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Motorcycle Theft Drops During Pandemic

Motorcycle theft fell a surprising 2.7% to 9021 in the past financial year (2019/20) while overall Australian motor vehicle theft increased 2% to 56,312.

It appears motorcycle thieves stayed home during the coronavirus pandemic as motorcycle thefts had been on course for a bumper year.

Thefts were trending up with a 10.% increase to 9672 in the 2019 calendar year. In fact, that was the biggest increase of any category of vehicle.

Instead, motorcycle thefts have dropped dramatically during the pandemic which seems to run completely contra to thefts of other motor vehicles.

The National Motor Vehicle Theft Council even points out that there is a correlation between the performance of the economy and crime.

They tip that with the recession caused by the pandemic it is “almost certain the current uplift in vehicle crime will extend into 2021 at a minimum”.

However, that may not include motorcycles.

Motorcycle thefts

London motorcycle theft
(Image: Met Police)

The biggest drop in motorcycle theft was in NSW, down 251 (11.6%) from 2160 to 1909.

At the other end of the scale, Tasmania was up a whopping 27.1%.

State or Territory 2018/19 2019/20 % change
Thefts % of thefts Thefts % of thefts
ACT 104 1.1 110 1.2 5.8%
NSW 2,160 23.3 1,909 21.2 -11.6%
NT 100 1.1 77 0.9 -23.0%
QLD 1,864 20.1 1,956 21.7 4.9%
SA 711 7.7 783 8.7 10.1%
TAS 170 1.8 216 2.4 27.1%
VIC 2,037 22.0 2,056 22.8 0.9%
WA 2,121 22.9 1,914 21.2 -9.8%
AUS 9,267 100.0 9,021 100.0 -2.7%

Motorcycle thefts by Local Government Area

Once again, the South East Queensland and Perth regions were the most popular targets for thieves.

As a consequence, these areas usually attract higher insurance premiums.

State or Territory LGA 2018/19 2019/20 % change
QLD Brisbane (City) 466 599 28.5%
QLD Gold Coast (City) 273 277 1.5%
VIC Melbourne (City) 232 247 6.5%
QLD Logan (City) 168 185 10.1%
QLD Moreton Bay (Regional Council) 169 185 9.5%
WA Cockburn (City) 117 151 29.1%
NSW Newcastle (City) 156 119 -23.7%
WA Stirling (City) 156 116 -25.6%
SA Adelaide (City) 52 114 119.2%
WA Rockingham (City) 85 114 34.1%

Most stolen

As usual, the most stolen motorcycle brands are also the most prevalent in the market such as Japanese bikes.

However, scooters and off-road bikes were also prime targets of thieves as they are lightweight and easy to steal. Some are also used on properties and tourist destinations where they may not be re-registered.

That explains the high theft rating of off-road brands such as KTM and Husqvarna, and scooter brands such as SYM, Kymco and Piaggio.

Top motorcycle theft targets

Make 2018/19 2019/20
Honda 2,010 1,938
Yamaha 1,582 1,574
Kawasaki 854 884
Suzuki 816 819
KTM 647 598
SYM 287 336
Kymco 223 257
Piaggio 203 221
Harley Davidson 219 186
Triumph 182 160
Husqvarna 145 146
Longjia 142 130
Hyosung 173 129
Ducati 92 101
Aprilia 94 99
Vespa 78 94
BMW 78 92
Bolwell 65 68
CFMoto 60 57
Vmoto 65 56


Triumph Street Models Recalled

Triumph Motorcycles Australia has issued a recall for 217 2019 and 2020 Street Scrambler and Street Twin models over a wiring issue.

The official notice issued through the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says: “Misrouted harness wiring may become damaged by the lower lug on main frame headstock when the handlebars are rotated. Damaged wiring harness may cause the engine to stall, and increase the risk of injury and death of the rider or other road users in an accident.”

Owners of affected vehicles will be contacted and asked to present their motorcycle to an authorised Triumph dealers to have recall work carried out free of charge.
A new VIN label protector will be fitted to the motorcycle to prevent contact between the wiring and the headstock lug. Some motorcycles may also need a rework of the harness.

