Police have been incorrectly fining riders for wide handlebars, unaware the Australian Design Rules increased the maximum width in December 2015 from 900mm to 1100mm.
Caboolture rider Dean Brown has had his fine waived by the Deception Bay police, but Motorcycle Riders Association of Queensland president Chris Mearns knows of four other incorrect infringement notices and believes many more throughout the nation may also have copped wrong fines.
“For years police have loved this handlebar rule and have been using it as a target, particularly for cruiser riders,” says Chris who recommends fined riders do not pay, but question their fine.
He is also calling on police to refund incorrect fines and return any demerit points for fines on wide handlebars since December.
“In December 2015, ADR 57 was revised, but there has been very little communication of that revision,” he says.
“It is now apparent that the police do not even know it has been revised.”
A Transport and Main Roads Department notice states: “Approved Persons and AIS will no longer be notified about changes to the vehicle standards by post. It is the responsibility of each Approved Person and AIS to check this webpage regularly and ensure they are familiar with any changes that may affect them and the function they perform.”
Chris is calling on transport departments to continue notifying police of any changes such as the handlebars ruling.
“The average motorcycle rider has no chance of knowing all the rules,” he says. There is no communication to the average Joe of an ADR change.”
He believes Harley-Davidson, Victory and Indian lobbied for the change because they build motorcycles with standard bars that are wider than the previous maximum.
The change in handlebar rules also meant the maximum motorcycle vehicle width was changed from 1m to 1.1m. However, there is no change to the height which is limited to 380mm from the lowest part of the handlebar grip to the top of the seat.
Chris says the problem goes deeper because there are three documents affecting vehicle standards: ADR, the Road Management Act (vehicle standards) in each state and the National Code of Practice for Vehicle Construction.
“In all three documents there are particular things that do not match,” he says.
“One example is mirrors. In all three they are different in size configuration.
“If you go to the National Code of Practice for light vehicle construction and search for mirrors on motorcycles, the size stipulated is almost as big as the mirrors on a Ford Territory.
“But there are other examples, so we obviously have a problem with laws and standards that get tied together that don’t match because of mismatched and badly written legislation.”