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.
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.”
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.