Q: I am astounded at the reckless riding of motorcyclists who regularly split (or share) lanes with cars and with no hesitation will dive in between cars and in front of cars to "race" home. Is this illegal, or are they allowed to do this? Jane Anderson, Auckland.

This is known as lane-splitting or filtering, and while it is not recommended practice, it seems that it is legal. Lane splitting is where you can ride between vehicles that are moving slowly or are stationary.

A motorcycle may overtake a vehicle on the right within the same lane if it is safe to do so. The traffic must be stationary or slow-moving and the way ahead must be clear. A motorcycle may overtake a vehicle on the left only if that vehicle is stationary or if it is turning right. It must not overtake on the left if the vehicle is turning left.

Therefore when traffic is stationary at the lights you can lane split on either side; if traffic is moving slowly on the motorway then you must only lane split to the right of a lane. Motorcyclists must stick within 20km/h or so of the speed of the other traffic otherwise you will likely be stopped and charged with careless or dangerous driving.

Q: Te Atatu Rd, where it crosses State Highway 16, has lane labels and signs to choose on-ramps to "MW North" or to "MW South". In fact Te Atatu Rd itself runs perfectly due north! The motorway SH16 takes Te Atatu cars either east to the city or west to Westgate. This makes the labels useless and actually confusing, with potential for dangerous swerving across lanes.

It would be just wonderful if someone could persuade the powers that be to correct or remove the misleading labels. Or am I missing something? Jim Carlyle, Te Atatu.


In essence the Auckland motorway network operates in a north/south direction. To travel north or south, motorists need to first travel west or east.

However, the end destination of the motorway does not stop at a westerly or easterly location, it continues further north or south. The cardinal direction east/west however is shown on signs from Waterview to the city.

As a result of the major western ring route series of projects on SH16, and SH20 due for completion in 2017, the opportunity is being taken to fill in the gaps to provide consistent information to give motorists clear indication of the general direction they are heading in context with the function of the motorway. This does not necessarily pertain to the compass direction.

The Auckland motorway sign system was enhanced as part of a major review undertaken in 2005. This was the first such review since the Auckland motorway was constructed in the 1950s.

Ten innovations were introduced at that time including enhanced cardinal direction information on many sign types throughout Auckland. The Auckland motorway sign system meets international standard and best practice.

• All good things must come to an end. This is the last Ask Phoebe column ever. Heartfelt thanks are due to all readers and writers, pundits and pedants, cheerers and jeerers, and suppliers of invaluable information. I couldn't have done it without you.