Tag Archives: road rules

Should big vehicles take care of riders?

The UK Highway Code is being revised to incorporate a hierarchy of vehicles where bigger vehicles have to look out for smaller, more vulnerable, road users such as motorcyclists.

Sounds like fair deal, right?

After all, big vehicles such as trucks have huge blind spots and drivers need to take care to ensure that small vehicles such as motorcycles, scooters and bicycles are not in the way before taking a turn or other manoeuvre. 

Click here to read about how you can avoid a truck’s many blind spots.

And most riders would like to see road safety messages include an education component to make drivers more aware of them.

However, we are not so sure that legislating a hierarchy of vehicles is such a good idea, especially in Australia where our roads are shared by everything from bicycles t 50+m road trains.

For a start, how would police patrol for offences?


And if a law can’t be policed, it shouldn’t exist.

The only use for such a rule would be in the wake of a crash where the onus of driving innocence would then fall on the larger of the vehicles involved.

However, this onus of proof runs contrary to our justice system where people are innocent until proven guilty.

It would also apply to motorcyclists if they were involved in a crash with a cyclist.Identification bicycle cyclist video

It’s quite ridiculous and an example of safety Nazis getting in the way of a commonsense approach.

The Australian bicycle lobby has been arguing for something similar for some years.

However, road safety signalling should be about sharing the road, taking responsibility for your own actions and penalising those who operate outside the road rules.

The UK Highway Code does require drivers and riders of all vehicles to be responsible for looking out for more vulnerable road users, but the concern is the implied guilt simply because a vehicle is simply bigger.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

4 Road Violations Most Motorcyclists Commit in California

(Contributed post)

Motorcycle accidents have been one of the major problems on the road in California. Motorcyclists don’t have a steel or sturdy material to protect them when accidents happen- as cars do. Hence, there’s a high chance they’ll be thrown away during any vehicular collision.

Motorcyclists are less visible and conspicuous to other vehicle drivers and pedestrians. The two-wheel vehicles are also less stable than the land vehicles with four or more wheels. The driver must be both mentally and physically aware when driving a motorcycle.

Many factors affect the drivers’ safety and focus while on the road. It could be because of a problem with the motorcycle, bad weather, or something wrong with the driver themselves. However, most motorcycle accidents occur because of road violations committed by these drivers. Here are some of the most common violations committed by motorcyclists in California.


The speed limit in California varies. Most highways have a maximum speed of 65 mph, while some have 55 mph. Hence, driving beyond these speed limits is considered “speeding,” which is against the law. Drivers must slow down their speed depending on essential contributory factors.

All drivers should maintain a safe driving speed when the weather is bad, or the road is poor. Heavy traffic and pedestrians are also contributing factors. However, despite these, many drivers still exceed posted speed limits while on the streets.

You might have been driving a motorcycle for many years, but others haven’t. Hence, you tend to drive at high speed because you’re equipped with excellent driving skills. However, some inexperienced drivers don’t have the skills you have.

Most of the time, these experienced drivers lane split. All states in the US consider lane splitting illegal. However, the California Vehicle Code doesn’t explicitly express if it’s illegal in the state of California.

Technically, vehicle drivers in California can split lanes, but they must not exceed 30 mph. If the traffic is heavy, speeding and lane splitting, at the same time, aren’t allowed to avoid a serious accident.

Under the Influence of Alcohol

Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal. Many have already died because of this, and the law in California upholds penalties for violators. If it’s your first time getting caught with this violation, you might end up with a suspended driver’s license, pay fines in thousands, and, worse, end up in jail.

If motorcyclists continue violating this California Vehicle Code, penalties will also continue to increase. California gives the violator up to ten years to cleanse their record from prior violations. However, many vehicle drivers, including the motorcyclists, continue to disobey the law resulting in numerous cases of road accidents.

At the end of the day, it’s always better to be safe at all times than to be sorry. If you got involved in a DUI-caused vehicular accident, say in San Diego, you should find a San Diego personal injury lawyer right away to help you with your case. However, if you got in trouble while in Los Angeles, it’s best to find a lawyer in that area. That way, it would be easier to access your attorney.

