Toughest licence laws now more costly

jake Dolan racer and learner rider at AMA training motorcycle insurance

The Queensland Labor Government has just made the affordable worker’s transport more expensive and more difficult to access with the country’s toughest motorcycle licensing laws.

Main Roads and Road Safety Minister Mark Bailey says the changes are to improve the skills and safety of Queensland riders in response to a rising road toll among riders.

The reforms will be rolled out from October 2016 and include:

  • An off-road practical pre-learner training and assessment course (increasing the required number of courses to obtain an R licence from two to three);
  • A minimum learner licence period of three months for all learner riders;
  • The extension of the minimum RE (restricted) licence period to two years;
  • Removing the restriction prohibiting R licence holders from carrying a passenger for the first year; and
  • A stronger emphasis on riding behaviour and higher order skills in Q-Ride courses, and greater standardisation in the course curriculum

But the changes are flawed.


Queensland already has the toughest motorcycle licensing requirements with motorists having to hold an open car licence for a year first – frankly it should be the other way around!

Extra courses and extra time on restricted licences will make it more expensive to get a motorcycle licence and prohibitive for people in the country where these training courses are sparse.

It will only force more young people to opt to ride unlicensed which is what we are seeing in the road toll statistics in Victoria where tougher graduated licensing has been introduced.

Instead of a stick approach, how about a bit of carrot?

After all, motorcycles are an affordable, green, transport alternative that will help reduce traffic jams, avoid the need for extra infrastructure, ease demand on public transport, maximise parking spaces and reduce pollution.

The extra skills tests are based on he road toll statistics, but interestingly the growth rate in crashes is actually in returned riders.

Yet there is no extra requirement for returned riders to do a course.jake Dolan racer and learner rider at AMA training

When it was recognised that cyclists were vulnerable road users the government demanded motorists keep a 1m gap from them.

Where’s our 1m gap? Where is some sort of education campaign to motorists to leave a gap between the lanes for legal lane filtering?

If the laws are being introduced to reduce the risks to unskilled riders, how come Queensland still allows motorists with open car licences to ride 50cc scooters without having to complete any extra training?

No doubt the tourism industry pressured the government not to change that as tourists on the Gold Coast and Cairns regularly hire these scooters to get around.

It seems no one is concerned about tourists killing themselves on the road.


  1. I am so over all this nanny stuff cannot do anything with out a licence, police etc looking over our shoulder enough. Where is the responsibility for your own action/s choice.
    I am waiting for the toilet police to change my nappy now!

  2. Oh I forgot helmets you have to have one with you but the law does not stipulate it has to be on your head so people don’t wear them some have them on there arm nice if you come off then the safety clothing consists of T-shirt shorts flip flops I and my wife always wear safety clothing we have been told you are preparing for a crash and you must be scared of are bikes my reply is not the bikes but the the people who drive cars with such poor driving skill same as for the bikers.It seems to me they think it does not look cool we both wear icon and have for years it fits well and it looks great and more importantly it keep you safe if you come off.

  3. If you live in Greece you can pass your car and motorbike in a week they teach you nothing the car you drive down a one way and then stop outside a coffee shop where you picked the examiner up.Motorbike test you have 5 parts to this you do slarlam 6 dots you stop on line then rider slow through 2lines in first gear then you stop ride between 2lines changing from 1 2 3 then swerve around a line then stop then you ride to another line then emergency stop test over and everyone passes and that’s why there are so many deaths in Greece with scooters and motorbikes.A the test is carried out on a car park to a more station.

    Here are the statistics.
    Motorcycle Rider Trainers go through rigorous training to be able to teach, and whilst most of these people are motorcycle enthusiasts, obsessive even, they are not “Ex Racers”. There are so many generalisations being bandied about here. I know several of these people, and they are happy to ride with (and endorse) full protective gear – even in the heat.
    There are a high number of motorcyclist fatalities, and a lot of these are unlicensed riders, and riders on unregistered vehicles. In fact, looking at the statistics, they are represented more often than people doing the right thing.
    Instead of whinging about the extra learning, why not embrace it, and know that we’ll have safer more experienced riders on the road? As far as I see it, the more experience and training you get, the better you will be. The most experienced riders are always happy to do more training in the event that they may just learn something new, or be prompted to lose bad habits acquired.

  5. I believe Governments are making it harder and harder to get a motorcycle licence not so much because they want better riders out there but more to discourage motorcycle riding, full stop.

    With their obsession on reducing our road toll to zero, having less & less motorcycles out there will, (in their eyes), go a long way in helping to achieve that goal…

    1. You have probably hit the nail on he head there Russell. Word from a recent Qld road safety thinktank on strategies to minimise risk to vulnerable road users, ie pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, came up with multiple strategies for the first two and only one for motorcyclists. Guess what that strategy was. To get us off the road.
      This same philosophy is behind the mission statement of both SA and NT motorcycle training programs (and I would guess many other jurisdictions as well, however I only know for sure about these two) – To DISCOURAGE as many people as possible from getting a motorcycle licence. Nothing in these mission statements about road safety or protecting the lives of vulnerable road users at all.
      While more training in anything is a good thing , along with more practice, it needs to be the ‘right’ sort of training, ie competency based training, otherwise the practice is just more of the same and not improving skills, attitude or road craft. To have nationally consistent, competency based training for both riders and car drivers would be even better still, and to continue the requirement for skill development for ‘whole of life’ will help to reduce the over representation of returning riders in crash statistics as well.