Click here to find a Triumph dealer.

Bonneville recalls

The “Bonneville” range has been the subject of several embarrassing recalls since they were introduced in 2016:


Even though manufacturers and importers usually contact owners when a recall is issued, the bike may have been sold privately to a rider unknown to the company.

Kirsh Helmets

Therefore, Motorbike Writer publishes all motorcycle and scooter recalls as a service to all riders.

If you believe there is an endemic problem with your bike that should be recalled, contact the ACCC on 1300 302 502.

To check whether your motorcycle has been recalled, click on these sites:


Like Grandfather, Like Father, Like Son!

Father’s Day is a great time to share your passion for riding with your grandfather, father or son.

According to recent research, more than one in three motorcyclists got into riding because of their friends or family.

The new research survey was conducted by YouGov and commissioned by ING who is launching their new Motorcycle Insurance.

It also found that a quarter of riders vow to keep biking a family tradition and teach their kids how to ride.

What’s more, riders want to share their joy of riding with friends or their partner (43%).

Father's Day

All in the family 

One example of this family biking tradition is Victorian rider Rob Hartnett who says riding is about “friendship, mindset, bonding, shared passions and getting away from all our electronic devices for a while”.

The 56-year-old has been riding since his dad, John, took him on a lap around a race track at just six months and now he is teaching his children to ride and race motorcycles.

From there, he was on minibikes built by his dad, before pushbikes and getting heavily into motorsports and racing.

For Rob, riding is a family tradition.

His mother, Shirley, still rides in her 80s and his 89-year-old dad still rides to rallies after racing for 75 years in speedway and road races.

“My parents met through bikes many years ago and while that was not the same for me, my wife, Leisa, is thankfully a petrol head and loves bikes and cars,” he says.

His three sons also ride. Ben 23 raced junior MX and has his road licence; Finn, 20, and Lachie, 18, rode minibikes and have ridden many kms with Rob.

“We did the junior MX scene in Victoria with our boys when our eldest son, Ben, was racing and it was great family fun,” Rob says.

“Leisa did corner duties which was a baptism of fire for her and we travelled around Victoria and met many great families and friends.

“We often go to rallies together and a couple of years ago all three generations were riding at the All British Rally.”

Father's Day

Encourage kids to ride

Rob believes children should be encouraged to ride as it makes them better car drivers and road users later in life.

“Most of all I encourage it as it’s a way of clearing your mind and focusing on the now,” he says.

“Not the past, not the future but exactly where you are at that time.

“My wife Leisa says when you drive you are in a capsule and then you stop and arrive. On a bike she says you are already in the moment all the time. When you stop, you have already arrived you just get off the bike.

“Riding allows you to experience nature and the world in a unique way.”

Today, Rob considers himself a social rider, taking trips on weekends and attending classic rallies with his wife Leisa.

He’s owned Ducatis, Yamahas, Triumphs, Hondas, a Suzuki and even a Velocette. Rob currently rides a Triumph Bonneville and a Honda Café Racer.

“Riding is a common bond of a group of people with similar interests,” he says.

“No one cares where you come from, rich or poor, what colour you are, your background.

“When the engine starts and the visor goes down we are all one together.

“The joy and camaraderie is a global thing unique to bikes. Watch a junior MX race or a MotoGP race and after every race you see the riders congratulate each other. You rarely see that in car racing.”


Survey for trail bike riding

Trail bike riders are being asked to complete a survey so the volunteer NSW Recreational Trail Bike Riders can develop a strategic plan.

The group was formed as a sub-committee of the Motorcycle Council of NSW in July 2020.

Spokesman Adrian Bois says that with an estimated 75,000 recreational trail bike riders in NSW, there was a need for a peak body to represent their concerns about access to riding areas.

“Our aim is to take those concerns to the relevant bodies in order to create a viable relationship that ensures the future of trail riding in NSW,” he says.

“The committee’s first task is undertaking a collaborative approach to the development of our NSW Trail Bike Strategic Plan.