Incomplete Gear

The state of California provided a California Motorcycle Handbook for the motorcyclists to know the do’s and don’ts while driving on the road. One important thing included in the handbook is the proper motorcyclist attire while driving.

The United States Department of Transportation implemented the use of compliant safety helmets. Manufacturers should follow the guidelines set in producing helmets to comply with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard. Helmets with this certification are high-quality and durable.

With the quality and durability of these helmets, your chance of survival will increase when involved in an accident. Moreover, the handbook suggests that the riders and passengers of a motorcycle should put on face and eye protection.

Motorcyclists shouldn’t cover both of their ears with headsets, earplugs, or earphones unless due to a medical condition. This is so a driver can hear if an emergency vehicle is near or other drivers are calling their attention using horns.

These are just some of the simple guidelines stated in the handbook about what a motorcyclist should wear while driving. However, many drivers aren’t still following it. A motorcyclist might get involved in a severe accident simply because of not wearing eye protection.

Incomplete Motorcycle Equipment

The California Motorcycle Handbook also includes guidelines of what the motorcycle should have before a driver can use it. There are specific equipment requirements needed to be met. The tires should have enough tread and air pressure for safe driving. Brakes for both front and rear parts of the motorcycle should be functional.

The same goes for the horns and side mirrors. These should be present and in good condition. Moreover, motorcyclists should turn the headlight both day and night, especially for vehicles manufactured in or after the year of 1978. The front and rear turn signal lights must be working at all times. The motorcycle should also have a muffler and footrest.

Additionally, when you’re holding the handlebars, your hands shouldn’t be six inches above your shoulders. It’ll be difficult to maneuver the handlebars if it’s too high, and swerving will be hard for your arms and shoulders to keep the balance. Secure one handbook to check that you’re not missing anything when using your motorcycle.

These are the guidelines in the handbook about what your motorcycle should have before driving it. However, many drivers still don’t follow these guidelines. They still use their motorcycles when the signal lights aren’t functional.

Many accidents occur because of signal light malfunction or not using the signal lights at all. That’s something that you don’t want to happen. Hence, remember what’s stated in the handbook to avoid getting involved in an accident in the future.


Driving a motorcycle is fun, but, keep in mind the things discussed above to avoid any possible accident in the future. Although a motorcycle offers convenience, especially in heavy traffic, it’s also very dangerous if you’re reckless. Hence, simply follow the road rules and guidelines for your safety.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Riders auditing roads for motorcycle safety

Road conditions play a significant role in motorcycle safety so some state governments and councils are now auditing thousands of kilometres of roads specifically for motorcycle hazards.

Queensland, NSW and South Australian transport departments have been using a special award-winning motorcycle for the purpose.

Brett Hoskin with TMR auditing bikeQueensland Transport and Main Roads auditing bike

Australian road safety consultancy Safe System Solutions Pty Ltd has also audited several thousand kilometres of road in Tasmania, Victoria, New Zealand and Western Australia. (See a list of audited roads at the end of this article.)

Here is a video they produced about auditing the Lake Leake Road in Tasmania, which is a great motorcycling route but also a hot spot for serious motorcycle crashes.

Road auditing

We recently spoke with Safe System Solutions Research and Evaluations Lead and motorcyclist Dr Tana Tan while he was in Queensland to audit a popular motorcycling road.

He says auditing roads is one part of their three-point strategy to improve motorcycle safety. 

Aussie knowhow helps Thai riders stay safe Safe System Solutions Pty Ltd learn learner novice training licensed licensingDr Tana Tan

The others are: training engineers, road designers and road maintenance crews on what constitutes a safe road for riders through their Making Roads Motorcycle Friendly and Road Maintenance for Motorcycle Safety Courses and their consulting, research and evaluation services for motorcycle safety.

“Our motorcycle road safety audit reports are provided to our clients, generally councils and government departments. It’s then up to the councils and government departments to follow up on our findings,” he says.

Dr Tan says they use various motorcycles to assess roads.

