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Helmet and riding rules you didn’t know

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Did you know you cannot even walk your motorcycle from the bowser to a parking space unless you are wearing a helmet, according to the road rules?

This is one of the arcane rules regarding motorcycles which the Australian National Transport  Commission is planning to clean up.

You can read all the proposals in the Australian Road Rules 11th Amendment PackageThe NTC has also invited public submissions on rule 270/271.

It basically involves a clean-up of moving a bike without a helmet and keeping feet on the footpegs or standing on the pegs.

The latter two rules have been cleaned up in Queensland this year, but it didn’t prevent the courts from upholding a fine against a rider six months after the rule was axed.

However, rider advocate Wayne Carruthers says the proposed rule 270 amendment does not go far enough and does not cover many situations particularly with larger touring motorcycles.

Wayne Carruthers helped draft helmet petition and created helmet laws website
Wayne Carruthers

Some day-to-day situations the rule does not cover are:

  • Stopping in a driveway to open a garage door to park the motorcycle, particularly where it is on a slope;
  • Moving the motorcycle in a road side rest area;
  • Moving a motorcycle from the fuel pump area in a service station to either a parking place or the tyre inflation area;
  • Moving a motorcycle with a partially deflated rear tyre when not in a recognised traffic lane: and
  • Moving a motorcycle on an uphill slope but not within a recognised traffic lane.

“The rule needs to allow for the fact large capacity machines cannot be moved in the situations above without starting the engine,” Wayne says.

He says riders should be allowed to ride or push a big bike in these situations with the engine on and gear engaged at speeds up to 10km/h. If not, the result can be a dropped bike.Harley-Davidson Road Glide rules

“Prior to the introduction of the unified Australian Road Rules regulations into State regulations some States did have provisions for the starting of motorcycles and in fact used similar gear and speed provisions as suggested,” he says.

Wayne also suggests consideration should be given to including a statement distinguishing between a main road way traffic lane and either the “out of lane” road side, emergency lane, or private property still considered public road access areas such as service stations, home unit vehicle access ways to name two such areas.

He says if a motorcycle has a partially deflated tyre it is often necessary to sit on the bike to move it safely or it can overbalance away from the rider.

“I have been in emergency situations where a partly damaged motorbike on the side of the road or in an emergency lane has needed to be moved for the safety of the public and emergency personnel where the only way of moving the vehicle has been to start the engine to move it,” he says.

“Wearing a helmet in these circumstances can impair the ability of the person moving the machine to hear other people who are assisting in moving the machine.”