“We will be engaging with all stakeholders such as Riders, FCAI, NPWS, NSW Police, Office of Sport, Outdoors NSW, Forestry Corporation and LGAs.”

They recently launched a website and prepared the Recreational Trail Bike Rider survey.

The survey asks details about you such as your age and occupation, your bike licence and where you live.

It also asks about your riding such as your skill level, where and when you ride, who with and how frequently.

The survey also asks if you have ever had a licence check while riding in a forest.

Then it seeks guidance on whether the trails rules should be changed, concerns about the current system, preserving trail bike areas and how councils and the NSW Trail Riders can help.


Defending standing on footpegs

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.


Motorcycle Connectivity: A Tool For Safety Or A Distraction?

(Contributor post)

The daily lives of people have always been heavily influenced by the technologies that are currently available to them. Whether it’s in the way that people are so heavily reliant on their smartphones to get them through the day, or in how people use vehicles to move from point to point efficiently is proof of how important technology is to the average person.

One piece of technology that is often heralded to be a technological leap comes in the form of the Internet of Things. Imagine a world where devices are able to share information and interact with one another. This creates a whole ecosystem similar to that of Apple and Samsung in how their devices are able to synergize with each other in order to create a seamless user experience that not only increases convenience, but also productivity. But first things first, what exactly is the Internet of Things, and how does this technology affect motorcycle safety?

The Internet of Things

Simply put, the Internet of Things refers to the concept of connecting devices to the internet. These devices can be anything from cell phones, headphones, lamps, microwaves, washing machines, etc. This interconnectivity is what allows these devices to interact with each other. Imagine opening a fridge and finding that the milk’s run out, and the fridge suggests to make an online purchase for milk. Or how a person can open their garage door, turn on lights, and heat dinner through a microwave, all while driving home from work. This interconnectivity is what allows for an unprecedented level of productivity and efficiency.

How Does This Relate To Motorcycle Safety?

Simply put, a motorcycle equipped with smart sensors can work in synergy with bio-sensors that can measure a rider’s health and it can also detect other vehicles to help reduce the risk of an accident. Data such as speed, road conditions, weather, and obstacles can be used to alert a rider of potential dangers ahead.

IoT-capable motorcycles might even be able to provide real-time diagnostics on the bike’s condition by collecting data from the bike’s sensors. A faulty part can be easily detected by the bike’s sensors, which would then prompt the bike to alert the rider that there’s something wrong with the bike. This extends to aspects of the bike such as suspension, oil levels, engine condition, etc. It can also be used by manufacturers to provide timely recall information, or to give riders a hassle-free diagnostic without the need to bring the bike to a mechanic’s garage.

The Human Factor.

While all these conveniences might sound nice, the danger here lies in the fact that riders might become too reliant on technology, and in turn, neglect the very basics of road safety. Even with all these pieces of technology, the ultimate determinant of whether a rider makes it to his destination safely will always be his decision-making skills, sobriety, and riding skill.

We should never forget that technology is merely a tool, and that it can be used or misused, just like any other tool. An overdependence on these technologies should not be a reason to have our responsibilities on the road diminished, especially considering the fact that according to these Pensacola Personal Injury attorneys, one of the leading causes of car accidents is distracted driving.

The road is especially dangerous to motorcycle riders because of the fact that motorcycles inherently have less protection than cars. While new safety tech is always good to have, riders shouldn’t rely too much on technology, especially when that piece of tech is merely in its infancy stage.


Female rider dies in crash with ute

(File photo of a ute and motorcycle crash)

A female rider in her late 30s has died in a collision with a ute in Bathurst, NSW, this morning (29 April 2020).

NSW Police say emergency services were called to the crash scene on Ophir Road about 9.30am.

Officers from Chifley Police District were told the rider was travelling west when she collided with a ute.

Tragically, she died at the scene.

Our sincere condolences to her family and friends.

The driver of the ute, a man believed to be aged in his 50s, was uninjured. He was taken to Bathurst Hospital for mandatory testing.

Inquiries continue and a report will be prepared for the Coroner.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

Commute traffic lane filtering speed wet NSW sydney police commuting slow speeding speed limitIndeed, slow down and back off

Ute crashes

Without suggesting any blame for this incident, it seems that a lot of motorcycle crashes involve a ute.

