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Motorcycle road rules

Motorcycle riders, including moped and motortrike riders, must follow the same road rules as other vehicles on Queensland roads. Most of the rules that apply to drivers also apply to motorcycle riders, for example, the give way rules, traffic light rules and speed limits. But there are some rules that specifically apply to motorcycle riders, including rules relating to:

Lane filtering rules

Lane filtering is when you ride your motorcycle at low speed between stationary or slow moving vehicles travelling in the same direction you are. The 2 lines or lanes of traffic must both be travelling in the same direction. If one of the lines or lanes is a dedicated turning lane (left or right) you must not lane filter using this lane.

You're only allowed to lane filter in Queensland if you hold an open licence for the motorcycle you are riding and:

  • your speed when filtering is 30km/h or less
  • it's safe to do so.

You're not allowed to lane filter:

  • at a speed more than 30km/h
  • in school zones during school zone hours
  • if you're a learner or provisional licence holder
  • if it isn't safe.

To ensure pedestrian safety, lane filtering is only allowed between stationary or slow moving vehicles, not between a vehicle and the kerb. Any vehicle, including a motorcycle may overtake to the left of a stationary vehicle. Read more about overtaking to the left.

To see these rules in action, view our lane filtering video.

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Rules for riding on road shoulders

If you hold an open licence for the motorcycle you are riding, you can ride on road shoulders and in emergency stopping lanes on major roads—such as highways, freeways and motorways past stationary or slow moving traffic if:

  • the speed limit is 90km/h or more
  • your speed is 30km/h or less
  • you give way to cyclists or other motorcycle riders already using the shoulder
  • it is safe to do so
  • you are not riding on any unsealed parts of the road.

Road shoulders are the sealed area to the left or right of a road's edge line.

To see these rules in action, view our riding on road shoulders video.

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Motorcycle control rules

You must stay in control of your motorcycle at all times. You must sit with 1 leg on either side of your seat at all times when riding a motorcycle, but you can lift your leg from the footrests if you need to while riding.

Pillion passenger rules

A motorcycle passenger that sits behind the rider is called a pillion passenger.

You must only carry a passenger on a motorcycle if you:

  • hold a provisional or open licence for the class of vehicle you are riding
    and
  • you have held that licence for at least 1 year.

A passenger on a motorcycle can be a pillion passenger, or a person in a sidecar attached to the motorcycle.

You must not carry pillion passengers, including your supervisor, at any time, if you hold a:

  • class RE learner licence, and are riding a class RE motorcycle
  • class RE provisional or open licence, but are riding a class R motorcycle in order to learn to ride that class of vehicle.

If you are learning to ride a motorcycle, your supervisor may be seated in a sidecar, if the motorcycle has one, or on another motorcycle, in a car or in other vehicle.

You must also not carry a pillion passenger for the first 12 months of holding a class RE or R provisional or open licence.

Upcoming changes

From October 2016 if you hold a class R licence (provisional, probationary or open) you will no longer need to wait 1 year before carrying a passenger, you will be able to carry a passenger as soon as you obtain your class R licence.

If you hold a class RE provisional or open licence you will still need to hold the licence for 1 year before you can carry a passenger.

Rules for carrying passengers on any motorcycle

  • All of your passengers must wear an approved motorcycle helmet securely fastened.
  • Pillion passengers must be at least 8 years old and their feet must be able to reach the passenger footrests while seated.
  • You must not carry more passengers on the motorcycle or in the motorcycle's sidecar than the vehicle was designed to carry.
  • Your passenger must be seated safely on the pillion seat or in the sidecar.
  • Your pillion passenger must not ride on the motorcycle unless the motorcycle has a suitable pillion seat and suitable passenger footrests.
  • Your pillion passenger must face forwards and sit with a leg on either side of the seat, but is allowed to move a leg off the footrests to stretch or raise themselves from the seat.
  • Your passenger must not interfere with your control of the motorcycle.

Motorcycle helmets

All Queensland motorcycle riders and pillion passengers must wear a helmet that complies with:

  • Australian standards AS1698 or AS/NZS1698
  • United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) 22.05 standard.

Helmet labels and stickers

Helmets must display either a stitched label on the inside of the helmet or a sticker on the outside of the helmet, indicating compliance with the approved standards.

For a helmet meeting the ECE 22.05 standard, the label or sticker may contain any number from 1 upwards. An example is shown below.

ECE 22.05 standard approved helmet label

An example of an Australian standards conformance mark is shown below.

Australian standards conformance mark

Attaching a camera

There is no law that prohibits the attachment of a camera to a motorcycle helmet, as long as the helmet remains compliant with the above mentioned standards, and is an approved attachment (according to the helmet manufacturer).

You may use a camera mounted on your motorcycle or a body mounted camera as an alternative.

Bicycle storage areas

Bicycle storage areas located at traffic lights allow cyclists to wait in front of vehicles stopped at the intersection. They are often painted green with a white bicycle symbol.

All motorcycle riders are allowed to enter bicycle storage areas as long as they give way to cyclists or other motorcycle riders already there.

An example of a bicycle storage area is shown below.

bicycle storage area, an intersection with green painted areas and white bicycle symbols

Penalties

If you break a motorcycle road rule, you may be fined and/or receive demerit points.

Motorcycle safety

Find tips on staying safe while riding motorcycles on Queensland's road network.

Getting your motorcycle licence

Check what you need to do to get a motorcycle licence in Queensland.

Last updated
27 June 2016

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