About your responsibilities

Responsible riding

Responsible riding means riding with the safety and convenience of all road users in mind. Following the information in this section will help you to become a safe and responsible road user.

Important rider responsibilities

Safety helmets

You, and any passengers you carry, must wear an approved safety helmet when riding a motorcycle.

Operation of a vehicle

You must not operate a vehicle in a condition or manner that could cause:

  • injury to any person or animal
  • annoyance to any person
  • damage to any property
  • distraction to the driver.

Unsafe vehicle or load

You must not ride:

  • an unsafe vehicle
  • a vehicle with an unsafe load, which:
    • is not tied down, or
    • could fall from the vehicle, or
    • is dragging on the ground.

Dangerous riding

You must not ride your motorcycle, or allow your pillion passenger to ride, in a manner or position that may cause injury.

Carrying passengers

Once you have your full licence, you may carry one pillion passenger behind you on a motorcycle. This person must sit astride a safe pillion seat, facing forwards, and have both feet on footrests. They must also wear an approved safety helmet.

Lighting

You must not use any vehicle lighting equipment in a way that will dazzle, confuse or distract other road users.

Noisy and smoky vehicles

You must not ride a vehicle that:

  • makes a lot of noise due to:
    • the way in which the vehicle is being ridden
    • the condition of the vehicle
    • any other means (such as a stereo)
  • makes noise that is likely to cause annoyance to any person
  • makes smoke for 10 seconds or more.

Make sure your vehicle's exhaust system and silencer are in good working order. This will prevent excessive gases and noise from the motorcycle.

Making the wheels of a motor vehicle lose traction and spin on the road surface may make unnecessary noise or smoke and could be a traffic offence.

Using the horn

The horn should only be used as a reasonable traffic warning. It should not make an unnecessary or unreasonably loud, harsh or shrill noise.

Music

Don't play music so loudly that you can't hear:

  • the sounds your vehicle is making
  • emergency sirens
  • the sound of warning bells or trains when you're coming up to a railway level crossing.

Uphill and downhill traffic

On steep, narrow roads, it is easier for vehicles moving downhill to give way to vehicles moving uphill.

Funeral processions

If you are riding in a funeral procession, you should ride with your vehicle's headlight on dip. That way, other drivers will know you are part of the procession.

Animals on the road

Farmers often use country roads to move stock between paddocks. If there are animals on the road:

  • slow down or pull over to the side of the road
  • don't sound your horn or make a noise that could frighten the animals
  • follow any advice the farmer may give you.

Broken glass and other debris on the road

You are responsible for removing the following things if they fall or escape from your vehicle onto the road:

  • Any slippery substance.
  • Any piercing or dangerous substance.
  • Glass.
  • Any other substance of any kind that, because of its size or nature, could be a danger to road users.

If the substance or glass can be removed quickly and safely, you must immediately remove it or ensure it is removed.

If the substance or glass cannot be removed quickly and safely, and there is likelihood of harm being caused to the public or any person, you must warn the public or report the occurrence immediately to the nearest police station or to a member of the police.

If all the drivers of the vehicles involved are physically incapacitated and unable to remove the substance or glass or warn the public or report the occurrence the person removing the vehicle from the scene must do those things as required.

Firearms (guns)

You must not carry a firearm on your motorcycle unless you hold a firearm licence. You must never carry a loaded firearm on your vehicle. This also means you must not carry ammunition in the chamber or attached magazine of the gun.

Cellphones

While you are riding, you cannot create, send or read a text message on a cellphone or use a hand-held cellphone to make or receive a phone call. This includes accessing online services in any way.

You can, however, use your cellphone to make, receive or terminate a telephone call while riding if the phone is secured in a mounting fixed to the vehicle and you manipulate the phone infrequently and briefly.

You can also use a cellphone while riding to make a 111 or *555 call if it is unsafe or impractical to pull over and stop in a safe place at the side of the road to make the call.

Rider distractions

Anything that takes your attention away from the road can be a potential hazard.

You should avoid or minimise the following distractions when you are riding:

  • looking at things on the roadside
  • looking at scenery
  • talking on a hands-free cellphone
  • talking to pillion passengers
  • eating food
  • lighting a cigarette
  • adjusting controls
  • daydreaming
  • tiredness
  • reading maps
  • electronic gadgets.

Travelling in other vehicles

Responsibilities you should know about when travelling in other vehicles include the following:

  • As the driver you are responsible for making sure passengers under the age of 15 are using an approved child restraint or safety belt.
    • Children under seven must be correctly secured in an approved child restraint.
    • Children aged seven must use an approvedĀ  child restraint (if one is available) and if not, any child restraint or safety belt that is available.
    • Children aged eight to 14 must wear a safety belt.

The safety belt must be worn correctly and kept securely fastened while the vehicle is in motion on the road.

Passengers 15 years and over are responsible for making sure that they wear their own safety belts correctly and that they keep them fastened while the vehicle is in motion.

Bus drivers in vehicles with passenger safety belts are not responsible for ensuring passengers wear them except passengers under the age of 15 sitting in a front seat alongside the driver.

  • You must not open or close the door of a motor vehicle if it is likely to:
    • cause a hazard to any road user (including pedestrians, cyclists or other users of a footpath)
    • hurt anyone.
  • A driver on a learner or restricted licence can only drive under certain conditions, for example:
    • learner licence holder must be accompanied by a supervisor and must display two L plates on the vehicle
    • a restricted licence holder cannot drive between 10pm and 5am and cannot carry passengers* unless accompanied by a supervisor.
  • You must ensure all packages are kept in a secure place (for example, the boot) or place them where no one can get hurt if the vehicle stops suddenly.

* Unless the passengers are:

  • your spouse, or the person you live with as if you were married or with whom you are joined in a civil union
  • children who live with you and are under the care of you or your spouse (that is, you or your spouse are their parent or guardian
  • your parent or guardian
  • relatives who live with you and who are on a social security benefit
  • someone you look after as their primary caregiver.

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Last updated: 12 December 2013