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Fight the motorcycle footpeg rule

Riders in Queensland will have to stop their bike and get off to stretch their legs.
Jake Sloman of Brisbane was riding on the Logan Highway when he stretched his leg and was pulled over by police and fined $146. The offence is “Fail to keep both feet on footrest”.
The Queensland Transport Operations (Road Use Management—RoadRules) Regulation 2009 says a rider must sit astride the rider’s seat facing forwards with at least one hand on the handlebars at all time and, when moving, keep both feet on the rider’s footrests, not the passenger pegs. The passenger also has to use their seat and pegs and face forwards. Read my story on this and other petty traffic rules.
The fine has caused social media outrage as the rule would affect almost every motorcycle rider.
It was introduced a few years ago by the Labor Government as part of a crack down on honing.
When it was introduced, I pointed out to the news desk at The Courier-Mail where I was motoring editor at the time that it would have far-reaching consequences for riders. I wrote a story, but it was never published.
The story mentioned that apart from preventing riders from stretching their legs to avoid dangerous cramping, it was also a technique used by dirt-road riders to correct sudden slipping of the bike.
By the letter of the law, it also prevents people from standing up on the foot pegs to mitigate the dangerous effects of a “tank slapper” when the bike hits a big pothole. It prevents the rider being thrown around with the bike and is a common safety method employed when riding on unsealed roads.
However, the rule says you “must sit astride the seat”, so you could possibly argue that “astride” which means “with a leg on each side of”. That does not mean your butt has to be touching the seat.
Clearly the rules were rashly introduced – just like the Newman Governments VLAD Act and anti-bike laws – and without consultation with rider groups.
So I put it to Transport Minister Scott Emerson that he should re-evaluate the previous government’s rules considering even Police Commissioner Ian Stewart admits he stretches his legs when riding and the photo above shows other police also do it.
After about a week, I received an email reply from his office attributed to a spokesperson for the Minister for Transport and Main Roads: “We currently have no plans to review this rule.”
It’s a shame as a re-evaluation of these laws would give the LNP a political opportunity to point out the rash and badly researched nature of the previous government’s laws, allow legitimate riders to exercise safe riding methods and possibly win back some brownie points with bikers harassed under the current regime.
If you think the government should re-evaluate the rules, write to the Minister via the Transport and Main Roads Department at:

  1. I have been stretching my legs when riding and when driving a car and a truck and earthmoving equipment. It’s normal, or is this just another form of harassment under the vlad laws?

  2. Don’t these idiot brownshirts have any crime to fight ?
    The fact that a decision not to revise the law has been made, it’s quite clear that the heavy handed approach to law enforcement
    comes from the top and filters down …….

  3. This raises the question does the bike have to be fully stationary before you can lower your foot down? If so Queensland riders balancing skills will surely be the best in the nation.

    1. Well said Michael.
      Further to that, both feet would have to be firmly on the foot rests as required by legislation before you begin to move forward at all.
      Perhaps it would be a good idea to video the police stopping and moving away on their motorcycles and sharing that on social media to show Mere Mortals how it’s done properly.

  4. GSX1400 (third) Daily rider for 46 years. Will be protesting this one for sure with your advised ministerial contact. With Australian roads as they are my kidneys would be pulp if I didn’t stand over atrocious surfaces, and cramps would have crashed me countless times if I didn’t stand on pegs through 50 kph towns when touring. Ridiculous.

  5. Why is the RACQ so backward in NOT including bad motorcycle rules & regulations in it’s mag?
    There must be many motorcycle owners who own a car as well, but they never get any say or inclusion in the RACQ mag which covers travel, bicycles, computers, you name it, but not motorbikes! I suspect that those who run the RACQ are so car oriented that they don’t know anything about motorbikes & never owned one?

  6. I’ve come to accept that the law no longer has anything to do with right or wrong, and very little to do with road safety.

    It’s all a power play to strengthen the positions of those in power and provide as many avenues as possible to oppress everyone else.

