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Handlebar defect notices ‘incorrect’

handlebars defect notice regulations

Police who issued handlebar defect notices to riders involved in the recent Hells Angels Good as Gold charity ride may have got it wrong.

Check out the claims of police harassment here.

Several riders have complained on social media that their defect notices for having handlebars that are too wide or high were not correct according to the Australian Design Rules.

It wouldn’t be the first or last time police have issued incorrect notices to motorcycle riders.

Fight defect notices

MRAQ president Chris Mearns Ride to Work Day RACQ plan defect
MRAQ president Chris Mearns

Motorcycle Riders’ Association of Queensland president Chris Mearns suggests riders who receive a defect notice should check the ADR and fight the notice.

“Just because police issue a defect notice does not always make it correct and a check by an accredited person using the appropriate rules will show any mistake,” he says.

“Also, remember that what happened was in NSW and they have their own way and reasons for doing things.

“It is my understanding that the ADRs are the overriding rule to be applied in all states.

“All states require compliance with the ADRs no matter what may be written elsewhere in their road rules.”

He says the MRAQ has not been notified of any defect notices issued for bar width since the increase in bar width in the ASDRs in 2015 from 900mm to 1100mm.

State ‘in-service’ regulations

Guy Stanford - Mobile phone while riding - darrk visor helmets filtering laws autonomous consensus hipsters kill defect
Guy Stanford

However, Motorcycle Council of NSW spokesman Guy Stanford says the problem is that states can institute their own “in-service” regulations. 

“In a similar manner to Road Rules, the NTC (National Transport Commission) has drawn up a set of model rules and the states are meant to update their set to keep pace,” he says.

However, he says the states often “mangle” the process with their own interpretations or “in-service regulations”, creating differences between each state.

Uniform road rules

This is the hurdle that now faces the recent uniform Australian Road Rules published by the Australasian Parliamentary Council’s Committee. They have yet to be agreed to and applied in each state.

The rules affect riders in relation to helmet cameras, tinted visors, lane filtering and more.

Click here to read more about the new ARRs.

Motorcycle compliance

In regards to motorcycle compliance, Guy says each state’s in-service regulations include a provision that allows an in-service vehicle to be modified in accordance with a more recent ADR.

For example, modern LED blinkers can be retro-fitted to “a 1980s banger”. 

“But you can’t go backwards,” Guy warns. 

He has called for the ADRs to be updated and written in plain English.

  1. Australian Constitution Section 109. Inconsistency of laws
    When a law of a State is inconsistent with a law of the Commonwealth, the latter shall prevail, and the former shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be invalid.

    According to the Constitution ADRs trump State in service rules if they are inconsistent with Commonwealth laws.

  2. Often police will knowingly issue a defect notice that is incorrect just to harass the person receiving it. As long as it is not as blatant as defecting a vehicle that just rolled off the showroom floor they can get away with it knowing that they won’t be disciplined or have any financial penalty imposed. Police have campaigned for and won indemnification against prosecution for blatantly criminal acts as long as they can show they believed that they were reasonably carrying out their duties. For a police officer to be prosecuted you have to prove that he/she knowingly wasn’t acting in accordance with the law and or following published procedure.
    An example would be if a cop crash tackled an innocent person to the ground just because he wanted to pummel someone. If the cop can show that the person matched the description of someone wanted for a crime (usually by making a bogus emergency call after the fact to an unrecorded number) the cop can get away with assaulting that person.

  3. I’ve always wondered how a police officer with a few weeks training in police stuff and then a few years on the job training can do the same check of a vehicle as a 3 or 4 year trained mechanic who has then been specially accredited to check vehicles.

    Look up light vechicles and trailers. (motorbike fall here(
    section 6.1 Steering Components.
    “Steering components are removed, heated, welded (modified) or bent without
    So doesnt matter what the measurements say. If you have aftermarket aka not factory handlebars and they have any of the above modifications they need “Approval” based on the ADR. aka the ADR stamp saying they comply. Until you get that stamp you could have aftermarket identical factory bars and still not comply. It has to be one of two things. Factory Made or ADR approved. Few aftermarket parts carry the ADR stamp that need it and not all parts have to have the ADR stamp. BUT Steering does as its considered a Complex Modification. As shown in Section 2. of the same document. Quoted Below.

