Changes to Motorbike and Quad Bike Laws – Passengers & Helmets

Changes to Motorbike and Quad Bike Laws – Passengers & Helmets

Published on:17th February,2017   Category: Law Updates

Queensland road rules have changed from 1 February 2017 to provide greater protection for quad bike passengers, motorbike passengers and utility off-road vehicle passengers.[1]

The changes are designed to protect children travelling as passengers on motorbikes, quad bikes and off-road vehicles by placing restrictions related to age and size of passengers.  Changes have also been made to the road rules for wearing motorbike helmets.

It is now against the law for a person to ride a quad bike or off-road vehicle with a passenger who is under 8 years old.  It is already against the law to have a pillion passenger on a motorbike who is under 8 years old and this law has not recently changed.

It is now against the law to carry a quad bike passenger unless the passenger can reach the footrests designed for use by a pillion passenger.

It is now against the law to carry an off-road vehicle passenger, unless the passenger can place their feet flat on the vehicle floor when seated.  The passenger will also need to be able to reach and hold the vehicle handrail when seated.

The laws now provide that a person riding a motorbike, quad bike or off-road vehicle must wear an approved motorbike helmet.  A passenger of a motorbike, quad-bike or off-road vehicle must also wear a helmet.  The rules for wearing helmets do not apply if the motorbike, quad bike or off-road vehicle is parked and the engine is not on.

Summary of the Changes

  • Children under 8 cannot ride as a passenger on a motorbike, quad bike or off-road vehicle (unless they are a passenger in a side car).
  • You cannot carry a passenger on a quad bike unless they can reach the footrests.
  • You cannot carry a passenger on an off-road vehicle unless their feet can rest flat on the floor when seated and they can reach the vehicle handrail (if one is fitted).
  • Drivers and passengers on a motorbike, quad bike or off-road vehicle must wear an approved helmet.

Changes to the laws are in response to an inquest in 2015 regarding a series of deaths involving quad bike accidents.[2]  According to the inquest, head injuries accounted for over 30% of all deaths following a quad bike accident and recommendations were made about mandatory helmet use while riding quad bikes.

There are limited circumstances in which quad bikes can be conditionally registered.  Quad bikes should not be ridden on roads unless the quad bike is conditionally registered.  If, for example, a farmer is required to ride a quad bike across a road between two farms then the quad bike should be conditionally registered.

If you have been involved in an accident involving a quad bike, motorbike or off-road utility vehicle, contact one of our experts today.

[1] Changes to the Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Road Rules) Regulation 2009 (Qld).

[2] Inquest into nine (9) deaths caused by Quad Bike accidents (Delivered 3 August 2015).

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