Police drop fine for standing on pegs

Incorrect fine Tim Byrne

South Australian police have dropped a rider’s fine for standing on the footpegs after another review of the case. 

Adelaide rider Tim Byrne (pictured above with the infringement notice) says he was fined for standing up while riding through some roadworks in January 2018 despite the practice being legalised in South Australia in 2016 and added to the Australian Road Rules this year. 

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Tim and Motorbike Writer contacted the police pointing out their error, yet they refused to withdraw the fine.

Motorbike Writer then set Tim up with Maurice Blackburn Lawyers who took on the case and informed Tim yesterday that a police supervisor had decided to drop the fine.


“Because it didn’t go to court there still is no precedent for other riders to follow, Tim says.

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers principal lawyer Malcolm Cummings says they took on the defence on a pro bono (free) basis as a “matter of principle”.

“The infringement notice in our view had no basis,” Malcolm says.

Malcolm Cumming - judge melting tar easter
Malcolm Cumming

“There was nothing in the circumstances to give ground to a conclusion that it was not ‘safe for the rider’ to stand.

“We made a further request for review of the notice setting out the facts and the Road Rules and advising that we had instructions to defend the matter in Court should the notice not be withdrawn.

“Happily in this instance common sense prevailed and the notice was withdrawn.”

Readers urged challenge

Tim says he is glad he took the advice of Motorbike Writer readers who profoundly urged him to challenged the fine rather than paying up.

“But I was been driven by the support of (Motorbike Writer) readers to challenge the fine.

“It is the responsibility of all riders to challenge incorrect fines.

“I was angry that they’d done this and I was trying to make other riders aware,” he says.

South Australian rider representative group spokesman Tim Kelly of South Australian riders’ representative group Ride to Review said he was disappointed that SAPOL were not aware of the laws of the state.

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

“I think it’s great to see that common sense has prevailed in this matter,” he says.

“The rider and those involved in taking this matter to task with the SA judicial system have demonstrated what can be achieved when you stand up for your rights.

“RTR also hope that in the future, riders can employ this technique without fear of being issued an infringement.”

Safety reasonsmillions roadworks rain

Tim Byrne says he only stood up in the roadworks to see what was happening up ahead.

“I stood up for safety reasons,” he says.

“I wanted to see what the traffic was doing. There was a zig zag with concrete barriers and every day you go through it was different.”

The female police officer told him he was being fined for standing up although the offence notice said “fail to ride in a correct position”.

“I wasn’t tailgating. I always leave a good distance. And I wasn’t zigzagging. I was in the centre of the lane and not in a position to spilt a lane.” 

He also says the queue of traffic was backing up and doing no more than the 40km/h posted roadworks speed.

Tim has a low-level traffic offence history: 11-12km/h over the speed limit a couple of years ago and a  2010/11 speed camera fine for 65km/h on a 60 zone. 

“That’s just two incidences of low-level speeding in the past eight years,” he says.

“If I had been done for speeding, I’d have sucked it up.”

62 Comments

  1. I liked the ladder analogy. It’s true but it only proves the point of lOWERING the centre of gravity when you stand up on a bike. On a ladder your body’s centre of gravity remains the same regardless of height, however as you climb the ladder the combined centre of gravity of the ladder and the person rises as the ladder is climbed.
    The higher your feet are on the ladder the less stable it is and the harder it is to keep upright if it starts to slip sideways. Climbing a ladder can be compared with motorbike pegs being the first “rung”, so all your weight on the pegs is more stable than all your weight on the seat – “second rung”.

    Anyone who rides competently knows this. we are constantly shifting the CG of our bikes when we corner by lateral and linear body movements and of course increasing and decreasing the pressure on the pegs or either peg to maintain, choose or shift your line. Had an experience with a pillion on one of our bikes(400kg Ultra Classic) a few weeks ago. He is a competent rider and couldn’t help putting increased pressure on the inside peg as we cornered. Even though it was only a few kg and a miniscule percentage of the overall weight of around 580kg the very slight movement of the CG downwards and into the corner perceptibly changed the line of the bike to the extent I had to ask him “what the bloody hell are you doing”.

