Filtering safely with the IAM

If you ride a motorcycle or scooter, you should already be able to confidently filter through stationary or slow-moving traffic. But do you know how to filter safely?


Here’s a breakdown of how to make sure you are moving through traffic safely, with the help of IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman


First let’s look at the basic rules of filtering…

You should only be filtering when traffic is stationary or moving slowly (up to 20mph) and you shouldn’t be travelling more than 10 to 15mph faster than the traffic (and that’s only if speed limits permits of course).

In more detail, filtering is a potential minefield for driver errors – so here’s a few tips to help you stay safe (and legal) when out of the road.


When filtering to the offside of stationary or slow-moving traffic you need to be particularly careful. Make sure you obey all road signs and bollards and always try to keep at least a door’s width between you and the traffic to allow you plenty of time to respond. Do not cross solid paint to filter and risk committing a driving offence.

When filtering between lanes, you need to maintain a practical escape route while travelling at a speed that allows you enough time to stop safely. Also remember that you’re likely to catch a lot of drivers by surprise, so always remain courteous and stay safe.

If in any doubt do not place your machine into a gap just because it will fit. Ultimately you need to ensure you’re visible to other road users, so position yourself accordingly – and remember that a HGV will possibly have to swing wide to turn and you may be in a blind spot.


Richard said: “We all want to make progress with our journey but don’t get too impatient or tailgate other road users. Be patient and filter through traffic with consideration for road users around you. If done correctly you’ll get to your destination faster while not affecting others abilities to do the same.”

Prolonged sessions of filtering can also be pretty tiring, and in a traffic dense environment you’ll be concentrating hard – so be prepared to sit in traffic and take a break if you think it’s necessary.

About IAM RoadSmart


IAM Roadsmart is a charity which aims to make better drivers and riders. Formed in 1956, they’ve spent the last 61 years working hard to try and make UK roads safer by improving driver and rider skills through coaching and education.

Through an extensive network of qualified experts, thousands of volunteers and over 200 local groups – IAM Roadsmart aim to be the best, most widely recognised provider of coaching and advice for all post-licence drivers and riders.

For more information visit