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Should motorcycle rider age be lowered?

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While some states want potential riders to first obtain a car licence before getting a bike licence, Germany has lowered its riding age from 16 to 15.

Riding age varies throughout the world with Kosovo allowing riders and drivers on the road from the age of 12!

Lower licence age?

While that might seem extreme, several countries have restricted licences for riders aged in their mid teens.

The notion is that if they can ride a bicycle on the road without a licence, why not let them ride a low-powered moped, scooter or motorcycle?

That way they would learn valuable road craft lessons before graduating to a higher-powered motorcycle or other vehicle.

The German move from 16 to 15 follows a six-year trial.

They argue that since it is legal to work from 15, young people should be allowed access to a vehicle to get to work, especially in rural communities with little or no public transport.

It would also help get millennials enthused about riding motorbikes!

Germany also plans to allow any person with a full car licence to ride a motorcycle that can travel no faster than 100km/h (62mph).

It is a little more generous than moped laws in Queensland and WA where car drivers can ride a bike up to 50cc without having to pass a special test.

Even the kids will get in on the free action at the Yamaha display

Car licence first?

You can get a motorcycle learner’s permit from 15 years 9 months in the ACT, 16 years in New Zealand, Western Australia and Northern Territory, 16 years/6 months NSW and Tasmania, 17 South Australia, 18 in Victoria and in Queensland you need a car licence for a year first.

South Australia is considering a licensing review that recommends lifting the ages for learner riders from 16 to 18 and full-licensed riders from 20 to 21.5.

While Queensland requires learner riders to first hold a provisional, P1, P2 or open car licence for a year, South Australia also suggests that riders must have a learner plate for a year.

It runs contrary to practices in some countries where 15-year-olds can first ride a two-wheeler up to 50cc before getting a car or motorcycle licence.

Moped and restricted motorcycle licence ages in Europe are: 14 in Latvia and Estonia; 15 in France, Czech Republic, Spain; and 16 in Portugal, Romania.

Licence age in most of Europe is 17 or 18 years.

In the USA, South Dakota allows 14-year-olds to get a learner’s permit and their full licence six months later. However, there are restrictions on engine sizes.

In most American states 15-year-olds can get a learner’s permit, a restricted licence at 16 and six months to a year later they can get a licence.

Iowa and Kansas allow 14-year-olds to get a learner’s permit but they have a two-year wait to get a restricted licence.

Mopeds don’t require a licence in the USA.

  1. I think the most practical and useful method to have the majority of car drivers truely understand the issues facing two wheeled riders is to have them experience it first hand!

    In other words: to walk (ride) in someone else’s shoes!

    So it makes sense to first require a moped (e.g. postie bike, scooter)* license for a year and only then allow a small car (and low power/weight ratio etc) and then as long as lic is ‘clean’ a large (5+ seats, heavy 4WD. power/sports etc type) car.

    This hopefully will encourage a gradual introduction to traffic – perhaps daytime only, then night, then highway and lastly freeways!

    I think it could deliver many economic and social benefits!

    Add a basic road craft license for e-bikes if you like; I have mixed feelings here ref cost benefit of licence and size/cost of bureaucracy/big brother.
    So lets get with it – 21st century – only place to see that in Australia is on TV (SBS most likely).

    On the flip side some may try to argue that to understand and be safe as a rider one needs to experience car driving to see how hard it is to see bike riders – IMHO this is a fallacy of grave proportions as it exposes riders to inexperienced drivers first. Instead ‘grow’ experienced riders and drivers through natural progressive incremental training/experience.

    Walk before you ride before you drive before you fly before operate a speedboat and so on!

    Oh and while I’m on my soapbox lets add basic roadside first aid as a prerequisite to get a learners – or if politically hard to get into law lets lobby insurance companies to give discounts to those that have it! And discount car insurance to those that also have a bike license!

  2. I genuinely believe, as NSW has had for years (live in Vic now) someone should be able to ride BEFORE they can drive a car unsupervised. While a lot may get bike ‘L’s’ first, and then car ‘Ps’ it teaches valuable road crafts, and as bikes have a clutch and most people drive automatic cars they would learn about ‘engine characteristics’ and how this ties in with control better and earlier.
    Have no issue with Car ‘L’s being low like VIC @ 16 yo but as long as you cannot get P’s in a car until after you have ‘L’s on a bike.
    Suggest would be good for both road safety (via awareness) as well as the bike industry. Only disclaimer, the 70kph speed limit in some states for L platers on bikes is ludicrous on the open road.

    It also still seems stupid that all states in our one country have such differing rules & regulations.

  3. Why not encourage motorcycle riding at a younger age? If you survive you will be a far better car driver as you quickly learn while riding a motorcycle that you are not invincible. A lot of young drivers seem to have the mistaken idea that a car is safe in a crash, they find out too late that it isn’t.

  4. There are people called psychologists who have for years been creating various tests to determine various aspects about a persons abilities and weaknesses at various tasks.
    Some of these tests can even be done on a computer. I believe that the roads would be a lot safer if all potential license applicants had to pass a few relevant tests to determine ability temperament and mental acuity than just being of a certain age.
    After all there are so many drivers and some riders for who being called psycho moron asshole is a compliment.

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