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
- riding on road shoulders
- motorcycle control
- pillion passengers
- motorcycle helmets
- bicycle storage areas.
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.
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.
But be warned, if the speed limit on a major road is reduced to less than 90km/h for any reason, for example by a variable speed control sign or because of roadworks, then you can no longer legally ride on the road shoulder or in an emergency stopping lane.
To see these rules in action, view our riding on road shoulders video.
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 or raise yourself from the seat if you need to while riding.
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 an R provisional or open licence
- hold an RE provisional or open licence and have held that licence for at least 1 year, and are riding an RE motorcycle.
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 an:
- RE learner licence
- 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 another vehicle.
You must also not carry a pillion passenger for the first year of holding an RE provisional or open licence.
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.
These rules also apply for the carrying of passengers on quad bikes and utility off-road vehicles.
All Queensland motorcycle, quad bike riders and passengers must wear a helmet that complies with:
- Australian standards AS1698 or AS/NZS1698, or
- United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) 22.05 standard.
Unless exempt, the driver and passengers of utility off-road vehicles being operated on a Queensland road or road-related area must also wear a motorcycle helmet which complies with the standards.
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 in the following images.
An example of an Australian standards conformance mark is shown below.
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 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.
Motorcycle riders are allowed to enter bicycle storage areas as long as they give way to any vehicle that is already in the area or that is entering the area on a green or yellow traffic light or arrow.
An example of a bicycle storage area is shown below.