Just do a search for “ute crash” on this page and you will see.

We suggest riders exercise extra caution when riding near utilities and trucks.

Ute drivers often use them as their work vehicle and may be distracted by calls involving their work.

They can also be loaded up with equipment and tools that could illegally disrupt a clear view of a small motorcycle in traffic.

You should also be aware that in some states, such as Victoria, there is no legal requirement for these drivers to cover their load.

So watch out for hazardous objects that could fall out of them.


Riders doing best to ride responsibly

Those riders still exercising their right to ride before what could be the inevitable lockdown are acting as responsibly as they can during this pandemic crisis.

Many rider Facebook pages are now advising followers that they are no longer organising or sanctioning group rides.

Some are also suggesting riders continue to ride solo and observe social distancing and safe practices such as frequent hand washing.

While rider numbers seem to have dwindled substantially, there are still some heading out in ones and twos and trying their best to act responsibly. 

Ride responsibly

We’ve seen riders using disposable gloves at servos to fuel and pay and some are only fuelling up where they can keep their gloves and helmet on and pay by credit at the bowers.Pandemic ride responsibly

At cafe stops, riders are maintaining their distance from each other — most are even parking their bikes further apart than usual!

Cafe owners report takings have more than halved.

They say authorities have ordered them to remove seating and only offer takeaway service.

They fear they will soon be shut down altogether and are asking riders to support them before the inevitable lockdown.Pandemic ride responsibly

Health advice

Health authorities have pointed out to us that a helmet is not an effective surgical mask and motorcycle gloves are really no barrier as the coronavirus can survive for up to a day on material.

In the meantime, if you touch your face, put your gloved hands anywhere that other people might touch (fuel pump, table, credit card machine) or take your gloves off with a bare hand, then you could transmit a live virus.

Scientists say Covid-19 can survive in the air up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, 24 hours on cardboard, 48 hours on stainless steel and up to 72 hours on plastic surfaces.

As the PM says, use your judgement and act responsibly, whatever that means.Virus responsibly


Road rage leads to car hitting rider

A 23-year-old male rider is in hospital with cuts and a suspected spinal injury after a road rage incident escalated in Sydney’s inner-west on Friday.

Police appear to have located the driver responsible, but no charges have yet been laid.

The road rage incident began about 10.45pm on Friday (20 March 2020) when the motorcyclist was leaving a friend’s home on Ian Parade, Concord.

Police say a man driving a car pulled up next to the rider and the pair began arguing.

The driver allegedly got out of his vehicle and attempted to push the rider off his motorbike. The rider pushed back and rode off.

The car followed for about two kilometres before running into the motorcycle and driving away.

Officers from Burwood Police Area Command attended and established a crime scene.

The rider suffered cuts and a suspected spinal injury and was taken to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in a stable condition.

About 8.25pm yesterday (Saturday 21 March 2020), officers executed a search warrant at a home on Northcote Street, Mortlake, and seized a number of items, including a car and clothing.

Investigations are continuing.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

Tips on handling road rage

We should do all we can to avoid being lured into road rage as riders usually come off second-best to bigger vehicles.

Queensland Police Senior Sergeant Ian Park who created the #ridesafely4me Facebook site says he’s not sure if it’s perception or reality, but “our roads appear to be becoming angrier places”.

“Unfortunately, it seems to involve individuals from all road user groups as both the victims and the perpetrators. Motorcyclists and bicyclists are of course the most vulnerable due to the lack of physical protection around them. But the fundamentals of personal safety of the roads are no different to anywhere else,” he says.

Queensland Police Senior Sergeant Ian Park a social media sensation reasonSgt Park and a group of riders

Here are Ian’s tips to avoiding road rage:

If you find yourself feeling unsafe as a result of the actions of another road user, the first priority is to remove yourself from the situation as safely as possible. Unfortunately far too often incidents of poor behaviour by one road user to another are only exacerbated when the ‘victim’ retaliates. If another party chooses to yell at you, beep their horn or flash their lights – so what? Let them get it out of their system and get on their way. Inflaming the situation by ‘biting back’ rarely assists, and often only makes the situation more unsafe for everyone.

