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Call for moped rules for all states

moped submission mopeds light motorcycles

All states should allow people to ride a 50cc moped on a car licence to improve traffic congestion and teach young motorists road craft, says Australian Motorcycle Dealers Association boss Stuart Strickland.

At present, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia have a moped rule and it is widely used by commuters and international tourists at tourist destinations such as Cairns and the Gold Coast.

However, Stuart says widening the rule to all states would have massive flow-on effects for the industry and road safety.

Stuart says the hurdle is that motorcycling in Australia is predominantly recreational and agricultural and government resistance is based on spurious safety claims.

“Commuting by power two wheelers is not widely embraced,” Stuart says.

“While bicycles are embraced as a method of commuting, motorcycle and scooters are not. Safety is always raised as the reason.

“I see this as being unfair, unreasonable and distinctly in governments’ too-hard basket.”

Stuart says wider use of mopeds and low-capacity motorcycles and scooters in inner-city areas and highly populated resort centres is a solution to Australia’s “horrendous traffic congestion”.

He says our traffic problems have been brought about “through decades of neglect in building infrastructure to support both population and vehicle growth”.

“While bicycle infrastructure has been catered for ( funded) in most States, little attention has been directed towards traffic separation for PTWs (powered two-wheelers), an example being use of bus lanes, use of bicycle lanes if no bicycles are sighted in the lane etc,” he says.

“The lack of national uniformity with moped law and rider training curriculum restricts NSW, Victorian and Tasmanian residents being able to ride mopeds when holding a full driver’s licence.”

Safety concerns

There has been concern that moped riders aren’t trained in riding skills, yet there is no such requirement for people to ride bicycles and electric bikes which can travel at the same 50km/h city speeds, Stuart says.

Bolt M-1 electric motorcycle moped
Bolt electric mopeds

Victoria insists that potential moped riders complete a full motorcycle rider training course, irrespective of them being fully licensed.

“It is hard to fathom the logic behind this decision as any individual, any age, can purchase a bicycle or electric-assisted bicycle and ride it immediately among traffic at similar speeds to a moped that is speed restricted to 50km/h,” he says.

“A familiarisation session would be good because no good would come from anyone not knowing how to shut the throttle off,” he says.

“But to insist that a full motorcycle licence is required to ride one is downright stupid – if so all bicycle riders should have a licence to ride on the road as well and be registered.”

Safer motorists

Stuart points out that moped riders may be safer as they are required to wear a fully approved motorcycle helmet, not just a bicycle helmet.

“Such restrictions on the use of PTWs as a means of commuting need to be addressed via government lobbying by all segments of the motorcycle industry,” he says.

The need will grow as Australia’s inner-city populations increase with the trend toward single-bedroom apartments that don’t include car parking space but do have the capacity to include space for a PTW or two, he says.

Stuart says increased moped use will also lead to an increase in scooter and motorcycle use which will benefit riders and the motorcycle industry in the long term.

  1. Mopeds are dangerous!
    Their lack of power speed and stability compared to even a proper scooter are their greatest danger.
    Stupid people thing slow is safe but once you are moving at any speed faster than walking pace you can have a fatal accident. You can hit something or someone and cause fatal brain injuries, even cyclists have killed pedestrians.
    But because of this false safety attributed to mopeds breads a contempt for the dangers not only do we see their riders going places motorcycles generally won’t we also see them getting out onto highways where they slow traffic and risk death as a hood ornament.
    I’m all for more motorcycles on the road but all of them should be able to do highway speeds and the riders should get at least some training not just a slap on the back and have fun called after them as they wobble down a footpath.

  2. Mopeds in general pose a risk. They stymie traffic flow especially with inexperienced riders.
    Too often I’ve seen riders that have no idea cause traffic chaos. Usually scooting to the front of stationary traffic then unable to accelerate very well, causing traffic behind to take risks to get around them. Vehicle that cant do 80km should be banned. Enough power that would enable a moped to do at least 60km up an incline….not 30km max…

    1. Guys you are missing the point. Inner city speed limits are changing with 40KPH now being commonplace. This is the domain of mopeds. Any mobility vehicle that can’t get to 60 KPH needs to be kept out of any heavy traffic flow on posted 60KPH streets. Indications are that governments will continuer to lower speed limits in inner city areas.