  2. As Mark posted, have a look at the linked article, the “fact” that most motorcyclists do not seem the be able to understand is their own Centre of Gravity, which on most humans is a bit above your hips. Standing or sitting does not alter your CoG much, but standing DOES raise your CoG in relation to the bike’s CoG. The confusion as amply demonstrated by the comments above is that everyone knows that is it easier to control a bike at slower speeds if you stand up. When standing and moving your weight (your CoG) slightly from side to side and back and forward in relation the the bike’s CoG, this assists manoeuvrability without have to put in much steering movement. Try riding at 15kmh with your feet lifted to the height of the top of the tank and see how stable the bike feels.

    1. Martin, you do realise that shifting weight does not steer your bike. When the bike is moving steering results from counter steer pressure applied to the bikes handle bars – which induces a lean. I read the attached article and it clearly mention that CoG is lowered when you stand up. It may not be as great as some of us think – but the CoG does drop down when one stands up. I have tried riding at 15 kph and slower and I don’t find your remarks at all convincing. What you appear to be talking about is two separate CoG – the bikes and the riders. One goes up when they stand and the other goes down when the weight is transferred from the seat down to the pegs:

      “When sitting your 100kg is on the seat, say 750mm up from the road, when you standing on the pegs all your 100kg is about 250mm from the road, lower COG, simples’”

  3. It is quite a pity that this case was not taken to court , inspite of there being expense.
    This is because of the need to set a prescient with respect to police behaviour in this circumstance. For not only does the law need be clarified but police need to be shown they cannot issue fines without regard to the laws , and in their circumstance they are required to know the law.
    This not having gone to court , because the police department realised the invalidity of the fine may sound well however , for the police it avoids a judgement against them and the opportunity to deploy the same response against other riders whom may not be so fortunate as to have resources to oppose the fine.

    1. From my experience the majority of police, armed thugs, consider that they have the right to do whatever they want regardless of the laws of the land and do so with total impunity

  4. If you want a law that is blatantly revenue raising look at the South Australian law for “speeding in emergency zones”. Every other state that has brought it in have a 40kph limit but South Australia brings in 25kph. I have no problem with the law in principle but 25 kph? Really? Why can’t the various states at least get some rules consistent? The other issue is the proliferation of flashing lights on vehicles nowadays, how do you know what actually constitutes an emergency zone?

  5. Stupid fine and blatant revenue raising at its finest as usual. One point made though is suggesting riders challenge unfair or incorrect fines. Great in principal but in most cases will cost more than the fine is worth to challenge which is very wrong in my opinion. Had several fines over the years that where just the local Plods doing their best to catch up on the fines they had missed out on. I am not anti Police just anti bullying and blatant revenue raising hiding behind the law..

  6. Dunno about South Australia but here in Sydney many road surfaces are appallingly bumpy and standing up is one way to avoid smashing your nuts up against the tank.

  7. Mark, in your article you quoted a supposed expert who said:

    “If you consider both the bike and the rider as a rigid object then no. It raises the centre of gravity,” he says.

    This statement is and appears to be confusing many people. When the rider stands, they are not “rigidly” connected to the bike. Therein lies the point of confusion. Its the fact that the riders body is free to move in whichever direction it likes, that lends credence to the “lowering the point at which the riders weight is applied”. My interpretation is that this in fact means that the applied mass of the rider is lowered from the seat down to the footpegs. My interpretation is that this would in turn move the bikes centre of gravity lower, simply because the resultant mass applied to the motorcycle is lower.

    What happens when the rider stands and suddenly moves backwards – it is my interpretation that this would also affect the Centre of Gravity.

    Perhaps we need to seek a Youtube Clip or episode of Myhtbusters to resolve this issue. Perhaps, as has been suggested, mine and others interpretation of CoG and what it really is may be the source of conflict from those who oppose the Lowers the CoG hypothesis.

    I sense that another article may be required. As I think you may have noticed, it went pear shaped on Facebook yesterday, despite the fact that my remarks has attracted 56 likes to date, thus indicating that my interpretation aligns with that of the majority of riders.

    1. The comment about lowering the centre of gravity by standing depends on how you stand. If you stand with your knees locked so that your legs are in effect rigid.

  8. If you rode a bike you would know that J K is correct in that it assists in balance and control of the bike by standing on the pegs; especially at low speeds.

  9. I don’t see the relavence of the police officer’s gender, can’t see it would have stipulated it being a male if it had been. Glad the fine was dropped though

      1. Do you mean that the word female is an irrelevant adjective?
        I see it as relevant when the best suited people aren’t getting the job in Defence and Police purely because they are not correctly biologically equipped for the job according to the current social times.

