So ah... Not really a near miss in the strictest sense, but on my ride into work this morning I got turned around in Docklands and wound up taking Collins St into the city. The Collins/Spencer intersection was backed up all along Southern Cross so I indicated into the bike lane and trundled along at 20kph hoping to get to the front. About 50m back from the lights was a marked cop car which I didn't notice until it was too late to subtly duck back into traffic. Needless to say I shat myself but tried to keep a poker face and filled in behind a massive flatbed that was keeping me from getting all the way to the front. Amazingly nothing happened, no lights, no siren, no horn, nothing. Now, on the topic of riding in the bike lane, I know it's incredibly illegal, but how unsafe is it? I try to avoid it for the legality reason but the temptation overcomes me if it's going to make the difference between 3+ cycles of lights. If I'm staying under 20kph, maintaining distances between myself and cyclists, and getting back into the traffic if I can't proceed through a too-narrow gap so as not to inconvenience the narrower push bikes, I don't see this as any more dangerous (except to my bank balance) than standard filtering. I'll happily knock it off if I'm creating a dangerous situation though.