Young riders face age limit and hi-vis

Kids children Don’t ever sit on another rider’s bike Jump Start beginner child age

Young riders face more restrictions as a new paper suggests raising the motorcycle licence age to 18 as well as high-vis clothing and a night curfew for novices.

The South Australian Government is considering the proposals from the University of Adelaide’s Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR) which is based on a 2014 Austroads paper.

Queensland has effectively raised its age limit to 18 by requiring learner riders to hold a car licence for a year and Victoria has a hi-vis use for novices. Neither has resulted in a lower motorcycle toll.

Tim Kelly of South Australian motorcycle representative group Ride to Review who is also on the government’s Motorcycle Reference Group (MRG), says they were handed the proposal after it was leaked to the media.

He says RTR is preparing a response which will be available next week, but it rejects some of the proposals that are not based in research.

Whether the government takes any notice of the group’s response is debatable since the MRG (comprising government officials, police, bike organisations, doctors, road safety campaigners and industry bodies) was given the proposal after it handed to the media.

The proposals may only be in South Australia, but may embolden other states to follow suit.

The uptake of motorcycles in Australia is already waning and such Draconian measures would only further imperil an industry that the FCAI estimates has an annual turnover of $1.8 billion.

Age limitNew Softails million child age

Increasing the learner age in South Australia from 16 to 18 is counterintuitive if it forces would-be riders to get a car licence first.

In Italy, you can get a moped licence at the age of 14. The idea is to instil a sense of safety, road craft and understanding of vulnerability before unleashing a youth on a one-tonne car.

RTR member, safety campaigner and motorcycle crash widow Judith Kuerschner says the age limit is “anti-employment” especially for rural and regional youths.

Hi-visHi-vis vest age

As for the alleged benefits of hi-vis are disputed in several studies.

In fact, University of Melbourne’s Chair of Statistics, Prof Richard Huggins, says he has reviewed several studies on motorcycle conspicuity and “look but fail to see” (SMIDSY – Sorry, Mate I Didn’t See You) accidents.

Richard says there is “sufficient doubt” of the effectiveness of hi-vis to call for a repeal of the Victorian mandatory requirement.

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Judith says any recommendation of mandatory safety clothing is “fraught with danger and potentially expense as there are no recognised safety standards for clothing in this country”.

“Making it mandatory for learners is only a short step to making it mandatory for everyone,” she warns.

Other licensing changesjake Dolan racer and learner rider at AMA training road craft age

Other more sensible proposed changes for learners include a night curfew, no towing, no phone use, auto licence if tested on one, learner permit for six months and wear L plates.

Currently SA novice riders graduate to a full licence by 20, but under the new proposal they would not become fully licensed until 21 years and six months.

The public consultation period continues for another week.

23 Comments

  1. Getting the Government, Roads & Maritime Service in NSW or Vic Roads and the like in other States and Territories, Police, Road Safety groups and Committees that are not “Riders” don’t understand Motorcycles or Motorcycling.
    They generally don’t or can’t understand the “I’m going for a ride”. More than 99.9% of them would not get into their car to “Go for a drive” so they can’t know or understand “I’m just going for a ride, I should be back in 4 or 5 hours”.
    Then these same CAR DRIVERS suggest or make laws that “ALL MOTORCYCLISTS MUST WEAR FLURO” and for not doing so we get 3 points and make a donation of a couple of hundred dollars to the State’s “Consolidated Revenue” as our prise.

    There are to many SMIDSY incidents to continue as we have been. In many cases riders need to gain more skills and practice those skills they already have. Drivers (of cars) need to actually look out that big picture window in the front of their cars and look for Motorcyclists, Pedestrians as well as dogs and cats.
    My view regarding “Wearing Fluro” is that the more visible you are as a rider is good. I do wear a “Fluro Vest” and I ride and I also have my “Driving Lights” on all the time.
    No all riders want to wear Fluro or for that matter many don’t want to wear HD or BMW jackets and the like.

    I believe that research has shown that having lights that look normal to the naked eye yet the mind sees the lights to be “Flashing” may be of help. The OFF in the sequence in the “Flashing Light” is so quick the eye doesn’t see it as OFF but the mind does see it “Flashing”. Im not referring to the Headlight, but other lights that could be on all new bikes and / or an After Market item.

  2. They’ve got it completely wrong again!
    Make a requirement of getting a car licence having a year or two of experience on a moped, or motorcycle.
    This is the ONLY way drivers will grow to recognize riders.
    Pedal mopeds (under 50cc) at 16, motorcycles at 17, unlimited motorcycle and car at 18. Simple.

  3. ” Neither has resulted in a lower motorcycle toll.” and that in nutshell says it all – more rubbish from some “expert” who has never ridden abike and gets paid mega bucks to produce a totally unfounded report and then idiot govts. blindly except the findings without questioning.

  4. We stopped forcing slow learner schoolkids stopped having to wear a dunce cap 100 years ago, so why are we trying to re-introduce it for adult motorcyclists? This is bullying.

