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Unlicensed riders a growing concern

Police chase dodgy bike licence holders unlicensed course

Unlicensed riders represent a growing concern for the motorcycle community as licensing has become tougher and more expensive in most states in the past decade.

While most riders would agree that tougher licensing and more training is vital, there have been some unexpected and adverse consequences for all riders.

In the same decade that licensing has become tougher, the proportion of unlicensed riders has almost doubled, according to a Monash University Accident Research Centre report.

It seems many riders simply find it too time-consuming and expensive to obtain a motorcycle licence. Instead, they take the risk of riding without a licence and therefore uninsured.

And because they haven’t received proper training, they are crashing!

Unlicensed rider crash stats

MUARC doesn’t provide actual numbers, but unlicensed riders probably represent a small proportion of the overall motorcycling population.

However, their existence unfavourably skews the crash statistics.

Unfortunately, governments grab these crash stats and use them to impose tougher restrictions on all riders.

MUARC says 7% of all motorcycle crashes involve riders without a valid motorcycle licence.

Take those numbers out of the motorcycle crash statistics and they would be more realistic.

Unlicensed riders also tend to have 25% more serious injury crashes than licensed riders, MUARC says.

That’s probably because they tend to ride older motorcycles that don’t have modern and safer brakes and handling characteristics.

Licence checks

Police 'safety campaign’ unfair on riders cops road safety crash accident may blitz unlicensed
Police pull over riders on the Gold Coast hinterland

The prevalence of these illegal riders on our roads is also used as an excuse by police to perform prejudicial enforcement (some call it harassment).

Some may welcome police conducting regular licence checks on riders to weed out those without a valid licence.

However, police could just as easily rely on their Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology.

Instead, they discriminate against all riders by pulling them over in larger numbers than other motorists.


  1. Only ever been pulled over for RBT, but if I was pulled purely for a licence check I ‘d be annoyed if it was with bells and whistles. I don’t need every man and his dog thinking I have done some major crime coz the boys in blue have lights flashing drawing attention. If they want me to pull over for no crime they can just give me a little signal wave or finger point. I have no reason to not stop, but I agre the plate checking technology should give a pretty good heads up who is on a bike

  2. I can comment from one unlicensed viewpoint, I didn’t have a license due to fines accrued when younger and stupid. The only way to re obtain my license was to pay the fines and at $15,000 that wasn’t an option for an 18yo unemployed bloke so I drove and rode without a license for years with the resulting further fines and court appearances. It was only when the government introduced the state penalties enforcement registrar that I was able to stop the cycle of driving/riding and further fines and start to pay off my fines and then having the ban lifted at the RTA and finally being able to re acquire my car and motorcycle license all those years later. And to this day I have not received any more fines and I currently have in my fleet an 88 Suzuki Gsx-r1100j an 03 Ducati S4R and an 06 MV Agusta 910S brutale as well as an 06 Suzuki Gsx 1400 and a 2011 MV Agusta brutale 1090RR as well as my ute to haul my track only bike Honda CB 900 hornet. So if there are avenues that will help unlicensed people to become licensed in an easier way with help then that is the way things should be rather than just enforcement and exclusion.

  3. There are five types of “unlicensed “ in the statistics
    Those who ride a class of bike that only a car license is required but are counted as unlicensed in the statistics
    Those who had a bike license and thought it was still valid or ok to go for a test drive
    Those who are criminals riding stolen bikes usually while intoxicated on something
    Those who have a license for a Two fifty learner approved bike or a learner caught on a higher capacity bike.
    And finally those who can’t get a license for whatever reason.
    Only two of these types are truly unlicensed the rest are technically unlicensed.
    If they left out the criminals and the technicalities their statistics would be almost non existent but Monash seems to always find ways to fudge the data to bolster their agenda.
    I actually tried to read a few of their white papers on some of the things they harp on about and the term bullshit is an understatement for some of the crap they claim to be research.
    To give an example there is what they call a valid statistical process for building a model based on limited and speculative data, basically someone gave a valid sounding name to pulling shit out of their ass and calling it data.
    Unfortunately an awful lot of what would normally be considered fraud is concocted by Universities drug companies and financial organisations in order to push an agenda.
    One of the biggest tricks is creating numerous bogus reports using different organisations and names that are generated from cherrypicked data from other dubious studies then they state their desired outcome and reference all the bogus reports as support. It’s kind of like a shell game or pyramid scheme or some other illegal conspiracy where if you spend the hundreds of hours to read and find all the reports you’ll find that they all point back to one or two studies done many years ago and had little to do with the subject and wouldn’t support the conclusion they came up with if it did.

    1. Well said Al, and to add to that, if MUARC has actually used data supplied by VicToads TAC and VicPol, that clean gets blown clear out of the water, by how many now? Parliamentary Inquiries to both road safety and Motorcycle safety.

  4. Al. You forgot the “knowingly” unlicensed dirt bike riders who think it’s OK to go from their homes in the burbs to their favourite “bush” areas and annoy the crap out of local residents in the meantime, and those morons who just ride their shitbox bikes illegally around residential streets.

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