“In Tassie, we mainly use adventure bikes, but I prefer a road bike with firm suspension that picks up the irregularities in the road,” he says.

The bike is fitted with a camera, accelerometer and data collector.Safe System Solutions road auditing

Here is a list of hazards that auditors look for:

  • Uneven surfaces especially on corner entry and exit that can destabilise suspension during braking and acceleration.
  • Removal of roadside hazards such as trees and signs, especially on the exit of a corner. Signs can be repositioned behind barriers or replaced with safer flexible signage that bends on impact. “It is more expensive to install but in the long-run it is cheaper as the signs pop back up and don’t necessarily have to be repaired or replaced after a crash”, Tana says.
  • Road edges with a “bleed” of the road surface over the edge gravel from melting tar and wear.
  • Intrusion of gravel from side roads. This is fixed by surfacing about 100m of gravel on the side road.
  • Road markings should be non-slippery paint or products such as OmniGrip to prevent loss of traction.
  • Appropriate speed limits. Tana says speed is often seen by people as an “easy fix”, but it relies on community and government support, which can be difficult to obtain because of other drivers such as the “economic imperative” of timely transport.
  • Edge lines are important to give riders cues about diminishing or increasing radius. On tightening corners the edge lines seem to converge and the opposite on corners that open up. 

Barrier hazards

Old Pac gets more ‘safety barriers’Lower rub rails on the Old Pacific Highway

One of the most contentious issues with riders is barriers, especially the use of wire rope barriers (WRBs) which some riders describe as “people slicers”.

Tana says that steel W-beam barriers on bends, especially on popular motorcycling roads, should have a lower rub rail to protect riders from impact with the upright posts. 

He says they have no issue with wire rope barriers on straights as riders don’t tend to fall asleep as much as drivers. 

“That’s because we have limited tank range so we stop more frequently, we generally monitor our fatigue better and we have to be alert to ride,” he says.

“The issue is with placing WRBs on curves.”

Wire rope barriers in Tassie on a gradual bendWire rope barriers in Tassie on a gradual bend

Most states comply with Australian regulations that do not permit WRBs on bends of less than 200m radius which is not at all tight. 

Tana says the wire ropes are not the danger to riders, the posts in curves are the danger:

“When you tension the wires on a bend it pulls the poles dangerously inward toward the road,” he says. 

It also creates a jagged line of wires rather than a smooth curve around the corner so wire rope barriers don’t work in corners.

Examples of Safe System Solutions motorcycle audits

Safe System Solutions road auditingCamera view of an auditing bike

  • Auckland, New Zealand: About 100km of urban arterial roads;
  • South-western Victoria: About 300km of roads including some of the Great Ocean Rd and Dean Marsh-Lorne Rd;
  • Eastern Victoria: About 1800km of roads including the Great Alpine Rd and Mount Baw Baw Tourist Rd;
  • Western Victoria: About 150km including Halls Gap Rd;
  • Northern Victoria: About 600km including Murray River Rd;
  • Melbourne region: About 200km including the Black Spur;
  • Melbourne city: about 200km of commuter routes such as Lower Plenty Rd, Hoddle St, Victoria Parade and Rosanna Rd;
  • Tasmania: About 200km including Lake Leak Rd and Hollow Tree Rd; and 
  • Western Australia: About 200km including Toodyay Rd.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Motorcycle parking bays under siege

Motorcycle parking is under siege from motorists who think they can use our parking bays and even put shopping trolleys in them.

It’s rude, it’s lazy and it’s illegal.Motorcycle parking under siege park

We have seen this happen on many occasions and social media is heaving with photographs of cars and other vehicles parked in motorcycle parking bays.

In fact, we invite you to send in your photos, shaming the drivers!

Some council authorities go out of their way to supply specific parking for riders and use special stencils to point out that your wide car won’t fit!Motorcycle parking under siege park

Yet it still doesn’t stop drivers from using them.

We’ve also seen trikes and three-wheel roadster using motorcycle bays where they are too wide for the allotted space.Motorcycle parking under siege park

Yes, they are officially classed as motorcycles, but the law says a vehicle must be confined within the white lines.

