All novice riders will first have to hold a car licence for one year under a plan being considered by Austroads.
The draconian pre-requisite is already in place in Queensland and is included in an open-ended discussion paper written by Dr Ron Christie who died before he could complete it.
The Austroads paper also endorses the Victorian law requiring novice riders wear hi-vis clothing.
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While it is only a discussion paper and we need not get too excited about it, we also need to counter it with some sense.
Other suggestions in the Austroads paper include:
mandatory lights-on and hi-vest protective clothing for novice riders at learner or intermediate levels;
graduated licences for learners, intermediate (provisional/restricted) and full/open licences;
no concessions for older licence applicants;
removing fast-track concessions for completing rider training and supervision programs;
extending the motorcycle learner permit period to six months;
replacing 50cc scooter licences for holders of car licences with skill testing requirements;
removing speed differentials that require novice riders to travel at speeds lower than the posted speed limits in higher speed zones; and
imposing Restricted (R) plates for full/open licence holders subject to restricted riding conditions.
As yet, it’s only a discussion paper with no weight behind it. You can read the full Austroads paper online.
Australian Motorcycle Council secretary and Victorian Motorcycle Advisory Group member Tony Ellis says the paper is not designed to produce safer riders. “It seems designed to produce fewer riders by making the process as pointlessly difficult and inconvenient as possible.”
However, not all suggestions in the Austroads paper are punitive and obstructive. For example, some riders may applaud the crackdown on moped riders taking to the streets on car licences without any instruction or testing to ride scooters.
And the paper is not without some logical decisions that avoid knee-jerk political decisions. For example, the Austroads paper concludes that there is little evidence to suggest that the periodic re-testing of motorcycle licence holders would reduce crash or injury risk.
Yet it does say it may be worth monitoring the draconian laws in New South Wales and South Australian where there are lower tolerance levels for speeding offences by novice driver/rider. It says these have the potential for application across Australia.