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Driver awareness about motorcyclists
Here are seven commonsense precautions that drivers of any vehicle should always follow to make the roads safer for motorcyclists:
- Look well ahead; look behind - regular mirror checks; look to the sides - regularly look to both sides and blind spots.
- Think bike and look - especially at intersections.
- Check blind spots - look in mirrors and over your shoulder.
- Give motorcyclists plenty of space - keep a three second gap. There are hundreds of thousands of rear end crashes each year caused by travelling too close to the vehicle in front. Leave a three second gap to avoid a rear-ender.
- Use lights in poor visibility. It helps motorcyclists and other road users to see you.
- Change lanes carefully - look and indicate. Look over your shoulder and in your mirrors when changing lanes or in merging traffic - make sure there is not a motorcyclist next to you.
- Avoid dropping oil and debris on the road. Dropping debris off the back of trucks and trailers is hazardous for motorcyclists. Poorly maintained vehicles that leave oil on the road are also hazardous to motorcyclists.
Road safety for motorcyclists
Motorcyclists should always follow the same normal rules and safety precautions for the road that all drivers should. However, here are some additional commonsense strategies and precautions that motorcyclists should follow to maximise their safety on the road.
- Look for motorists who aren't looking. Always expect the unexpected and be prepared to stop - drivers don't always look carefully for motorcyclists.
- Be prepared to take evasive action at intersections. Many drivers do not look for motorcyclists at intersections, and often do not see them.
- Ride to be seen, not in blind spots. Never assume that you have been seen.
- Give cars plenty of space - keep a three second gap. Increase the gap when road surface and conditions limit braking efficiency.
- Use/flash lights to alert drivers if appropriate. Use your headlights when visibility is poor. Flash your lights to warn other vehicles of your presence - for example, at intersections.
- Change lanes carefully - look and indicate. Look over shoulders as well as in mirrors.
- Ride at a safe speed. Adjust your speed down to suit conditions, especially for foggy, greasy roads.
- Do not drink and drive. A motorcyclist who drinks and rides is a fool.
- Check brakes and tyres regularly. Check brakes are working every time before you drive off. Check tyre pressure and tread at least once a week.
- Brief pillions on riding safely. Riders are responsible for their pillion's safety.
- Wear Australian Standards approved and fitted helmets and wear suitable protective clothing. It is against the law not to wear a helmet. Replace a dropped or damaged helmet.
Laws governing the use of trail bikes in the ACT
Please note: Motor vehicle also refers to motorcycle.
Illegal use of trail bikes
It is an offence in the ACT to ride a trail bike if:
- it is not registered
- it has no third party insurance (insurance expires 14 days after ACT registration expires, or on registration expiration for NSW registration)
- it is unsafely maintained and unroadworthy (this can mean no indicators, bald tyres, no lights, no mirrors etc)
- the rider does not have a current motorcycle riders licence
- the rider exceeds the speed limit
- the rider is not wearing a helmet.
It is also an offence in the ACT to ride a motorcycle on any suburban green area, bicycle track or footpath.
Legal use of trail bikes
A roadworthy trail bike can be ridden in the ACT forests and national parks, however, only if:
- the trail bike is registered and the rider has a current motorcycle riders licence
- the trail bike is ridden at no more than 40 km/h.
Areas defined as road related areas, where a driver/rider can be prosecuted for any traffic offence, includes:
- a wharf, pier or jetty
- the foreshore of any lake (within the meaning of the Lakes Act 1976)
- any part of a park, reserve, recreational or sporting ground, racecourse, or any other open place, to which the public has access whether with or without payment for admission.
An unregistered trail bike can only be ridden on private property with the permission of the land owner.
For more information on the legislation surrounding the use of trail bikes in the ACT, visit the ACT Legislation Register's website and look under section 12(1)(a) of the Road Transport (General) Act 1999.