In fact, you can even be fined if your motorcycle leans over the lines!Parking fine Motorcycle parking under siege park

Parking under siege

Parking is one of the biggest issues that upsets riders.

We take up so little space and are a solution to the parking shortage, so we should expect some attitude from councils.

Instead, we find motorcycle parking is under siege.

We are not only have to fight councils such as Melbourne which is considering taking away some free footpath parking but also motorists who trespass on our legal bays.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Rider’s call for cargo nets rejected

A rider’s call for ute and truck tarps and/or cargo nets, as in Queensland, has been rejected by the Victorian Department of Transport.

Longtime motorcycle advocate Rodney Brown (pictured above) says debris from utes and trucks is particularly dangerous to vulnerable motorcycle, scooter and bicycle riders.

He should know; he suffered multiple injures and wrote off his bike when he crashed on Riddells Creek Bridge after hitting a slippery liquid that had spilt out of a 15-litre white bucket that had fallen off the back of a vehicle.

So in 2018, he started a campaign to get utes and trucks to secure their loads with a tarp or cargo net as in Queensland where the fine starts at $200.

Qld secured loadA Queensland ute with a mandatory cargo net over its load

Cargo nets rejected

Despite Rod’s many protestations to government, Transport Department spokesman Roger Chao has now rejected the move, saying they are “not the ideal solution for all circumstances”.

“Victoria’s laws require the operator to restrain a vehicle’s load down securely so that it does not come off,” he says.

The rules are similar in other states such as NSW.

“It is the operator’s responsibility to assess the most appropriate method to secure the load for each particular set of conditions. Therefore, we maintain our position that it would not be adequate to mandate a specific method to use on all vehicles types when carrying different loads.

Unsecured load in a ute cargoUnsecured load in the back of a Victorian ute

Under current Victorian law, motorists can be fined up to $11,000 if their load falls off their vehicle and causes a crash.

Yet there is no specific law requiring loads to be covered as there is in most other states which stipulate penalties for not securing a load properly.

Such laws are preventative, rather than the Victorian punitive rule that only applies a penalty if load debris causes a crash.

Rod says VicRoads only suggests “nets and tarpaulins may be used to restrain lighter items”.

He proposed that all light vehicles such as cars, utes, vans, trailers (including boats on trailers) and trucks (gross vehicle mass up to 4.5 tonnes) must be covered with a approved tarp or cargo net so that nothing can escape.

“This is a no-brainer, based on the costs involved with doing nothing,” he says.

“I have gone as far as possible with this current Victorian government.

“The next step will be to take this issue up with a newly elected government.

“Examples of this approach was getting filtering and new road riding assessment of L riders happening due to a change of government. Thank heavens other states don’t think like our Victorian government does. Towards Zero – what a joke.”

Unsecured loads

In 2017, a Queensland driver was fined $275 after a motorcyclist hit a mattress that fell off the back of his ute in the Clem 7 tunnel.

We have published several stories about unsecured debris falling off trucks and utes.

Australian authorities receive tens of thousands of callouts a year to collect debris from our roads.

It includes household goods, building materials and green waste, causing road closures, disruptions, injuries and deaths.

Most vulnerable to these unsecured loads are motorcyclists.

Rod says the Victorian Traffic Accident Commission does not keep statistics relating to deaths and injuries caused by loose debris.

“There is obviously a need to collect more data on road safety,” he says.

Many riders have witnessed all sorts of things flying off the backs of trucks and pick-ups, but the worst culprits seem to be tradies.

Perhaps they are in a rush to get home or to the next job, but too many don’t secure their loads properly.

Take a look at the side of our freeways. They are littered with tradies’ hard hats, rubber boots, gloves and tools.

Other motorists to avoid are weekend gardeners taking their load to the dump in a hired trailer.

They are not professional transport operators, so they don’t know how to secure a load properly. Give them a wide berth.

Have you crashed because of an unsecured load? Leave your comments in the box below.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Minimum rider age limit increased

The minimum rider age for South Australians will be raised by two years with some concessions, but they have dodged a plan for mandatory hi-vis vests as in Victoria.