  3. I’ve gotta agree with the 2 statements above.
    I ride a Busa (for the 2 up comfort, not the speed) but never flat out.
    Last week driving to work, a guy on a scooter pulled out in front of me, then couldn’t do faster than 10 – 20kmh slower than the traffic.
    It held people up, not improved traffic flow.
    They need to ‘at least’ be able to do 70.
    It’s a danger to the rider!

      1. I ride a scooter – comfort, not speed.
        No trouble staying ahead of a Busa taking off from the lights.

        1. Mopeds aren’t permitted on QLD motorways, as signed. They can generally be used on other high speed roads, but it wouldn’t seem very wise to use one on highways and few people do.

          In the last 5-6 years in QLD there has been about 1 moped rider fatality per year, on average, and none in the last three years. Motorcycle and >50cc scooter fatalities have averaged around 50. In the same period there have been between 40-80 hospitalisations yearly, compared with 800 – 1000 for motorcycle and >50cc scooter riders.

          Mopeds can be frustrating for other road users if they hold up traffic. As to whether they are dangerous, readers can find the statistics cited above here:

  4. So all scooter riders are inexperienced ? I have been riding one for nearly 10 years on a car lucence but still restrictive legislation does not allow me to legally ride at 60. I have survived because I trust no one else on the road and ride accordingly. Are they underpowered absolutely. A bit more power to keep up with traffic and not get in it’s way could be in some ways safer as would being allowed to legally do 60 kmph. I use scooter as regular local transport not as inexperienced tourist transport. Why don’t I get a real motorbike? I can’t afford it. A mandatory motorcycle course is an additional way too expensive cost. Lane splitting for scooter riders would help traffic flow and in some ways be safer than the present required indian file arrangement as would being able to use under used bus lanes when they are not being used otherwise. I have considered a powered bicycle. Rules for those riders are far more flexible. Any help in getting more appropriate, safer, less discriminatory and more workable rules for scooter riders greatly appreciated.

  5. Only vehicles that hold me up are cars, mopeds are good because for every moped there’s one less car.
    I dream of the day when cars are banned & only vehicles on roads are mopeds & motorcycles.

  6. Moped is just a [slightly] motorised pushbike. Electric are best.
    Seen millions in operation overseas & they’re cheap convenient & efficient way of getting around.
    They significantly reduce traffic jams, they’re quiet, & allowed to park on footpath.

    Trouble is Australia’s totally car-centric, & except for a bit of window-dressing there’s no interest in making transport more convenient or enjoyable
    because the decisionmakers drive to work in a car, & sit in an office cooking up complicated rules to annoy people & waste everyone’s time
    simply to build up their CV by looking busy.

  7. Most large cities are now strangled with traffic during peak hours. A better transport system overall is required. Expect that with the current glut of vehicles you will be held up at times for any number of reasons and allow for this when you start your commute (leave earlier). The Amsterdam city planning encourages bicycles and mopeds by giving them separate lanes and even their own traffic lights; of course we all know they are less polluting too. Single passenger cars should be restricted….. London even has a Congestion Tax to encourage people not to bring a car in to the city in peak hours. The local Governments/Councils needs to take a good look at the direction for future transport solutions. Commuters need to evaluate their style of commuting. In reading the previous comments it indicates people are very frustrated with the current system. Everyone does have a right to some space on the road. Most bike riders powered/non-powered probably have a registered vehicle (car) at home. If you are from the major cities, consider this, in Hobart it is still illegal to lane split!!

  8. I agree with pretty much all of Stuarts article except that I would recommend 125cc scooters/ mopeds on a full car licence be permitted. This is what is the case across most of Europe and in UK (where they must show L-plates and cant carry a passenger). 50cc scooters are no more or less dangerous than 125cc scooters, just that the 125cc’s have that little bit of extra power to keep up with the rest of the traffic. These silly interstate rule differences hold the country back. Let’s hope Australia catches up with the rest of the Western world one day.

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