Riders are staying home amid fears that modifications they have made to their bike might land them an infringement notice if pulled up by the over-zealous police.
This is particularly the case in Queensland in the current climate of the so-called “war on bikies” and the harassment of recreational riders with frequent roadside interceptions.
Police are not usually familiar with all the rules governing vehicle compliance, but have been issuing notices anyway.
Reports have been coming in that police seem to be concentrating on loud exhausts and properly stickered helmets. But there are other minor issues that have caught plod’s attention.
Riders who did not wish to be identified have claimed they have received non-compliance fines for piddling issues such as not having the rear seat fitted.
In Queensland, you pay about half the registration fee if you have a solo seat bike or have it properly converted to a solo seat bike. However, it must be done correctly which means also removing the footpegs and drilling out the thread.
You can understand if you cop a fine for not complying, but it seems strange that police would fine you for temporarily removing the rear seat on a dual-seat registered bike. After all, you’re not trying to escape paying the full amount of rego.
Some riders of Harleys do it on occasions for aesthetics and adventure bike riders do it to preserve the condition of the rear seat or to use the space to tie down luggage. The BMW R 1200 GS even has a dedicated rack under the seat for this purpose.
However, by the letter of the law, you are not permitted to take the seat off unless you also remove the foot pegs, even if you are not trying to claim the cheaper rego.
Let’s face it, most riders add accessories to their bike without ever checking whether they are legal or not.
Some are seemingly innocuous, such as plastic headlight protectors, but check and see if it has the words “Off road use only” stamped on it. If so, you could be in trouble.
You can check the legality of your modifications and accessories by searching the website of your local transport authority for “vehicle standards legislation”.
Usually there is a list of accessories or modifications you can “self assess”.
These include things such as tyres, wheels etc, so long as they comply with the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications.
Then there are other more major modifications that require a mechanic, engineer or suitably qualified and accredited person to issue a compliance approval.
Vehicle standards can be a complex matter that even the supposed experts have difficulty fathoming, let alone a beat cop out on patrol for big bad bikies.
If you want to be totally safe, get your mechanic or qualified authority to check any modifications and issue a certificate of approval and keep it with you when you ride.
I have included a photograph of a BMW that has been heavily modified. It’s an absolutely gorgeous piece of equipment, but it would be ordered off the road in Queensland and many other jurisdictions.
How any non-compliance issues can you see?
For a start the exhaust may be an issue and it doesn’t seem to have a number plate, rear fender or mirrors.
But ain’t she a beauty! So beautiful, here it is again in a larger format. Click on it to see an even larger image.