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Defending standing on footpegs

Standing on pegs

For years riders have been standing on the footpegs to stretch our legs or go over an obstruction oblivious to the fact of the legality or otherwise.

Surprise surprise it was illegal.

However, a few years ago the Australian Road Rules were adjusted to allow riders to take their feet off the footpegs or to stand while riding. The Australian Road Rules are model laws that form the basis of road rules of each Australian state and territory.

Despite this, police in several states have breached riders. Check out what happened to this South Australian rider and this NSW rider.

You would be justified in asking why. It appears when the Australian Road Rules Reg 271 was drafted it stated that a rider is permitted to stand “only if it is safe to do so”. (The actual wording varies from state to state. See the NSW rule at the end of this article)

Case studies

NSW traffic and criminal law specialist Chris Kalpage says he has had to defend a couple of riders who have done just that and been breached by police who considered it unsafe.

Here is Chris’s outline on how he defended the charge:

Two cases come to mind. A rider on a dirt bike who was riding and was standing on the pegs as he traveled along the road. The highway patrol vehicle was stopped at right angles to the traveling bike at a red light. The police vehicle followed the bike and pulled over and charged the rider. We defended the case and adduced evidence from the rider of the many years of experience as a rider that he had and the police in-car video showed that he was riding in a controlled manner. Furthermore, the highway patrol officer was shown photographs by me in cross-examination of police riders using trail bikes standing on pegs and he had to concede that these bikes just similar to my client’s were designed to allow standing and riding whilst maintaining control. My client was eventually acquitted by the Magistrate who made the finding that what the rider did was safe.

Another case was of a similar nature of an experienced rider on a registered dirt bike riding with his father and standing on his footpegs. He did this after a long day ride and was stretching his legs. Again he was pulled over and charged by the highway patrol. On attending the police station to view the in-car video I could see no action by the rider that would constitute being unsafe. I then had a meeting with the Sergeant in charge of the Highway Patrol office who agreed with me and the matter was subsequently withdrawn. So as you see from this article and some of the earlier ones whenever there is a discretion given to a police officer it can very much be determined by the subjective views of the officer such as whether he dislikes you or the fact that you ride a bike.

As you can see from the legislation, similar to the rule governing standing on footpegs, is the rule relating to the removing of one foot off the footpeg by the rider whilst seated unless safe to do so. You are in trouble if your pillion does any of the earlier mentioned transgressions and there is no defense of that nature irrespective of how safe it may be.

So bear in mind be careful next time you decide to stand on the pegs.

NSW Road Rules 2014

Current version for 8 September 2018 to date (accessed 29 January 2019 at 14:17)

Part 16 Rule 271

271 Riding on motor bikes

(1) The rider of a motor bike that is moving (other than a rider who is walking beside and pushing a motor bike), or the rider of a motor bike that is stationary but not parked, must:

(a) sit astride the rider’s seat facing forwards, and

(b) if the motor bike is moving—keep at least 1 hand on the handlebars, and

(c) if the motor bike is moving—keep both feet on the footrests designed for use by the rider of the motor bike, unless the motor bike is moving at less than 10 kilometres per hour and either:

(i) the rider is manoeuvring the motor bike in order to park the motor bike, or

(ii) the motor bike is decelerating to come to a stop, or

(iii) the motor bike is accelerating from being stopped.

Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units.

(1A) The rider of a motor bike that is moving may:

(a) stand on the motor bike’s footrests or footboard designed for the rider’s use if:

(i) the rider has both feet on the footrests or footboard, and

(ii) in the circumstances, it is safe for the rider to do so, or

(b) remove a foot from the footrest or footboard designed for the rider’s use if:

(i) the rider is sitting on the rider’s seat, and

(ii) at least 1 foot is on a foot rest or footboard, and

(iii) in the circumstances, it is safe for the rider to do so.


This article is for reader information and interest only and is based on New South Wales law. It is not intended to be comprehensive, and does not constitute and must not be relied on as legal advice.

Please be aware that every case is different and the matters raised may not be of specific relevance to your situation but may have a general application. You must seek specific advice tailored to your circumstances. Chris is happy to talk to anyone needing clarification. He can be contacted on 0418 211074.