  6. It sounds like a step in the right direction to me. New riders should be required to do more training. Rider training is the most effective and least intrusive way of improving motorcycle safety. Consider the alternatives that have been suggested;-

    Protective riding gear does not save lives and does not prevent the major injuries that cause quadriplegia, loss of limbs etc. And it does not help prevent accidents from occurring. It is favoured by recreational riders because it does not intrude into their simplified motorcycle usage. But it is often impractical and too hot for riders who use a motorcycle for regular transport.

    Rider aids work well in some situations, work poorly in some situations, and are downright dangerous in others. For lesser skilled riders they are more benefit than harm, but relying on them ensures that the rider will always remain lesser skilled and will never be as safe as highly skilled riders.

    High-viz vests are impractical, are too hot when they have to be worn over other riding gear, and are of limited effectiveness. The more common they become the less attention they attract. They should not be mandated but let less confident riders use them if they choose to. It wouldn’t bother me if high-viz helmets were mandatory. I wear a helmet anyway and it doesn’t make much difference what colour it is.

    Educating/training drivers of other vehicles to be more aware and focussed would be a huge benefit, but it isn’t foolproof and there are plenty of fools sitting behind steering wheels. But a considerable number of motorcycle crashes are single vehicle accidents and nobody else is at fault.

    Mandating protective riding gear, rider aids and high-vis vests would be intrusive for the rest of your life. But more extensive training for new riders is something that they only have to do once. Everybody who rides a motorcycle likes to think that they are a great rider, but that is far from the truth. Improving your riding skills will improve your safety far more than anything else can. Rider training improves both bike control skills and roadcraft.

    A lot of riding instructors are ex-racers. The race track is a very sterile environment and to win races you need a high degree of mastery of a limited range of skills. Road riding is much more complex and has a far greater range of hazards to deal with. Training for road riders needs to be suited to the environment that they ride in.

    1. I agree that learner should get training and from appropriate sources not ex racers or weekend warriors.
      But I have seen the statistics that these changes are based on and the majority of the fatalities were unlicensed thieves and drunks or returned riders some of whom died of natural causes or health issues cased their accidents.
      On a side not research has shown that so called single vehicle bike accidents are often far from it.
      There are plenty of videos or riders clowning around and coming a cropper or over cooking it or panicking and having an off due to their own actions. but many more accidents have been caused by external forces such as animals bird strikes and fallen branches but the most common cause is an idiot ion a cage.

        1. Some of them have been mentioned on this site and similar sites as well as various press releases.
          Do a search with the words speed cameras kill or similar weed out the nut job posts and you’ll find a lot of genuine information and worldwide statistics.

          1. OK Al, so I’ve had a look. Tell me where I can find the references to “but many more accidents have been caused by external forces such as animals bird strikes and fallen branches” and “the majority of the fatalities were unlicensed thieves and drunks or returned riders some of whom died of natural causes or health issues cased their accidents”. I know I’m being a pain and persistent on this but I really want to know.

          2. The drunks and unlicensed etc were from a story on this site and maybe the Brisbane times it may have been about a similar story from Victoria or another road statistics related story.
            The information on external causes to so called single vehicle crashes was from a story that was mainly just a headline mentioning a study that rebuked the theory that single vehicle motorcycle crashes are all the results of rider error. The items I mention as causes were my own suggestions as to likely causes.
            These causes have names such as the dropbear the ufo the yowie and of course the Volvo!

    2. Hey man protective clothing is a must 2 people I know come off there bikes at different times both got blood Poisioning due to the used toilet paper put in the bins then it rains and spills the p and s off the paper I would rather be hot than cut to bits or blood Poisioning.

      1. Hey man protective clothing is a must 2 people I know come off there bikes at different times both got blood Poisioning due to the used toilet paper put in the bins then it rains and spills the p and s off the paper I would rather be hot than cut to bits or blood Poisioning.

  7. So if I’m on my re’s and am currently able to sit a test for R’s now, but wait till October, will I then have to wait the extra year? Or does it exclude people currently on RE? I was gonna sit it but didn’t have the cash, now I’m thinking maybe I shoud

  8. What a joke.. But on the plus side, I not longer have to wait the 1 year (Feb 2017) to have a passenger or a beer in me.. On my DYNA.

    I swear the Queensland government believes the less motorcycles on the roads. The less motorcycle gangs. They’re not even thinking about the fatality rates or road safety.

    These gucci sunglasses wearing Nike bikies drive Audis you out of touch morons. No way they’d mess their greased up mohalk with a helmet…

  9. They want people to drive cars that have trgo plates on the front so the speed cameras can tax them.
    If they were really serious about saving lives they’d start a road awareness course in high school or earlier.
    The number of kids who step out on the road without looking among other dangerous behaviours that they turn into habits and then take onto the road is ridiculous.
    People caught using a mobile especially texting and red light runners should have to attend a traffic school like the have to in the USA not just get a fine.
    These new requirements are especially flawed because it is victim blaming at its worst. It assumes that the riders who make up the statistics were 100% to blame for their accident. Some may have been, such as drunks or bike thieves but they will really be helped by these new license requirements.

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