    I no longer feel compelled to obey it. And that’s from someone who has zero criminal history and is otherwise a middle class professional.

  7. What a lot of rubbish. This is nothing short of harassment. Let’s ban standing on one leg or skipping too. That could be dangerous. I ride and have done so for 45 years and will continue to stretch my legs as part of good practice on long journeys. Fine me if you like. I won’t pay it in protest and will happily spend time in the prison system, at taxpayers’ expense, to make my point!

  8. This is, as stated, an ill conceived regulation with widespread, possible repercussions. Every rider with highway pegs breaches it every time me move our feet to or from these pegs. I will be writing to the minister’s office, although I know it is futile but I will be suggesting they at least consult with some police motorcycle officers, if no one else and perhaps we will get some properly considered response. I point out that not only has the RACQ been silent on these matters but I have left the Ulysses organisation because in spite of my requests they have also remained mute on all these recent issues.

  9. I sent this to the minister’s office today. I am aware that some will disagree with my 3 point principle but I believe it is a reasonable proposition and may be more pallible than simply removing the offending section.

    I am aware that some sections of TORUM are currently under review (I am part of this process, so I know first hand that it occurring). I would ask that those responsible for initiating these reviews look at sub sub paragraph (c); sub paragraph (1) of paragraph 271; part 16- “if a motorcycle is moving-keep both feet on the footrests designed for use by the rider of the motorcycle”.
    This section, if taken literally, compromises rider safety by way of limiting movement thus adding to fatigue and general rider well being.
    Most long range motorcycles are fitted with “highway pegs” which are mounted on the for section if the vehicle and designed to allow riders to stretch their legs on long rides, the movement of one foot at a time from the base pegs to these highway pegs and back, can by undertaken in a safe manner, however this manoeuvre is technically illegal under this section of the manual. Additionally, the very action of commencing and stopping if a 2 wheeled vehicle calls on the rider to have at least one foot off the pegs to ensure balance during this action.
    I believe that recent events has shown that we can no longer rely on police exercising discretion and common sense in these matters and this section need to be reviewed with the aim of permitting the safe manoeuvres required to maintain rider well being providing at least any 3 points of control are in place at any given time (2 hands, 1 foot) or ( 2 feet, I hand). The fact that sub sub paragraph (b) of the current manual permits the removal of a hand from the handlebars while a motorbike is in motion appears to support the 3 points principle.

    I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter, should it assist in the progress of this request.

    Ray Wombold

  10. Nice work Ray. You are assuming that these oxygen thieves understand what common sense is. Unfortunately, my experience with politicians is that common sense has become an oxymoron.

  11. How will they define moving , will have to come to a complete stop BEFOE removing feet from footpegs ? I know that at slow speeds , stopping and stating in traffic this could quite tricky at times . Or will it depend on our choice of riding gear ? Vest v jacket ?

    1. Such an absolute stupid law – you meant to say that cops NEVER take their feet off the footpegs when riding on muddy rds or other slippery surfaces when trying to keep the bike upright, as I’ve had to do on the odd occasions when I rode a motorbike, like hitting mud on the rd. I came to grief when riding a new bike in the City of London when the rds were hot & greasy with vehicle oil/grease – I had no choice but to put my feet down & still came off the bike.

  12. I agree with Ray Wombold. I do long range riding to places like Alice Springs, Great Ocean Road, Snowy Mountains etc and I have highway pegs mounted to help relieve leg cramps and knee pains. Safe use is common sense and I don’t know of any statistics that show it to be unsafe on highways?

  13. 2 and a half years ago I came off the bike and suffered a tibia Plato fracture, ( stuffed knee ). I’m Back on the bike, every day commute. If I don’t stretch out left leg occasionally I would fall over every time I stopped at a red light. To ride SAFELY sometimes you have to ignore stupid laws that have been put in place without consolation with relevant governing body by idiots that have never been on a bike

  14. Wow, glad I don’t live down-under. The cops here in the UK are too busy fighting crime to bother with petty traffic infringements!

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