There are many motorcycle misconceptions when it comes to road rules for motorcyclists.
In some cases, people have been blatantly taught the wrong thing. In other cases, people haven’t caught on to the recent law changes.
Breaking road rules can put your licence and safety at serious risk.
Read on as we debunk 4 main road rule myths in Queensland motorcycling.
Myth #1: You can motorcycle ride on any road shoulder
No, you can’t. Motorcyclists can only ride on certain types of road shoulders, in certain conditions, if they hold certain licences.
Firstly, you must hold an open licence. You cannot ride on a road shoulder if you hold a learner (L plate) or provisional (P plate) licence.
Secondly, you can only ride on sealed shoulders of major roads. You cannot ride on an unsealed (e.g. gravel) shoulder or the shoulder of a non-major road. Additionally, you cannot ride in a bicycle lane.
Thirdly, you can only ride on those shoulders if:
- The speed limit is at least 90km/hr;
- You are travelling at 30km/hr or less.
Fourthly, you cannot ride on a shoulder if there are roadworks or you are in a tunnel. So, if you see a tunnel or roadworks up ahead, get off the shoulder.
Finally, and it goes without saying, you should ensure that you only ride on a shoulder if you can do so safely.
Myth #2: You can lane filter anywhere
No, you can’t. Similar to riding on road shoulders, motorcyclists can only lane filter on certain types of roads, at certain speeds, if they hold certain licences.
Firstly, you must hold an open licence. You cannot lane filter if you hold a learner (L plate) or provisional (P plate) licence. Additionally, you cannot ride in a bicycle lane.
Secondly, you can only lane filter on roads with two or more lanes of traffic travelling in the same direction as you. You cannot lane filter if there is only one lane of traffic travelling in your direction, and the second lane of traffic is travelling in the opposite direction. A lane does not count as travelling in the same direction as you if it is actually a dedicated turning lane.
Thirdly, you can only lane filter if you are travelling at 30km/hr or less.
Fourthly, you cannot lane filter if you are in a school zone during school zone hours.
Again, you should ensure that you only lane filter if you can do so safely.
Myth #3: Any rider can carry a passenger
No, they can’t.
You can generally only carry a passenger if:
- You hold an unrestricted licence; or
- You have held a restricted licence for at least 1 year.
There are some exceptions to the above rules. For example, a rider with a learner licence is allowed to carry a supervisor in a sidecar. For another example, a restricted licence holder cannot carry a passenger if they are riding an unrestricted motorcycle (under supervision).
There are further rules that apply to carrying passengers. For further details, see our article ‘5 rules for carrying motorcycle passengers’.
Myth #4: You lose your privileges for the first year of your unrestricted licence
No, you don’t. There are no setbacks.
Up until October 2016, riders that obtained their unrestricted (R) licences had to undergo a year of restrictions. One restriction was that you couldn’t carry passengers for your first year (even though you were able to carry passengers while you were on your restricted licence).
In October 2016, those setbacks were removed. Unrestricted riders can now ride entirely unrestricted as soon as they get their unrestricted licence. There is no difference between their first year and any other year.
For further up to date licensing information, see the Department of Transport and Main Road’s website.
If you have any questions road rules, or if you need assistance with a legal issue, feel free to contact us on (07) 3231 0632. We will assist you in whatever way we can.