Around the nation it is getting tougher and tougher for young people to get motorcycle licences with Queensland even requiring them to first hold a car licence for a year.

The Australian trend to make it more difficult for younger riders runs contrary to Europe.

In Germany, the minimum rider age has recently been lowered from 16 to 15 while the moped and restricted motorcycle licence (up to 125cc) minimum age in Latvia and Estonia is 14; 15 in France, Czech Republic, Spain; and 16 in Portugal, Romania.

These countries believe that getting teenagers on to motorcycles teaches them a sense of vulnerability and roadcraft before they are let loose on larger bikes or cars.

SA Police Minister Corey Wingard said they would introduce the new bill on graduated motorcycle licensing in the next few months.

Minimum age

The Minister said that last year there were 17 fatal motorcycle crashes in SA with 11 aged under 31 while the youngest was 16.

How does increasing the minimum age have anything to do with those figures, except for maybe that one fatality?

He also says that between 2014-18 young motorcycle riders were over-represented in serious crash data with 10% involving riders aged 15-19, 11% involving riders aged 20-24 and 10% riders 25-29.

So those over 29 represented 69% of serious crashes!

In fact, national statistics from 1995 to 2019 show a steady decrease in fatalities among under 30-year-old riders from 562 in the five-year period from 1995 to ’99 to 312 from 2015 to ’19.

Over the past five years, under 30s have not had the largest number of fatalities, being overtaken for the first time by over 50s with 323 deaths.

This could be the result of tougher licensing laws.

However, it could also be due to the fact that the number of young riders getting licenses has declined while the number of returned riders has increased.

The statistical trends are similar in all states including Queensland and South Australia where under-30s fatalities have halved since 1995.

New rules

The new SA rules will allow various exclusions for students, workers and regional residents.

For example, regional resident aged 16 and 17 can get a restricted motorcycle learner’s permit to travel to tertiary education, vocational education and training or for work.

Also 17-year-olds with a current provisional car licence can get a motorcycle learner’s permit.

There will also be a night curfew on under 25s from midnight to 5am unless the rider has an exemption which is in line with current rules for p-plate drivers.

Rider advocacy group Ride to Review says the restrictions could have been worse.

Rode to Review Tim Kelly learn licence licensing plans incorrectTim Kelly of Ride to Review

Spokesman Tim Kelly says they worked hard with the government to secure the concessions and to avoid the planned mandatory hi-vests.

Full details of the new Bill have not yet been released, but previous recommendations included: displaying correct plates, restricting pillions, mandatory carriage of licence, zero blood alcohol, a lower demerit point threshold for disqualification and no mobile phones.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) motorcycle spokesman Rhys Griffiths says tougher licensing laws across the nation have put the motorcycle industry under “more pressure than we’ve ever had in the past”.

He says the tougher licensing laws have dramatically increased the price of obtaining a motorcycle licence and may have led to an increase in unlicensed riding.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

10 New Year resolutions we’d like to see

Each New Year we make resolutions to do something new, better or at least different for the next year.

This year we thought we would do something different for the new decade and compile a wish list of 10 New Year resolutions we would like others to make.

We know most of these are just vain wishes, but we thought we would present them anyhow in the hope someone out there takes up at least one of them!

The list includes other motorists, but is also aimed at other riders.

Resolutions we would like others to make:

  1. Drivers should resolve to pay more attention to riders and looking out for their safety. Get off your phones, stop playing with the touchscreen on your cars instruments and use your mirrors.
  2. Caravan and truck drivers could resolve not to try to pass other vehicles on the only double-lane uphill stretch for miles around, blocking a string of traffic behind them who could have passed a lot quicker.
  3. How about riders resolving not to make disparaging comments about other people’s choice of bike? We are part of a small community, so we should stick together and support each other.

    Pink Hello Kitty Ducati Scrambler revenue male slips
    That’s an unusual pink slip!