    “Complex modifications cover modifications such as engine substitutions, gearbox and rear axle
    changes, vehicle body modifications, and steering and brake replacements. These are significant
    modifications that can seriously affect the safety of a vehicle if not performed properly. Complex
    modifications are certified by approved persons who affix a modification plate to confirm the
    approval. (A list of modification codes is provided in Information Sheets 1a, 1b and 1c in Vehicle
    Standards Instruction G21 – Information Sheets for Approved Examiners). ”

    So while the riders may be right in saying the handlebars fit within the guidelines. Without “approval” they are illegal by the looks of it.

    I dont like the way the ADR system works and i think if actually enforced half the cars on the road would be unroadworthy. So its kinds of silly.

    1. Hi graham; much of the rules (adr) are for design and construction of motorcycle and the ability for it to be sold, registered, rwc etc.

      Where is the specific legislation to “defect” a motorcycle? Everything i have read specifically deals with design and construction.

  5. Sorry i was wrong in my previous post. L-Class vehicles were excluded from the Vehicle modification link i provided. I was relying on my car modification experience which is much more complex that motorcycles.

    This is the correct reference.

    There are no ADR certification for motorcycles. So as long as you fit in the above you should be all good.

  6. When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.
    And that includes the naive sheeple voters that continue to vote for the duopoly parties, fo the fear of the devils they do not know.
    Those unknown Devils will have their day, and the sheeple will bear the brunt of that resistance!

    1. While I do not condone criminal activity of any kind. Neither can I condone unequal and arbitrary application of the Law. NSW Police almost boast that they enforce parking regulations against OMG’s as a means of “harassing and disrupting” them. Yet, in SA, in particular, if a private citizen has a parking issue the police will not get involved as they maintain parking is a Council issue. If NSW Police are using the ‘handle bar issue’ as a means of harassing and disrupting then it is to be publicly condemned and resisted. This is fundamentally dumb and dishonest policy because no-one and especially a 1% will be either deterred or rehabilitated by discrimination!

      If Australia truly followed the UN Rule of Law a former PM could have been charged with manslaughter – deaths through insulation batts installation? Numerous other politicians could face charges for sexual misconduct, etc, etc.

      One of the main problems is that the Australian public is largely apathetic. No-one will stand up against anything unless it directly affects them. If this is a campaign against OMG’s and not really about ‘handle bars’ then every other motorcyclist and scooter rider should join a mass rally/ride against. Then in a park before the media – over a very loud speaker – have someone start reading out the criminal allegations being made against Australian politicians. Then, the HYPOCRITES being publicly exposed may re-think the policy. Not re-think genuine safety issues. But re-think bullshit measures only designed to “harass and disrupt”.

      BTW… isn’t harassment a criminal offence?

      Australia is a mature democracy – adhering to the Rule of Law – isn’t it? So, how does Australia measure up to the UN Rule of Law?

      The Secretary-General has described the rule of law as “a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards. It requires, as well, measures to ensure adherence to the principles of supremacy of law, equality before the law, accountability to the law, fairness in the application of the law, separation of powers, participation in decision-making, legal certainty, avoidance of arbitrariness and procedural and legal transparency.”

  7. Vehicle Standard (Australian Design Rule 57/00 –
    Special Requirements for L-Group Vehicles) 2006
    Amendment 1

    Vehicle Standard (Australian Design Rule 57/00 –Special Requirements for L-Group
    Vehicles) 2006 was originally determined in 2006.
    2.1. Overview of the ADR
    The function of Australian Design Rule (ADR) 57/00 is to specify requirements for
    mopeds, motorcycles and motor trikes. These requirements cover side cars, steering
    gear and handlebar width, operation and location of controls, visual indicators, display
    identification, transmission, electrical generators, foot rests, stands and chain guards.
    2.2. Effect of the ADR Amendment
    This amendment will increase the maximum width of handlebars allowable for
    motorcycles (LC and LD sub-category vehicles) from 900 mm (450 mm on each side
    of the centreline of the vehicle) to 1100 mm (550 mm on each side of the centreline of
    the vehicle). The amendment was requested by the industry to reduce regulatory
    burden as some manufacturers that supply vehicles to other markets need to modify or
    fit narrow handlebars to the same vehicles before they enter the Australian market.
    This amendment is minor in nature. It will remove a cost impost on some motorcycle
    manufacturers and consumers, without reducing safety.

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