Vehicle knowledge
Traffic signs and signals

Motorcyclists overtaking a traffic jam

Sorry, the video is in Dutch at the moment. I will translate the video soon. Just have patience 🙂


How does a motorcyclist prefer to overtake?

Use the space between rows of waiting cars appropriately. In an accident, (part of) the blame may be attributed to the motorcyclist, depending on the situation and the motorcyclist’s behavior.

Drive past a (moving) traffic jam at an appropriate speed. Make sure the speed difference between you and the traffic jam is no more than 10 kilometers per hour. That way, you can see for each car whether you can pass it safely.

If the traffic jam starts moving faster than about 40 to 50 kilometers per hour, join the traffic jam. Use your indicator to signal that you are merging between the traffic jams.

Be aware that when there are ‘gaps’ in the traffic jam, motorists tend to change lanes unexpectedly. All the more reason to merge when the traffic jam speeds up.

When a traffic jam is at a standstill, especially in the summer period, be wary of car doors suddenly swinging open.

If you are with several motorcyclists, behave similarly and ride quietly behind each other between the traffic jam. The following distance of another motorcyclist also riding between a traffic jam is at least 2 cars.

How does a motorcyclist approach a traffic jam?

When approaching a traffic jam, use your mirrors to see if the cars behind you come to a stop. Gradually reduce speed and alert the traffic behind by signalling with your hazard lights or your brake light.

If you are last in the queue, also use your hazard lights or brake light to alert the traffic behind you to your presence. Always keep enough distance from the car in front, if possible, position yourself between the rows of waiting cars. These can absorb any impact much better than your motorbike.

Where does a motorcyclist absolutely not overtake?

Several parts of the carriageway are expressly not intended as an overtaking lane; not even for motorcyclists. First of all, it is prohibited, in addition to being unsafe. After all, there is often a lot of rubbish on some parts of the road, which can lead to a crash or flat tire.

To pass a traffic jam, never drive across: emergency lanes, target lanes, cordoned off lanes, driving surfaces (also known as sergeant’s stripes), point sections (the white colored and sometimes treacherously slippery pie slices on the road surface) and finally redress lanes (the narrow strip of asphalt between the left lane and the crash barrier.

Motorists and motorcyclists together

To pass safely through a stationary or slow-moving traffic jam, motorcyclists must exercise caution. That is what this code of conduct is designed to do. But with a little help and understanding from you as a motorist, the interplay with motorcyclists can be even smoother and therefore safer.

Leave some space

Motorcyclists prefer to ride in the space between the leftmost traffic jam and the row of cars to its right. You make overtaking here safer by leaving this space free as much as possible. Usually it is enough if you drive in the middle of the lane, sometimes it helps enormously if you steer slightly right or left ( depending on the lane you are in ).

Take care when changing direction

Filter driving sometimes means moving up a lane due to a road narrowing. If you change lanes, signal clearly and watch out if you are not overtaken by a motorcyclist.

Do not open doors

A car can get quite hot when stuck in a traffic jam for a while. In that case, don’t swing open your door to get extra fresh air in, and make sure passengers don’t either. Can you imagine what it means to a motorcyclist if such a door flies open right in front of them.