    1. Couldn’t agree more Amanda. Heard on news other day that a female police officer had been assaulted and ended up in hospital. The gender of the police officer doesn’t matter and should not have been reported especially if the women are going to get gender equality.

  10. On a rider training course many years ago the instructor gave us a long and detailed explanation of why standing on the pegs lowers the bikes Centre of Gravity. That’s why moto cross riders ride standing at slow speeds and over jumps. It aids bike stability. It’s safer to stand than to sit. Believe it or not. Non motorcycle riding cops need to be shot for their displays of ignorance.

    1. Most ridiculous thing I’ve read. So be adding more weight higher, yourve made center of gravity lower? Well scienced…..perhaps get a 10 for ladder to stand on and some ropes to steer and the center of gravity will be road level! Genius!!!

      1. When you stand on the pegs your weight is off the seat, so it’s lower.
        Most dirt riding is done standing because you have better control over bumps, jjumps and logs. John and most other people have the wrong idea.

      2. Standing on the pegs lowers the centre of gravity of the bike. The weight of the rider shifts lower onto the pegs, being lower than the seat. Little weight of the body (when sitting) is on the pegs as compared to standing. The word “bike” is the corner stone of this argument.

        Enjoy your day

      3. By standing you separate yourself from the bike, so the bike in isolation has a lower centre of gravity and is more manoeuvrable underneath you.

      4. John is correct..
        Standing on the pegs puts the entire riders weight all on the pegs, lower down on the bike, lowering the centre of gravity.
        When sitting most of the riders weight is on the seat, higher up.
        If you were to stand on the seat, different story.
        Basic physics, so yeah, ‘well scienced’

      5. Weight is transferred to pegs rather than spread on pegs and seat. It is genius but that is not something that fits your lack of knowledge about riding safety tips.

      6. The reason the centre of gravity is lower standing on the pegs is because all of the riders weight is on the pegs instead of some of it being on the (higher) seat.

      7. The reason the centre of gravity is lower standing on the pegs is because all of the riders weight is on the pegs instead of some of the riders weight being on the (higher) seat.

          1. Mark, from the article you linked:
            “If you consider both the bike and the rider as a rigid object then no. It raises the centre of gravity,” he says. “However, when standing you are not a fixed object on the bike.”
            Nuff said.

      8. John, you are missing the point! By standing up, you are disconnecting yourself from THE BIKE and lowering the bike’s centre of gravity, thereby improving it’s stability. While sitting on the bike you are part of the bike, but off the bike you are disconnected from it. Your legs become a second suspension system in much the same way as a jockeys legs do. If you watch a top level racer you will see that the rider spends very little time actually sitting on the seat for the very same reason. The bike’s suspension only has to deal with the weight and dynamics of the bike, leaving the rider to deal with the rest.

      9. The weight is not added higher as the weight is centered on the pegs not on the seat its s matter of where the weight is leveraged from

      10. Read it again. If you’re standing in the pegs your weight is on the pegs not the seat. That would mean the centre of gravity has, say with me “lowered”

      11. John, not so ridiculous..
        Body Weight on the seat is higher than weight only on the pegs (lower)…body weight on the seat is fixed and part of the bike vs weight on pegs, body weight is now articulated to the bike at a lower point..ie the bike can move side to side between legs…so cog is lower

      12. John…..Standing on the footpegs applies your entire weight to the bike at the peg position at the bottom of the bike frame. Sitting on the seat applies most of your weight to the bike at the seat position at the top of the frame. So this effects bike CoG and bike dynamics, as well as offering visibility improvement and damping impacts to back over rough terrain…….you know, Science!

      13. John, before you shoot your mouth off, how about you actually know what you’re talking about. Standing up on the pegs changes the centre of gravity by shifting your weight from the seat to the pegs, which is a lower point. While your body mass moves higher in the air, your legs act like suspension and allows the body to react to bumps in the road with less disruption to the path of the bike.

      14. It’s about where the weight of the rider is coupled with the bike: when standing it is through the foot pegs – much lower.
        The CoG of the whole thing (bike and rider) is higher but adding a degree of freedom between the bike and rider and dropping to coupling point means the whole thing is much more stable.

      15. Might want to study up on your physics before commenting mate.
        Standing on your foot pegs lowers your CoG because your whole weight is connected to you bike through your feet which is lower than your ass when you are sitting in the bike. It’s the same as when a 10m high crane picks up a weight, the moment the weight is even a mm above ground the CoG moves to the top of the crane

      16. John: You obviously know nothing of motorcycles. Putting the whole riders weight onto the foot pegs rather than mostly on the west does lower the centre of gravity and make the bike more stable.