  5. The age should be lowered like in Europe and the UK, start at 16 on a moped up to 125cc, 17-18 125-250cc, 18- 24 250 -600, 24> unlimited. Teenagers from 16 should be able to travel to school by moped etc…that would remove thousands of traffic jam causing 4x4s and SUVs that parents use to transport their cotton wool wrapped offspring to school instead of using buses or like most countrys overseas allow teenagers from 15 years old on mopeds.
    Australia as usual will choose the incorrect method raise the age for everything, keep lowering the speed limit while other countries are raising it and fine or tax as punishment for everthing.

    1. Agreed!
      You can jump on a push bike at nearly any age and go riding down almost any road without a care but put a motor on it and it suddenly becomes dangerous!
      And under powered moped is safer on most roads than a push bike but an under powered moped is far more dangerous than one that can manage highway speeds.

  6. hi vis…Again we blame the rider. Hi -vis faded? forgot to put it on?
    Get run over by a car They get a get out of jail free card .And the insurance companies are free to apportion blame and cut your claim. REMEMBER its
    not their fault they cant see you! what next ?cyclists pedestrians, dogs ,cats ,power poles..children of 4wd owners so they dont reverse over them in their driveways

  7. When I got my my learner licence in Tasmania in the early seventies, it was not legal to ride between sunset and sunrise. I don’t know if that still applies, but Tasmania was also the first to introduce provisional driver licences. It seems Tasmania was way ahead of the rest of the country; about fifty years in terms of night curfews for motorcycle learners.

    1. Tasmanian roads were virtually empty between sunset & sunrise in the early seventies, best time for learners/inexperienced to practice, no cars. So what did they do? – they banned it!
      Safety nannies are dangerous..

  8. Once again over-governed Australia demonstrates nanny statism at its finest to the world. Basic fact: too many politicians = too many pointless laws. With ABS, traction control and improved technology and reliability, bikes are safer than they ever were, and yet here we go again, this time it’s the youngsters being targeted. And as for hi-viz, I work in an environment where pretty much everybody wears hi-viz, and after a while the human brain gets so used to seeing it that blocks it out, especially when everything else is painted yellow and black or hi-viz. What you end up with is just a load of pointless clutter that your brain can’t focus on, where one pice of hi-viz blends into another. Useless. How about teaching people to drive four-wheeled vehicles properly instead of pushing them through so that you can collect more revenue?

  9. Current research and statistics tell us that the majority of motorcycle accidents over the last three years are single vehicle accidents caused by the rider losing control and that the highest risk group are middle aged males who have held a motorcycle licence for a long time but are returning riders. If that is true, then why the fork would they be looking at measures aimed solely at younger and novice riders?????

  10. As the natives of Bongotown Namibia sat discussing the price of chewycost beans and how mandating that they be polished before sale would prevent children from sniffing the dust and how the cleaner looking beans would have a massive effect on the US economy as they’d be easier to count Tom sat back scratched his head and exclaimed, What are you fucking idiots on about ? Next you’ll be telling use neon flashing lights will stop a mobile phone user from ploughing through daycare centres.

    1. In case anyone missed the point of this comment it has absolutely nothing to do with anything and utterly pointless exactly the same as these proposed measures.

  11. High visibility clothing saves motorcyclists lives. Disputed in several studies? That’s because stats are only taken on accidents not the hundreds of near misses that occur every day. The crashes that are avoided by having high visibility are not detectable except by the riders memory and experience. The ‘look but fail to see’ accident is the small tip of a large triangle of unreported incidents, many of which are prevented by the rider’s visibility.

        1. So to stop cars hitting each other lets make it that all cars have to be painted in High Vis Orange or Yellow. My bike is bigger than me its a very bright colour (it has white headlights and orange running lights on all the time) what makes you think me with some high viz will make any difference to a car seeing me or not

  12. These recommendations are punitive measures to delay any young rider who wishes to get a motorcycle licence. The only positive is the scooter/moped riders who will no longer be able to ride them with only a car licence, although I have reservations regarding the automatic licence. Currently in SA car drivers can pass a test in an automatic and then drive a manual car. The proposal seems to advocate the idea that passing your bike test on an automatic scooter means you can only ride an automatic. Cars and motorbikes should be treated the same.

    In my opinion, the recommendations do nothing to address the original problem ie. the high 2017 death rate amongst motorcyclists. What proportion of deaths can be attributed to young learner riders? According to the figures, from 2013 out of 62 deaths on SA roads only 2 were under 18. Good, cheap and available training would be the way to go. There is no advanced training available in Adelaide. I know there is a returned riders refresher course, but I’m unsure of the learner facilities in this state.

    Motorcyclists could also do themselves a favour by wearing suitable protective clothing. There are far to many ‘squids’ riding around Adelaide dressed in shorts, t-shirts, open footwear and no gloves.

  13. Thirty years ago people said that in the future, motorcycling will be encumbered with so much restrictive legislation that nobody will want to do it anymore. Obviously, that time is almost here.

  14. Raising the age of learning to ride motorcycles – maybe, but if everyone started on motorcycles I think you would have better drivers in the long term, as riding teaches you not to trust anyone else on the road. In fact the Italian system seems more sensible.
    Mandatory hi-vis – no, I will not wear one if it comes in for everyone.

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