  4. Some riders could also resolve to ride within their abilities. Don’t show off or try to get your knee down on public roads. Take some responsibility for your own safety and don’t just blame other motorists.
  5. Wouldn’t it be great if cyclists resolved to not use the road as their own personal racetrack and take up most of a lane on a narrow mountain road?Cyclist identification call rejected
  6. We would also love it if governments at all levels resolved to listen to riders and include them in their planning.
  7. Drivers of all vehicles should resolve to understand that lane filtering is legal and not only a benefit to riders, but to all motorists as it reduces the number of vehicles in the commuter queue

    roadside lane filter filtering ad sign billboard
    Here’s a sign we’d like to see

  8. Instead of adding performance parts to your motorcycle to squeeze out more power, riders could resolve to lose some weight to improve the bike’s power-to-weight ratio, or maybe take some riding lessons to sharpen your skills. Admit it; you don’t use anywhere near all the power your bike already produces!

    Harley-Davidson Fat Bob and Low Rider S at Champions Race Day Lakeside Park track day
    Track day riders at Champions Ride Day briefing

  9. We would appreciate it if some keyboard warriors would resolve to not fire off random abusive comments to us and other readers before thoroughly reading our articles, including this ironic list.
  10. Let’s all resolve to do our best to survive 2020.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Your top 10 motorcycle stories of 2019

Stories about helmet safety and legalities, Arlen Ness and Charley Boorman, road rules, crashes, lane filtering and a big-bore kit attracted the most interest from our readers in 2019.

With more than 300,000 readers a month, we have a pretty fair idea of what subjects are of interest to our readers.

So we have compiled a list of the most read stories from our website in 2019.

Top stories of 2019

1 Sticker fine

Our readers love stories about riders winning over an injustice.

So the top story of the year went to our article about Queensland Police waiving a Bribie Island rider’s $400/3point infringement for having a void helmet sticker.

Ian Joice told us the external certification sticker had the word “VOID” across it from age and sun damage while the internal label was faded due to wear. 

We reckon it proves that riders can legally remove the external sticker so long as the internal label is still there, no matter what condition it’s in.

2 Lane filtering

menace ACT police are seeking to charge this driver with road rage on legally filtering riders https://motorbikewriter.com/lane-filtering-road-rage-charge-stalled/ mencaing appeal rejected
ACT police finally nabbed this driver for road rage

Speaking of injustice stories, you were greatly relieved when ACT Police finally nabbed a driver seven months after he swerved his car at two legally lane filtering riders. 

However, four months later first-time offender Jake Searle, 28, got off with a light penalty of a one-year good behaviour order and three-month disqualification with no fine. That means he’s out there legally driving again, so watch out!

3 Arlen Ness

Arlen Ness - one cool dude
Arlen Ness – one cool dude

Sadly, iconic American motorcycle customiser and cool dude Arlen Ness died, aged 79, in March.

There must be a lot of riders out there who admire his work, ride bikes with paintwork designed or inspired by him, own some of his accessories, or wear some of his riding gear.

In November we also lost Luigi Termignoni, aged 75, the founder of eponymous motorcycle exhaust company. Our glowing obituary was also one of our most popular stories, although not in the top 10. 

4 Helmet safetyCrush helmet

Anything to do with helmet safety usually rates high.

Our report on the latest testing for safety and comfort by the NSW Consumer Rating and Assessment of Safety Helmets (CRASH) revealed that only seven out of 30 helmets rated four out of five stars. 

5 Emergency rule

Cop injured under new speed rule crash police emergency 40km/h charged
Cop injured under new speed rule crash police emergency 40km/h

Most riders seem to believe they are in danger of being rear-ended under the rule in some states that requires motorists to slow to 40km/h when passing emergency vehicles (25km/h in South Australia).

So there was a lot of interest in our article about a NSW police motorcyclist being hit in that exact scenario in January under a 12-month trial of the rule.

In September, NSW made the rule permanent but with some changes. Click her for more info. 

6 Multiple fatality

Pick-Up crash with US riders accident
Image: Associated Press

Horrific news emerged from the US in June of a pick-up truck driver ploughing into a group of former US Marines riding to their annual meeting, killing seven and injuring three others. 

