Ben O’Keefe on his BMW R 1200 GSA - summons
Ben O’Keefe on his BMW R 1200 GSA

Police summons rider over ‘defunct law’

Five months after the offence of standing while riding was deleted from the road rules, Queensland Police have issued a court summons to a rider fined last October.

Ben O’Keefe, a Qantas pilot, of Brisbane was standing up to stretch his legs while riding his BMW R 1200 GSA at the Gap in October, 2014, when he was picked up by an unmarked car.

At the time, the Queensland road rules stated that riders must be seated, facing forwards with one leg either side of the bike and both feet on the footpegs. The rules were changed on February 1 but may remain in other states.

This follows the social and mainstream media outrage over rider Jake Sloman being fined $146 for taking his feet off the pegs to stretch his legs in January 2014. Police Commissioner Ian Stewart, himself a rider, admitted he also stretched his legs and the media published photos of bikes cops taking their feet off the pegs.

jake Sloman fined for taking his feet off the pegs - summons
jake Sloman fined for taking his feet off the pegs

In the wake of the media furore, the rules were changed to allow riders to stretch their legs and stand up, however it may be too late for Ben.

After receiving his fine in October, Ben wrote to the police and said he gets cramps in his hamstrings unless he stands every 15 minutes.

He pointed out that his hands were covering the controls at all times, the GSA was designed to be ridden standing, and that he had attended two advanced riding courses which taught standing as part of motorcycle control.

He received no reply until the summons to appear in court at the end of August arrived last week, some five months after the road rule was sensibly amended.

“It’s ridiculous,” he says. “I thought they had dropped it but we all know that occasionally a motorcyclist has to stand up after long rides to stay fresh, prevent cramps and the GSA is designed to be ridden safely in the standing up position.

“I’m a Qantas pilot, so I’m very safety orientated.

“What a waste of taxpayer dollars. I will challenge them. I’m not going to give in.”

Ben's immaculately turned-out GSA - summons
Ben’s immaculately turned-out GSA

Queensland Police Road Policing Command Inspector Ron Barry says Ben’s offence “involves different circumstances” to those involving Jake and the police will go ahead with the court hearing.

“As the matter is before the court, I cannot discuss the specifics of the allegations, however, they will be available to the rider and other people present during the court proceedings,” he says.

While the rule has been changed in Queensland to allow riders to “remove a foot from the footrests to stretch a leg or raise themselves from the seat when riding on uneven road surfaces”, the old rules may style apply in other states as it is rule 271 in the Australian Road Rules February 2012.

That means it affects every Australian rider.

AUSTRALIAN ROAD RULES – REG 271—Riding on motor bikes

  • (1) The rider of a motor bike that is moving (other than a rider who is walking beside and pushing a motor bike), or the rider of a motor bike that is stationary but not parked, must—
  • (a) sit astride the rider’s seat facing forwards; and
  • (b) if the motor bike is moving—keep at least 1 hand on the handlebars; and
  • (c) if the motor bike is moving—keep both feet on the footrests designed for use by the rider of the motor bike, unless the motor bike is moving at less than 10 kilometres per hour and either—
  • (i) the rider is manoeuvring the motor bike in order to park the motor bike; or
  • (ii) the motor bike is decelerating to come to a stop; or
  • (iii) the motor bike is accelerating from being stopped.

  1. As a resident of Queensland I along with other riders have to put up with stupid road rules derived by bureaucrats who never rode a motorbike in their life. Perhaps we need a new logo for our number plates – QLD “State of Stupidity”. I just get on with riding as safely as I can with as much awareness to other traffic as possible.

  2. I don’t understand why he was standing up in The Gap (a suburban area of Brisbane) sure when out on the open road after 2-3 hours in the saddle standing up is fine, or on a rough country road yep all good, but in sealed a suburban street? We really need more details such as where in The Gap? When it is all said & done he broke the law as applicable on the day. The change of law was not made retrospective, and at the time the police pinged him no change in the law was contemplated. The fact he is a QANTAS Pilot is irrelevant. It is in the hands of the Police Prosecution Branch now, nothing to do with the Traffic Cop. I too ride a BMW R1200GSA and stand to stretch when riding long distances, or to cross Cattle Grids but only when I am alone on the road, I certainly don’t think it is appropriate to stand when riding in suburbia.

  3. Hope the Magistrate see it as waste of Courts time and dismiss it. The police should not continue the matter where it does not serve a purpose or is seen by other motorist as bringing negative attention to how road policing is conducted.

  4. Years, ago I attended an advanced riding course and the instructor explained why standing up on the pegs is the best thing to in certain situations. Standing up lowers the centre of gravity and aids rider control. I would go to court over this and stand there and tell the magistrate that is why riders do it.

    1. While I agree standing up on the pegs offers more control in some situations and is still safe in circumstances for stretching your leg muscles; I find it difficult to believe that it lowers your centre of gravity.
      Centre of gravity is a point somewhere between the bike’s CoG and the rider’s CoG. If the rider stands up the distance between the two CoG’s is going to increase and the the combined CoG can only go one way. That is in the direction of the rider – up. I love physics.

      1. Yep.. the laws of physics don’t change. If you think standing up lowers the COG.. then go stand on the top of a tall step ladder and see how stable that is compared to being half way up.

      2. This is something that is often argued about. If the rider stands up, grips the bike firmly between his legs, and remains rigidly attached to the bike the centre of gravity will be higher than if the rider is sitting down. But the purpose of standing up is to allow the bike to float underneath the rider. The riders weight is transferred to the footpegs which are lower than the seat. So for the purpose of manoeuvring the bike over rough terrain, standing up lowers the centre of gravity. Obviously some people have a greater knowledge of physics that they do of riding a motorcycle.

        1. Not so.. ask a professor of physics who also rides bikes. Certainly the bike can “float” under you, and you do get the chance to use your mass to move the bike around. What the trials riders call ‘Body English” but once you raise your mass higher.. you do raise the entire COG of the entire unit, that is bike and rider.

          1. We are not talking about the combined mass of the bike and rider. The CoG of the bike alone is lower than that of the bike with a seated rider. When you stand up you can separate the mass of the rider from the bike to a significant degree. That means the bike can be allowed to rock back and forth and pivot side to side a significant amount without being influenced by the extra mass of the rider. The rider can use his mass to manipulate the bike (body English). But at the same time the mass that he is manipulating (the bike) has a lower CoG than if he were seated and the mass of the bike and rider had to move together. Watch a motocross rider going flat out over a section of whoops. The bike rocks back and forth while the orientation of the rider remains fairly constant. If he sat down the rocking mass would be greater and it would be higher.

            Being a professor of physics does not make someone a professor of everything. You are applying very simple physics principles to a very complex issue with infinite variables. This matter is only ever talked about when discussing serious dirt riding techniques. We are not suggesting that road riders would benefit from riding standing up. If you don’t ride in really rough conditions or over challenging terrain you probably won’t understand it.

  5. What a load of $hit. It is PURE revenue raising again. It is beyond a joke how Australia has the most absurd laws JUST to make money. The ONLY way this will be changed is pure public outcry as per usual instead of common sense.

  6. just a note for you a process bound magistrate may feel obliged to find you guilty as you broke a law at the time. They do have the option though to decide on an alternative fine. I have successfully argued that it is up to the courts to discourage this type of systematic inappropriate disposition of resources. I was found guilty and fined $1.00. Good luck and fight them to the end. Then publish the result far and wide. They can live by their stupid process bound approach enforcement.

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