Sons of Anarchy time limit
What would the police make of this?

Call for time limit on rider licences

Motorcycle licences should have a time limit to reduce the risk of matured-aged returned riders crashing, a road safety summit has heard.

Victorian Road Trauma Summit was convened last week after a shocking start to the year with 26 motorcyclist deaths, nine above the five-year average of 17 and 10 more than last year. Many more have been injured and there has been a spate of hit-and-run accidents leaving riders dead or injured.

While motorcycle safety only played a small part in the summit discussions, there was a suggestion by one female academic that returned riders were over-represented in the statistics.


The issue was that motorcycle licences don’t expire, which allows mature-aged riders to return after a long spell off the motorcycle with no retraining required. 

Time limit

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The summit heard a suggestion that a time limit be imposed on motorcycle licences of 10 to 20 years if the licence holder does not own a registered motorcycle or scooter. 

It was suggested that to keep the licence, riders be required to do a one-day training refresher course that focuses on potential risks for riders.

This is not a new suggestion.

It has also been suggested that mature-aged riders would need training in modern motorcycle technologies such as ABS and introduce them to new road laws such as lane filtering.

Returned rider ‘furphy’

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John Eacott

However, Victorian Motorcycle Council media spokesman John Eacott has previously pointed out that police and road safety authority claims that returned riders are the biggest safety risk on the road is a “furphy”. 

His analysis of Traffic Accident Commission statistics showed that older riders account for less than 50% of fatals and hospitalisations yet comprise 70% of licensed riders.

Motorcycle Riders Association of Victoria spokesman Damien Codognotto says the subject of limited motorcycle licences is a “Trojan Horse”. 

“It opens a door to licence restrictions on road riders and making it look like riders initiated moves to make it harder to hold a bike licence,” he says. 

He says car drivers of similar ages drive much heavier machines that can do a lot more damage.

“There are many many more of them than there are bike riders and they are involved in many more serious injury crashes,” he says.

Safety summit

The state government’s summit included experts from the TAC, VicRoads, VicPol, MUARC, RACV, Road Trauma Support Services Victoria and cycling and motorcycle advocates including the Victorian Motorcycle Council and the Motorcycle Expert Advisory Panel.

It will be followed by community roundtables across regional Victoria where road deaths have spiked at 72 compared with 41 in metropolitan Melbourne.

  1. Got my license at 52, after a heart attack and surgery stuffed my life up.
    Best thing ever… done about a quarter million km in the following decade.
    If one is physically and mentally able get your license a 75 I suggest, but why wait.
    Should have go my bike license at the same age as my car license, though I admit my mental disposition, should have stopped me from getting either…Then again, back In Europe they taught me how to drive, not just how to pass a test. Was blooming expensive, but worth it.
    Best fun was taking a souped up Beetle on the autobahn, and hitting the double ton.
    Very few Australian drivers are capable to do that,safely.

  2. I would encourage returning riders to do a refresher course. I did at 55 and that was 11 years ago. BUT…. I am not in favour of making it compulsory! There is already too much interference in our lives now. And what if the rider does not own a bike but regularly rents and rides?

    Encourage training…. nothing more!

  3. More riders and more deaths on our roads is because of more people riding
    Motorcycles because the traffic conditions are crap

  4. Is this female academic trying to complete her thesis, for a higher qualification? Makes me wonder how she (they), ever get there and shows how worthless these so-called quals are. It’s a pile of crap, and just a proposal to squeeze people for more money, by a greedy damned government.

  5. The Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Traffic responded quite firmly at the Summit by stating that ‘returning riders’ are not a feature of the motorcycle fatality spike. Not least because there is no dataset that identifies such a group!

    Mark, that really should have been included in your article to assuage the concerns of many riders.

  6. The “academic” who suggested that motorcycle licences should have an “expiry date” is most likely not a bike rider & probably in her 30s. There is always one who has to show just how dumb they really are. For example, what if you owned a registered bike but didn’t ride it a lot for years due to raising a family, how would anyone know your experience level? Then there is the case of someone riding off-road bikes a lot but your bike is unregistered (motorcross) would this mean you also lose your licence?
    I agree it would be a good idea for returning riders to consider some training but making it compulsory just opens the door for rip-offs & rorts.

  7. yep I was a returned rider ten years ago at age 49 after a 25 year layoff. I was a dirt ride for a few years, so I think I know how to ride! and spent a year back on a small bike(250) til I had the required time on the road to graduate to no displayed extra “L’ or”p” plate. then another year and upped it to a 600 (not OTT)

    Learning to filter-common sense,
    Riding 5 km /hr faster than the rest of the traffic- just smart,
    Riding in brights with a white helmet- I want to ride a long time,
    Abusing car driving mobile phone users- a God given right!

    Most bike riders are very aware of their surroundings- its the silly twats in their airc-onditioned cars with the music turned up to 10 and no idea of which lane they might want to choose that need some education. But no one asks me, ‘coz I might tell em what they don’t want to hear
    go on legislators email me : [email protected]

  8. How about they start putting car licence holders in for re-education every 10 years to teach them about lane filtering, roundabouts and other traffic improvements?

  9. i am 68 and do not own a car the proof of my skills is the fact that i am still alive.This is well born out by older riders making up 70% of riders and only 50% of fatalities. This is probably just the insurance companies trying to get motorcycles off the road..More effing academics..I will ride until they have to peel my cold dead hands off the grips…Fuck them!

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