I know most places in Europe allow (and sometimes even encourage) motorcycles to lane split and travel between cars. How do other drivers tell whether a motorcycle is currently occupying a lane as a car would, or is between lanes?

A hastily drawn diagram to illustrate. Can the red car in lane C move into lane B on the assumption that the yellow motorcycle in lane B is between lanes A and B? If not, would that change if the red car was a motorcycle instead?
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Ideally I'm looking for an actual traffic law citation regarding this from at least one major European country, but anything helps.

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    Exactly which 'most places' in Europe allow such behaviour? I have usually only experienced motorcyclist 'between the lanes' in traffic jams and perhaps when waiting for a red traffic light. At least in the few European countries in which I regularly drive, this is perhaps to a certain extent tolerated, but strictly speaking prohibited. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Sep 13 '18 at 20:33
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    If you do that in a car anywhere near me when I'm on my bike, you may well lose a wing mirror; it's extremely dangerous for the motorcyclist. If you do it on a motorbike, you'll just get a really cold stare; there are very few fellow motorcyclists whose control I trust enough to have them ride alongside me in a lane. All it takes is one piece of road debris or pothole that requires me to swerve, and we'll be into each other. – MadHatter Sep 13 '18 at 20:51
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    In UK absolutely not. There is no permitted or encouraged behaviour for motorcyclists to travel between lanes. If you see one doing so, hold your position until it is safe to change lanes, as always. A motorcyclist in a lane has the use of the whole lane. – Weather Vane Sep 13 '18 at 21:01
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    @Egor that warns drivers to be aware of two-wheelers who are filtering in slow traffic: it does not advise two-wheelers that they are allowed to filter in high speed motorway traffic or for drivers to force them to do so. – Weather Vane Sep 13 '18 at 23:50
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    Who cares whether it's legal or not? It's clearly dangerous. Don't do it. – David Richerby Sep 14 '18 at 16:52

No, you are neither legally allowed in most countries to share a lane with a car (some exceptions exist) nor do motorcycles in general tolerate cars well coming into their lane.

I drive myself motorcycle since almost 20 years. Most EU countries do not allow a motorcycle sharing a lane with a car (one exception e.g. Netherlands), what you observe are mostly impatient motorcycle drivers who take the risk weaving between two lanes to get faster forward. In fact this strategy is very common if a green light has only a short time and a queue is building...which gets longer and longer. This can also be observed on autobahns when the traffic is jammed and the cars are motionless or driving extremely slow.

While strictly in many countries illegal, this kind of driving (if careful) is tolerated by most car drivers (and the police often also look the other way) because you allow the car behind to skip your position. Also you are always the vulnerable person on the motorcycle; if something happens, you are likely to be (heavily) injured or killed. For this reason, it is always the motorcycle, not the car who is maneuvering in a lane.

Now motorcycles are often driving in convoy; during this the motorcycles are driving with two in a lane in a zig-zag pattern which gives optimal distance and close into two columns when the convoy comes to a stop.

Don't move close to a motorcycle with a car, this is a surefire way to aggravate the driver. You simply have no crush zone as motorcycle driver and the mass advantage means that even a slow collision can break or squash legs.

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    I was under the impression that driving between cars in the EU was allowed iff the cars were fully stopped – Eric Sep 14 '18 at 4:59
  • @Eric it depends on the country. France and Austria for example allow it. Switzerland doesn't (yes, tecnically not EU). – NicolasB Sep 14 '18 at 7:34
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    Basically, when you're in motion, treat a motorcycle as being the same width as a car. – user52676 Sep 14 '18 at 9:47
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    It is NOT illegal in the entire EU. In the Netherlands, it is allowed to drive carefully between slow-moving cars (traffic jam). rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/verkeersveiligheid/… Dangerous is an opinion... – RHA Sep 15 '18 at 13:21
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    @RHA Corrected, thanx – Thorsten S. Sep 15 '18 at 16:49

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