Minimum rider age limit increased

Kids children Don’t ever sit on another rider’s bike Jump Start beginner child age minimum

The minimum rider age for South Australians will be raised by two years with some concessions, but they have dodged a plan for mandatory hi-vis vests as in Victoria.

Around the nation it is getting tougher and tougher for young people to get motorcycle licences with Queensland even requiring them to first hold a car licence for a year.

The Australian trend to make it more difficult for younger riders runs contrary to Europe.

In Germany, the minimum rider age has recently been lowered from 16 to 15 while the moped and restricted motorcycle licence (up to 125cc) minimum age in Latvia and Estonia is 14; 15 in France, Czech Republic, Spain; and 16 in Portugal, Romania.

These countries believe that getting teenagers on to motorcycles teaches them a sense of vulnerability and roadcraft before they are let loose on larger bikes or cars.

SA Police Minister Corey Wingard said they would introduce the new bill on graduated motorcycle licensing in the next few months.

Minimum age

The Minister said that last year there were 17 fatal motorcycle crashes in SA with 11 aged under 31 while the youngest was 16.

How does increasing the minimum age have anything to do with those figures, except for maybe that one fatality?

He also says that between 2014-18 young motorcycle riders were over-represented in serious crash data with 10% involving riders aged 15-19, 11% involving riders aged 20-24 and 10% riders 25-29.

So those over 29 represented 69% of serious crashes!

In fact, national statistics from 1995 to 2019 show a steady decrease in fatalities among under 30-year-old riders from 562 in the five-year period from 1995 to ’99 to 312 from 2015 to ’19.

Over the past five years, under 30s have not had the largest number of fatalities, being overtaken for the first time by over 50s with 323 deaths.

This could be the result of tougher licensing laws.

However, it could also be due to the fact that the number of young riders getting licenses has declined while the number of returned riders has increased.

The statistical trends are similar in all states including Queensland and South Australia where under-30s fatalities have halved since 1995.

New rules

The new SA rules will allow various exclusions for students, workers and regional residents.

For example, regional resident aged 16 and 17 can get a restricted motorcycle learner’s permit to travel to tertiary education, vocational education and training or for work.

Also 17-year-olds with a current provisional car licence can get a motorcycle learner’s permit.

There will also be a night curfew on under 25s from midnight to 5am unless the rider has an exemption which is in line with current rules for p-plate drivers.

Rider advocacy group Ride to Review says the restrictions could have been worse.

Rode to Review Tim Kelly learn licence licensing plans incorrect
Tim Kelly of Ride to Review

Spokesman Tim Kelly says they worked hard with the government to secure the concessions and to avoid the planned mandatory hi-vests.

Full details of the new Bill have not yet been released, but previous recommendations included: displaying correct plates, restricting pillions, mandatory carriage of licence, zero blood alcohol, a lower demerit point threshold for disqualification and no mobile phones.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) motorcycle spokesman Rhys Griffiths says tougher licensing laws across the nation have put the motorcycle industry under “more pressure than we’ve ever had in the past”.

He says the tougher licensing laws have dramatically increased the price of obtaining a motorcycle licence and may have led to an increase in unlicensed riding.

6 Comments

  1. I believe it would a good move to lower the age for learner motorcyclists. Saying that, I also believe that younger riders should be restricted to the speeds they can do for longer. It would seem young people do not have the skills to properly evaluate risk, consequently they will put themselves into dangerous situations more often then more mature riders, speaking very generally, yes there a are very sensible young people and very stupid old people. My reasoning is that the younger (within reason) you can expose people to road use, the more rapidly they will become accustom to the road conditions and ultimately become safer riders earlier. It is also better for the environment to have people riding motorcycles than driving cars, and less opportunity exists for younger people to be transporting their friends about and trying to impress them with stupid behavior when they are operating a motorcar. I also agree with the above, that accidents involving motorcycles rarely endanger the lives of other road users. Finally I feel the low cost of running a motorcycle is a great alternative for younger people who are not normally flushed with cash, so a motorcycle becomes more attractive to them as a legitimate form of transport and not just a fun machine.

  2. This bit about Queensland having to have a car licence for a year before you can get your bike licence , the truth of the matter is it should be the other way round for all states , you should have to get your bike licence and ride for a year before you get a car licence , that would make the roads safer .

  3. Like climate change what they say has nothing to do with facts reality or what they actually want.
    The apparent intent is to stop people being free the more control over people they have the happier they are.
    Motorcycles are thee safest vehicles on the road, have you ever heard of a bike crashing through a daycare centre and killing children?
    To harm anyone other than the rider and a pillion if any you have to pull off some kind of miracle.
    If more people rode the death toll would plummet.
    But bikes don’t need to speed to get anywhere and their plates are harder to photograph so what these bozos fear is not people dying from crashes but losing revenue and the sense of superiority of not letting people be free.

  4. The politicians & bureaucrats of Australia are mad & the European countries have the right idea. Give young people the right to get a small motorcycle licence as young as possible & learn that car drivers ARE out to kill you. If you survive you will be a much better car driver and appreciate that you always have to drive in a defensive manner.

  5. Stats like thise in this article can be misleading. The percentageor number of accidents attributed to each age group should be compared with the percentage of active riders in that category. For example if 10% of accidents occur in 15-19 year olds this would be bad if 5% of active riders were 15-19, but good if 20% were. So all thesecstats are hard to interpret. This is especially so as there is really no way of knowing the numbers of active riders. Anyway this is real big brother stuff. Accidents rarely injure non riders only riders In my opinion authorities should focus their misplaced over-regulating enthusiasm on car accidents.

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