Motorcycle law changes are right around the corner

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Motorcycle riders are some of our most vulnerable road users, with riders and passengers over-represented in the road toll. The skills you need to ride a motorcycle are vital for your safety on the road and, like most things, they are developed over time with practice and experience.

Last year, we asked you how you thought the motorcycle licensing system could be improved to ensure riders have the skills to maximise their chances of staying safe on Queensland roads.

We received 1740 responses, and more than 90 percent of those responses came from motorbike licence holders. You told us you wanted riders to have more experience before getting, or upgrading their licence.

You asked, and we listened.  New laws will come into effect from October 1, which will change the way you get a learners, class RE or class R motorcycle licence. Here are the changes:

Getting your RE learner licence

What you do now: Have a provisional or open car licence for at least 1 year, and pass a written test.

What’s changed?  You’ll still need to have that car licence, but as well as the written test, you’ll also need to complete a practical course at a Q-Ride centre (you can apply for an exemption if you live more than 100kms from a Q-Ride centre). The practical course means you’ll have better skills when you first start taking your bike out on the road.

Getting your RE open or provisional licence

What you do now: Once you have your RE learners, you can progress to RE open or provisional by taking a Q-Ride course – there’s no minimum time you have to stay on your learners.

What’s changed? Once again, you’ll still need to complete the Q-Ride course, but you will also need to hold your learner licence for at least 3 months, or at least a year if you got an exemption from the Q-Ride course for your learner license.

This extra time will give you more experience and a chance to further hone your skills on the road. After 1 year on your RE licence you can start riding with a pillion passenger.

Getting your R licence

What you do now: You need to hold your RE licence for 1 year, and pass a Q-Ride course or Q-SAFE exam to upgrade your licence to R.

What’s changed? You’ll still need to pass that Q-Ride course or Q-Safe exam, but you will first need to have held your RE licence for 2 years, instead of 1.

Carrying passengers while on an R licence

What you do now: You need to hold your R licence for 1 year before you are allowed to have passengers while you ride.

What’s changed? Because the riding periods have been extended, you’ll have had much more riding experience once you get your R licence. Because of this, the passenger restriction has been removed – you can start carrying passengers straight away.

We are also working with industry and road safety reps to improve and standardise the Q-Ride course curriculum, so that riders all across Queensland will have the information, skills and experience they need to ride safely. Importantly, we also want riders to learn the right attitudes and hazard perception techniques to ensure everyone gets home safe from every ride.

Check the Join The Drive website for more tips on honing your sixth sense.

Andrew Mahon
Executive Director – Transport Access and Use