What’s the worst thing that could happen if you pop a wheelie? You could lose the front wheel like this unfortunate guy, or you could lose your licence and your motorcycle.
The video above shows a rider doing some competent stunts in the safety of what looks like a carpark. Apart from the lack of bike maintenance and pre-ride checks, he has some other issues.
First, he’s not wearing any protective clothing and even though it’s a slow crash, just try running and then throwing yourself on the tarmac wearing shorts and a singlet and see how much gravel rash you suffer.
Second, performing the stunts in a public carpark may not be too wise as the rules of the road will also apply there and police could take some stiff action right up to losing your licence.
I admit to popping wheelies, ever since my first on a bicycle in the ’60s. And who can forget the opening scenes of On Any Sundays with the kids popping wheelies on their bicycles and laughing.
They may be fun, but they are also dangerous. We’ve all seen YouTube evidence of wheelies gone wrong.
Our advice is to save the wheelies for off-road use where they are a safety device for hopping rocks and logs or leave it to the professional stuntmen like Dave McKenna (see video below).
We’ve all popped wheelies in our time, but be aware that rather than a display of riding skill, it is now considered hoon behaviour with dire consequences.
Pop a wheelie or do a burnout in Queensland and your bike could be confiscated for 90 days – the toughest anti-hoon penalty in Australia.
Do it again in the next five years and your bike could be sold or crushed. No third strike rule there. Two strikes and you’re out!
Other hoon activities include street racing and evading police.
A hoon hotline has been set up. (Do you really want to know the number? Ok, it’s 13HOON or 134666. Note the last three numbers. Coincidence? We think not!)
Victoria upped the anti-hoon ante in 2011 when they increased the confiscation period for first offences from 48 hours to 30 days. Score three strikes in three years and your vehicle can be sold or crushed.
You could also be charged with “careless driving” and cop a $295 fine and three demerit points.
In NSW, police can confiscate your number plates on the spot or impound your vehicle for three months for street racing and burnouts, but owners can apply to the courts for an early release. Repeat offenders can lose their vehicle permanently.
Wheelies could be considered either negligent “driving” (up to $623 fine) or dangerous ($2200 for a first offence).
In South Australia, police can impound your vehicle for popping a wheelie which is termed “misuse of a vehicle” and you’ll also cop four demerit points.
Dangerous or “anti-social driving” in Western Australia will result in your bike being impounded for 28 days for a first offence and three months for a second offence. There are also fines up to $3000 and demerit points.
In Tasmania, “reckless or dangerous driving” can result in clamping or impounding the vehicle even if it isn’t yours, arrest, a court appearance, $600 fine, loss of licence for up to two years, or jail for three months. And that’s for a first offence!
Subsequent offences mean the vehicle could be forfeited.