However if the other party continues to behave in a manner that makes you feel unsafe, then consider your environment. Perhaps pull into a service station, licensed premises or shopping centre that is likely to be fitted with external CCTV. This will often discourage the aggressor from taking the matter further if they know their actions (and registration details) are going to be recorded.

If no such place is available continue to drive without reacting to the aggressor until a place of safety is available, avoid making eye contact and attempt to disengage from the situation as best and safely as you can.

If you feel that you are in imminent danger, pull over and call triple zero (000). Don’t forget that ‘000’ from a mobile phone doesn’t necessarily go to your nearest operator, so always be ready to say ‘I need police in (name of City/town or nearest regional centre)’.

When speaking with a 000 operator, pass on relevant information that could assist police to investigate the matter, for example, registration details, descriptions of the person/s in the vehicle, time, date, correct location (in case there are traffic monitoring cameras located nearby etc.), descriptions about any features of the vehicle that are not standard (i.e. post factory fitted wheels, decorations, accessories, damage).

Emergency first-aid apps reason

If you carry any kind of video recording device, ensure the footage is set aside so that it doesn’t get recorded over before being provided to police. Make sure you don’t just secure the footage of the incident – also keep footage leading up to and beyond the incident to help clarify any potential counter claims by the other party that it was actually you that was the aggressor.

If the situation is over, but you are still of the belief that the matter warrants investigation with a view to action by police, you always have the right to report it. You can either attend your nearest open police station to speak to someone, contact the non-urgent police reporting number which is now 131 444 in almost all Australian Police Jurisdictions. Similarly most policing services across Australia also provide on-line reporting services. Just search the police service in your State or Territory to find their websites and follow the prompts.

Be mindful, however that any complaint of an incident involving one person upon another without any supporting evidence is often difficult to successfully prosecute. A successful prosecution requires sufficient evidence being presented to a court to determine that an offence was committed beyond reasonable doubt.

However, this should not prevent you from reporting the matter, but is something to keep in mind if police determine there is not sufficient evidence for a matter to proceed. It doesn’t necessarily mean police don’t believe you! If you provide police with a video recording you must be willing and able to give evidence.


Triumph winds down Hinckley production

Triumph Motorcycle will move more of its production from Hinckley in the UK to Thailand in a bid to target rapidly growing Asian markets.

In 2002, Triumph opened its first factory in Thailand where it now has three facilities making about 80% of last year’s total of 60,131 bikes.

There are also factories in Brazil and India supplying for the local markets.

And last month Triumph announced an agreement with Baja to build a range of 200-750cc motorcycles in India.

Proposed Triumph 250Proposed Triumph 250

Hinckley factory

Their factory in Hinckley, Leicestershire, mainly makes engine components and will become a research and development centre.

It will continue to build their new Triumph Factory Custom (TFC) motorcycles with production wound down from about 6500 a year to about 4500.

Triumph Thruxton and Rocket 3 TFC ace diamondTriumph Thruxton and Rocket 3 TFC

They will lay off about 50 workers on the assembly line, paint shop and weld shop.

However, they will add about 20 design engineer jobs in their upgraded R&D facility.

Thai advantages

Apart from the cost advantages of making bikes in Thailand, most major component suppliers are nearby, including an Ohlins factory.

Australia also has a free trade agreement with Thailand, which keeps a lid on prices.

Triumph boss Nick Bloor says the move is part of “Triumph’s next wave of strategic growth”.

“We want to maximise the growth opportunity for the brand globally, particularly in the Asian markets,” he says.

“This is why we are increasing our design resources here in the UK, and focusing our mass-production capabilities in Thailand.

“There will still be manufacturing capability in the UK but the role of our facility in Hinckley will be reconfigured to enable us to create a more flexible and high-value capability.”

Leicestershire automotive jobs have taken a big hit in recent weeks with Norton Motorcycles closing down and going into administration amid allegations of fraud, misappropriated government funding and unpaid taxes.