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Filtering in France is allowed again, thanks to bikers’ protests

In France, as part of an experiment in 21 departments, filtering – or lane splitting – for motorized two and three-wheelers is allowed again from 2 August 2021, on highways and expressways.

Across France on Saturday 20 February 2021, bikers demonstrated with the French national motorcyclists’ organization FFMC (Fédération Française des Motards en Colère), to demand the legalization of motorcyclists filtering between lanes of slow moving or stopped traffic. An official experiment ended on 31 January (Photograph: Pierre Orluc/MotoMag).

A earlier five-year experiment in 11 French departments, allowing motorcyclists to filter between lanes of slow moving or stopped traffic, ended in January 2021. Filtering – or lane splitting – was never officially regulated by French law, but is tolerated.

On 20 February 2021, following the end of the filtering experiment, the French motorcyclists’ organization FFMC put 20,000 motorcyclists in the street. FFMC has been asking for the legalization of this very widespread and above all very proven practice since 2011. On 25 February, at the initiative of the Road Safety Delegation (DSR), the FFMC (a member of FEMA), met the Interministerial Road Safety Delegate on this subject.

The new experiment, lasting three years and over a larger geographical area, will concern the following departments: Bouches-du-Rhône, Haute-Garonne, Gironde, Hérault, Isère, Loire-Atlantique, North, the Rhône and the metropolis of Lyon, the Var, the Alpes-Maritimes, the Drôme, the Vaucluse, the Pyrénées-Orientales and the entire Île-de-France region. It will be the subject of signage in these regions.

Filtering can be practiced by respecting the following rules:

  • The practice is authorized on highways and two-carriageway roads separated by a central reservation and equipped with at least two lanes each, where the maximum authorized speed is greater than or equal to 70 km/h.
  • Traffic between lines of vehicles at a standstill or moving at a very low speed is practiced on the two lanes, having the same direction of movement, the most to the left of a roadway.
  • The lateral space between vehicles traveling on the two leftmost lanes of a roadway must be sufficient.
  • Filtering is practiced at a maximum speed of 50 km/h, with a differential of 30 km / h compared to other vehicles.
  • None of the traffic lanes on the road is under construction or covered with snow or ice.
  • Before traveling in inter-lanes, the driver warns other users of his intention.
  • Motorized two or three-wheelers must not force the passage.
  • It is forbidden for a filtering vehicle to overtake another filtering vehicle.
  • When traffic becomes more fluid and vehicles are traveling at more than 50 km/h on at least one of the two lanes, the two or three-wheeled motor vehicles must resume their place in the tracks.

The department of road safety indicates that a communication campaign will be implemented to inform about its implementation.

Source: MotoMag

Top photograph courtesy of MotoMag