcyclist  and been doing it for decades. The French used to send their wannabe motorcyclists over to us for training so they should know better.

28/02/21 - Hi Wemoto here's my take on the subject.
Filtering on a motorcycle at present in England is a motorcyclists right, and is safe as long as it is done with intelligence, awareness and at the right time. Knowing when and how to filter safely comes with experience and should not be abused by reckless riding as this will cause us to lose the right. So riding with thought for others and timing your action by observing the whole situation with awareness of what could happen if………if in doubt, don't.

Always acknowledge motorists who are aware of you and move over to allow you to pass, but never pass if it is not safe to do so. Be aware that motorists stuck in stationary traffic will be frustrated and easily annoyed by motorcycles passing to close to their wing mirrors so, if there is not enough room, wait. Never put yourself in a situation where you need to cut in front of a car causing them to brake. Filtering done correctly is fitting in with traffic and not being a nuisance to other road users. I try to ride as if being watched be police or road cameras which a lot of time we are. Ride safe and give motorcycling a good name.

Posted by Lucy England
for Wemoto News on 23 February 2021 in General News



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