Driver Volodoymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, is alleged to have been under the influence of drugs at the time and had previous similar convictions.

volodoymyr zhukovskyy Rider killer faces long jail term carnage
Zhukovskyy in court

He remains in jail facing multiple charges and up to 105 years behind bars! 

Meanwhile, the transport department that failed to disqualify his and other drivers’ licences for similar offences has been overhauled and the boss sacked. 

Car ploughed into riders month
Kyogle crash (Image: Seven News)

There was a similar incident in Kyogle, NSW, in October when a Kia Rio ploughed into four motorcycles from the Sons Of The Southern Cross motorcycle club, killing one rider.

NSW Police are yet to charge the driver. 

7 Parking damage

Parking incident

Another injustice article: Toowoomba Regional Council said it was not liable for damage to a motorcycle that fell over while parked in an area where the bitumen surface had deteriorated.

Rider trainer Tony Gallagher says he watched as his 2001 Kawasaki ZRX1200R sank into thin bitumen and fall over in a Crows Nest main street parking bay.

It wasn’t a hot day, either, just faulty bitumen. It’s since been fixed, but Tony is still out of pocket for damage. 

8 Charley’s back

Charley and Ewan McGregor
Charley and Ewan on electric Harleys

In September it was confirmed that Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor would ride from the bottom of South America to LA for the third Long Way TV series.

But this time they would be riding Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycles! 

Two weeks ago the pair completed the journey. From your interest in our articles about the trip, you will be keen to find out when the TV series airs. Stay tuned and we will to keep you updated! 

9 T-boner

Lane filtering has made commuting safer and more enjoyable. Any articles we publish about the lane filtering rules is always well received.

But when one stupid rider was caught on video (above) weaving erratically through traffic and t-boning another lane-filtering rider, it certainly caught your attention.

10 Royal bore

S&S Cycles big bore kit for Royal Enfield 650 camshaft-kit-royal-enfield-650
S&S Cycles big bore kit for Royal Enfield 650 camshaft-kit-royal-enfield-650

There has been a lot of interest in the Royal Enfield 650cc parallel twins.

So when American engine giant S&S announced a big-bore kit, the article shot into our top 10, although that could be because there are millions of Indians who love the brand! 

5 perennial favourite stories

As well as the news articles that emerged this year, there are older articles that continually rate among our readers.

Most have to do with riding tips.

Surprisingly the top riding tip of this year was our tongue-in-cheek article on how and when to do the motorcycle wave motorcycle wave

It only narrowly beat another article that continues to score well which shows that tall bikes may be putting off short riders.

It’s our guide to the seat heights of all motorcycles. Click here to find out how high the seat is on your next bike. 

Other advice articles that scored well with our readers were how to deal with a tank slapper or speed wobble; what are the correct tyre pressures; and how to wash your motorcycle.

Ride safely and we will see you in 2020!  

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Are novelty motorcycle helmet covers legal?

Many riders like to get into the holiday spirit by wearing Santa, elf, Elmo or reindeer novelty helmet covers.

However, they could be a safety hazard, they may void your insurance and some police say they may be illegal.

Safety aspects of novelty coversMelbourne Toy Run 40th anniversary covers

While novelty helmet covers may be fun and potentially protect your helmet from dust, scratches and chips, they could also be a safety hazard.

They can come loose and obscure your vision or become a choking hazard, especially at high speeds.

Most suppliers recommend they not be worn on the highway, but only at city speeds.

Since most are only worn in charity parades, speed should not be an issue.

But be aware that they can reduce ventilation which would make them stiflingly hot on a summer’s day in a slow-moving toy run procession.

They may also suppress important surrounding noises such as emergency sirens or the sound of screeching tyres.

Legal aspects of novelty covers

While we cannot find any legal reference in the Australian Road Rules to these novelty covers, police can still issue a ticket if they believe it is an offence.

So we contacted them for their interpretation of the road rules.

VicPol say it is “not possible to provide a blanket yes or no answer to your query, as it must be assessed on an individual basis”.

