Helmet laws, lane filtering are win/loss

AMC chairman Peter Baulch

The introduction of lane filtering in four states and a territory, and wider helmet laws in two states and a territory are both a win and loss, says the new Australian Motorcycle Council chairman.

“It’s a bit of a conundrum because some states have now got what we’ve been campaigning for over many years so it’s a win, but it’s also a loss because it’s not uniform across the states,” says Peter Baulch.

The Victorian rider and founding chairman of the restructured Victorian Motorcycle Council has been appointed to replace Shaun Lenard who resigned last month after nine years to become media adviser for Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party Senator Ricky Muir.

“We had the stupid situation recently with the MotoGP of blokes coming down from Queensland having to carry a spare helmet to get through NSW safely,” Peter says. “It’s just stupidity.”

Peter says one of his main aims as AMC chairman will be “regulatory harmonisation” of rules such as helmet laws, lane filtering and other road rules.

Helmet laws
Australian Standard sticker

“Uniform Road Rules have been high on the agenda for all road users, and especially motorcyclists for many years,” he says.

“At the Helmets Forum in Sydney in January 2015, all key participants/presenters espoused the need for regulatory harmonisation. But the reality is that we are now worse off than we were 12 months ago, with more states adopting their own rules/regulations which differ from each other.

“Filtering and ECE 22-05 helmets are but two examples of this.

“But as we know, common sense in government and bureaucracy are often miles apart.”Leave a gap lane filtering queue jumping

Peter says the role of the AMC will be to keep plugging away behind the scenes, a job which was recently made more difficult by a Federal Ministry reshuffle.

Apart from rule uniformity, Peter says “the overriding and most compelling issue” is to have state and federal authorities recognise motorcycling as a separate and legitimate mode of transport.

“The National Transport Commission sets the ideology for transport nationally and up until the last 12 months the words motorcycle and motorcycling did not appear once in their manifesto,” he says.

AMC secretary Tony Ellis says Peter has a “long involvement with motorcycling” and brings a strong background in business and management to the position.

Peter is a company director who has been riding “for more years than I care to remember”.

His first bike was a Suzuki 185cc trail bike on the family farm. After University, he spent 20 years in senior corporate management (nationally and internationally) and has been involved in the boating industry for many years.

Peter now rides a Honda ST1300  Pan European, is a member of the NSW Boating Industry Association, past national President of Apex Australia, founding chairman of the new VMC, a previous delegate to AMC, a member of the VicRoads Motorcycle Advisory Group, a Ulysses Club member since 2000 and current member of the club’s National Committee.

He has delivered the following “vision statement” to members of the AMC:

Thank you for your confidence and support in nominating/electing me to succeed Shaun Lennard as Chairman of the Australian Motorcycle Council.

I am somewhat humbled, but at the same time, excited by the challenges we have ahead of us.

Shaun Lennard’s legacy will be the healthy state he has left the AMC in, and the respect and credibility it now enjoys as the peak body representing motorcyclists nationally.  I place on record our sincere appreciation to Shaun from all of us for the untiring commitment he has invested in elevating the AMC to the status it enjoys today, nationally and internationally.

Some thoughts on the AMC’s needs in the short to medium-term future.

Given the void left by Shaun’s unexpected departure from the Presidency of the AMC, and the absence of a clear succession plan, I think now is the time to give some serious thought to the following:

a) Avoiding a repeat by establishing a process for natural progression and succession by amending the AMC constitution to provide for an official position of Deputy Chairman.

b) New Chairman to proactively mentor Dep Chair as likely successor, and ultimately a seamless leadership transition.

c) Research all available means of establishing a practical and feasible on-going funding resource for AMC.

d) Meet more regularly (even consider skype based mini teleconferences of Executive and or All AMC Delegates).

e) Increased stakeholder / partner communication both Internally and Externally with regular formatted information flow and expanded “Committee” roles and functions.

f)  Better coordinated State and National advocacy on all motorcycling related matters / issues requiring regulatory harmonisation through increased respectful consultative representation.

g) Explore closer working relationship development with non-Government State and National Bodies having motorcycling related affiliations, (E.g.: FCAI, MA, AMDA, NTC, AustRoads, Stds Aust, RAA, etc).

The fact that we can confidently address these challenges is a compliment to Shaun’s Chairmanship. I think all associated with the AMC have been fully supportive and appreciative of the profile, recognition and respect that the AMC now enjoys, thanks primarily to Shaun’s diligence and dedication to the task. I’m sure we all understand and respect Shaun’s decision to take up the role he now has, and I have his personal assurance that whenever possible he will be only too keen to offer support, advice and guidance to the AMC.

Some issues for us to consider into the short / medium future.  (not limited to)

i Slight AMC restructure (as above)

ii Settling a Patron

iii Expand team work and the now “well-functioning Sub Committees”

iv Recognition by all stakeholders, of Motorcycling as a separate and legitimate mode of transport and Road user group. (fastest growing mode of powered transport in Australia over past 10 years). 

v Austroads and NTC could set the standard for State Governments and State Roads Authorities.

vi Holistic approach to Road design, road surfaces, road maintenance, roadside infrastructure, etc, for the benefit of ALL road users

vii Holistic approach to **Regulatory Harmonisation of all road rules / safety related regulations, using better research and greater consultation with stakeholders

viii Engage in consultation to embrace technology (ABS, C-ITS (Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems), etc), for improved information / awareness of road environment and vulnerable road users in particular.

ix Holistic approach to safety by all parties in recognising Road Safety is a shared responsibility of all road users AND stakeholders.

x All stakeholders recognising and acknowledging that the safety of one road user group should not be enhanced at the expense of other road user group/s 

** Regulatory Harmonisation – Uniform Road Rules have been high on the agenda for all road users, and especially motorcyclists for many years.  At the Helmets Forum in Sydney in January 2015, ALL key participants / presenters espoused the need for regulatory harmonisation. But the reality is that we are now worse off than we were 12 months ago, with more States adopting their own rules / regulations which differ from each other.   Filtering and ECE 22-05 helmets are but 2 examples of this.

The above list of suggestions is by no means an exhaustive list of possible options, but rather, it is provided as a guide to some of the issues that I believe we (AMC) need to continue to address constructively in order to ensure that the continued influence, credibility and professional effectiveness of the AMC is maintained and enhanced for the future benefit and better outcomes for all motorcyclists nationwide.

Australian Motorcycle Council executive:

  • Chairman, Peter Baulch (Victoria)
  • Secretary, Tony Ellis  (Victoria)
  • Treasurer, Brian Wood, (NSW)
  • Committee Members, Nicky Hussey (ACT) and Phil McClelland  (SA) who took on the interim position of chair at short notice.


  1. It’s great to have someone with so much knowledge and ability on our side.
    Shaun Leonards move to a political party hopefully will give us a bit more political clout also.
    I’m tempted to start a branch of the party he went to here in QLD partly because we need a voice and partly because next to founding your own religion politics is the best scam there is. I was born to talk shit and do nothing at least I’d try and do some good in the process.
    Firstly I would remove some of the stupid restrictions on lane filtering, speed limits and restrictions on where and when we can do it automatically assumes we are too stupid to figure out if it is safe or not and the restrictions actually place use at greater risk from the vigilante set who would try and door us or block us if they think they are justified.
    Cycle lanes should be open for use, if they are unsafe for use then they are unsafe for cyclists, our use of cycle lanes would actually make the lanes safer for cyclists our tyres would sweep the debris from them and our size and lights would help remind drivers they are there.

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