Riders in Queensland will have to stop their bike and get off to stretch their legs.
Jake Sloman of Brisbane was riding on the Logan Highway when he stretched his leg and was pulled over by police and fined $146. The offence is “Fail to keep both feet on footrest”.
The Queensland Transport Operations (Road Use Management—RoadRules) Regulation 2009 says a rider must sit astride the rider’s seat facing forwards with at least one hand on the handlebars at all time and, when moving, keep both feet on the rider’s footrests, not the passenger pegs. The passenger also has to use their seat and pegs and face forwards. Read my story on this and other petty traffic rules.
The fine has caused social media outrage as the rule would affect almost every motorcycle rider.
It was introduced a few years ago by the Labor Government as part of a crack down on honing.
When it was introduced, I pointed out to the news desk at The Courier-Mail where I was motoring editor at the time that it would have far-reaching consequences for riders. I wrote a story, but it was never published.
The story mentioned that apart from preventing riders from stretching their legs to avoid dangerous cramping, it was also a technique used by dirt-road riders to correct sudden slipping of the bike.
By the letter of the law, it also prevents people from standing up on the foot pegs to mitigate the dangerous effects of a “tank slapper” when the bike hits a big pothole. It prevents the rider being thrown around with the bike and is a common safety method employed when riding on unsealed roads.
However, the rule says you “must sit astride the seat”, so you could possibly argue that “astride” which means “with a leg on each side of”. That does not mean your butt has to be touching the seat.
Clearly the rules were rashly introduced – just like the Newman Governments VLAD Act and anti-bike laws – and without consultation with rider groups.
So I put it to Transport Minister Scott Emerson that he should re-evaluate the previous government’s rules considering even Police Commissioner Ian Stewart admits he stretches his legs when riding and the photo above shows other police also do it.
After about a week, I received an email reply from his office attributed to a spokesperson for the Minister for Transport and Main Roads: “We currently have no plans to review this rule.”
It’s a shame as a re-evaluation of these laws would give the LNP a political opportunity to point out the rash and badly researched nature of the previous government’s laws, allow legitimate riders to exercise safe riding methods and possibly win back some brownie points with bikers harassed under the current regime.
If you think the government should re-evaluate the rules, write to the Minister via the Transport and Main Roads Department at: TMR@ministerial.qld.gov.au