They suggest the following points could impact on the compliance:

  • The correct fitment is highly unlikely as the covers are “one size fits all’ and not manufactured for specific brand / model helmets.
  • The cover has the potential to impede vision through the visor when fitted or whilst travelling.
  • The cover may prevent the rider from securing the helmet correctly through the helmet buckle.
  • The cover has the potential to move / fall off at speed.Novelty santa xmas motorcycle helmet cover

Queensland and South Australia police say novelty helmet covers are legal:

Novelty helmet covers are not illegal, as long as the rider is wearing a motorcycle helmet that complies with Australian standards and is securely fastened. Riders will need to ensure that the novelty cover does not obscure their vision.

WA Police did not respond, but the Western Australia Road Safety Commission says riders are already vulnerable road users and “wearing gear that might potentially make it harder for riders to spot other road users would not improve this situation”.

ACT Police say they would “take action against the user of the helmet cover if it contributed to an incident or collision (for example, if the cover impeded the vision of a rider)”.

“It is concerning to police that the manufacturers openly identify significant risks to the user of the product on their website,” they say.

Bah humbugMelbourne Toy Run 40th anniversary

Since most riders wear novelty helmets as part of a fund-raising or at least fun-raising ride, it would be a particularly belligerent Scrooge cop who fined a rider over a helmet cover!

Speaking of Scrooges: If you crash while wearing a novelty helmet cover, your insurance company may use it as an excuse to void your policy.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Are helmet attachments now legal?

More riders can now wear helmet cameras and bluetooth intercom attachments and fit tinted visors after South Australia joined the ACT in formal acknowledgement of 2015 changes to the Australian Road Rules (ARR).

That leaves Victoria as the only state where police have an issue with these attachments, although we have not heard of any recent fines.

It has never been an issue in Western Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory or Queensland where a former Police Minister actually encouraged helmet camera use for evidential reasons.

Australian Motorcycle Council Protective Clothing sub-committee chair Brian Wood says their advice from the NSW Centre for Road Safety is that cameras and communication devices are legal provided the helmet manufacturer approves their use.

“I’m not aware of anyone in NSW being booked for having a camera or communication device on their helmet for a couple of years,” Brian says.

Attachments legal

South Australian Ride to Review spokesman Tim Kelly says the state accepted their submission to accept the ARR.

Hew says it means the requirements for adherence to a helmet standard “become point-of-sale only”.

“This means helmet attachments will become legal, tinted visors will become legal and MX sun visors will become legal,” he says.

The only amendment to the ARR was the inclusion of a reference to a helmet being in good repair and proper working order and condition.

Rider warned

Confusion grows on on helmet attachments jail cameras
Eric Aria (Photo courtesy Channel 7)

In 2017, Adelaide rider Erica Aria went to the Sturt Police Station to submit video of drivers cutting him off in traffic but instead received an official warning for an “illegal helmet camera”.

The police said he could cop a $450 fine if he was caught again with the camera.

Eric has now welcomed the changes to the state rules.

“At least now people know if they can legally wear them or not and there’ll be no double standards with police wearing them and not the riders who genuinely need the camera for safety and insurance reasons,” he says.

Safety testing

Brian says the NSW Centre for Road Safety did some “oblique impact testing” at Crashlab several years ago on the effect of helmet attachments.

It has been suggested that they can rotate the rider’s head in a crash, causing neck injuries.

However, the Centre’s report on this testing is yet to be released.

“It should eventually be released, we just don’t know when,” Brian says.

The Centre told us they had completed three sets of tests on attachments fitted to motorcycle helmets:

The final series of tests were completed earlier this year.  The results and recommendations from the tests are currently been reviewed and a report is expected to be published in 2020.

Brian points out that in the ACT it is legal to have a camera or communication device on a helmet provided that the mount is ‘frangible’ which means it easily breaks off in a crash.

“What constitutes a frangible mount is not defined,” Brian says.

“Hopefully, the CfRS report will give guidance on this. 

The NSW Police wear cameras and communication devices on their helmets.

“I believe they have done their own oblique impact testing at Crashlab. They use a 3M product called Dual Lock. 

I believe Dual Lock was part of the CfRS testing. However, there are several versions of Dual Lock. I don’t know which one or ones have been tested.”

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com