      17. Yeah he’s got it half wrong – it does raise the centre of gravity, but at the same time it increases control authority (ie the ability to change direction and balance).

        So the bike is more unstable in a static sense but has more dynamic stability as the standing rider has more ability to correct for balance.

      18. John, by removing your weight from the seat and putting most onto the footpegs (a small amount of your weight remains on the handle bars), you are lowering your centre of gravity. Sorry mate but you are wrong and the previous correspondent you criticised is correct.

      19. When sitting, where is your weight put? On the seat.
        FYI, the seat is HIGHER than the footpegs. Standing up, your weight is on the footpegs. Let me reiterate, these are situated BELOW the seat. The overall weight of you AND the bike is distributed at a point lower to the ground, making you more stable.

      20. John Karmouchr is spot on.
        When you are sitting, most of your weight is through the seat, and a small amount through the pegs.
        Whereas when you stand, all your weight is transferred through the pegs which is much lower than the seat. Therefore lowering your centre of gravity.
        Lower centre of gravity reduces the effect of lateral forces because of the reduced torque. Torque = force X distance. Therefore the same force applied to less distance (lower centre of gravity) results in less lateral torque.

      21. Raises the centre of gravity, in a motorcross situation it increases the shock absorbtion and leverage you have over the bike, but safer? Thats a cloudy answer

      22. John, yours is the most ridiculous and uneducated!

        When seated on a bike, the weight of the rider is on the seat and at seat height.

        When the rider stands up, his weight is now on the foot pegs. this lowers the center of gravity.

        Also standing allows a rider to put more weight on either peg. This is turn helps the bike steer in that direction allowing for quick direction change in the case of an obstacle.

        Seems that your grasp of riding a motorbike is flawed or you don’t ride.

      23. By standing up your weight is on your feet at the bottom of the bike pivoting from the pegs. Sit down and you are fixed to the bike with your weight much higher at seat height.
        Try to stay stationary on a push bike and you’ll find it much easier and safer standing on the pedals than sitting on the seat.
        A 10 year old can figure that one out! No ladder needed.

      24. John.. where is the weight being applied to the bike.. the footpegs.. not the seat… and thus lower down on the bike

        i suggest maybe some physics lessons?

      25. I am sorry John but you are totally out of order here with your sarcastic comment.
        John Karmouchr is correct about standing on your foot pegs to give better control of your bike at lower speeds. It does transfer your weight to the level of the footpegs which is much lower than the seat (where your weight is when sitting on the bike). It also allows you to “peg weight steer” by transferring your weight left and right to aid steering and also allows you to move your transfer your weight to the back of the bike when going down hill and transfer weight to the front when going up hills.
        I am not so sure about shooting cops (despite their individual level of ignorance), but the police should be aware valid riding techniques.
        If you don’t believe me or John Karmouchr, just ask Toby Price or any experienced, Enduro, Moto Cross or Adventure rider.

      26. John, when standing more weight is on the bikes pegs and none on the seat. Therefore the centre of gravity is definitely lowered. Before ripping into other people, perhaps check facts and do sor research first!

      27. Lowers the BIKEs centre of gravity. Puts the weight through the pegs instead of on the seat at the top. Much easier to balance standing, much easier to move and avoid obstacles standing up. All enduro, motorcross and trials slow work is done standing on the pegs for this reason. Been doing it for 30 years for that reason. Physics doesn’t lie, go learn some before commenting again.

      28. Stand on the pegs and the centre of gravity is at peg level less weight on the handlebars. Sit down on the saddle and the centre of gravity is at the level of your butt, less weight on the handlebars.

      29. John have you ever gone over a jump or bump significant to throw you off? Standing allows for extra compensation of recoil as your legs act as a secondary set of springs absorbing the impact and maintaining balance. As for the centre of gravity being lower I’m not sure. But the ladder comment was facetious.

      30. Effective center of mass for manouvering is lower John. Trials riding is a perfect example of what were all on about. I usually stand at low speed on unpredictable surfaces.

      31. Have another think about that,, by standing on the foot pegs, he is moving his weight from the seat LOWER TO THE PEGS.

      32. When sitting John, your 100kg is on the seat, say 750mm up from the road, when you standing on the pegs all your 100kg is about 250mm from the road, lower COG, simples’

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