The Queensland Government’s proposed young rider law has passed through Parliament without any evidence to suggest that young rider crashes and fatalities will be reduced.
The new law which will be introduced from July, will force young people who wish to obtain a motorcycle learners permit to first hold a car license for a period of 12 Months, effectively increasing the licensing age of motorcycle riders.
The MRAQ believes that this initiative is fundamentally flawed, discriminates against motorcycle and scooter riders and highlights the Beattie Government’s lack of commitment towards developing genuine, evidence-based motorcycle safety initiatives.
The MRAQ strongly opposes the proposed increase in learner age and believes that removal of access to legal, on-road motorcycling for 17-year-olds could:
- Encourage 17-year-olds to ride on the road unlicensed and untrained, significantly increasing their crash and fatality risk
- Greatly restrict the travel options for 17-year-olds who do not want a car license and are required to travel long distances for work or study (This will directly affect more than 200 Queenslanders who currently choose to obtain only a motorcycle license)
- Teach prospective young riders a number of ‘bad habits’ which will affect their safety when riding a motorcycle
- Increase the number of young people who will be forced to drive unsafe and unroadworthy vehicles
- Increase congestion and pollution by adding more cars to Queensland roads
- Allow young riders more time to work and save money, thereby allowing them to later purchase more powerful motorcycles for learning purposes
- Shift the crash curve forward one year, thereby transferring the same crash risk to 18 year olds
The MRAQ believes that the following initiatives would greatly assist in addressing the high young rider casualty rate in Queensland:
- Properly research and introduce a training program specifically designed to equip young motorcycle and scooter riders with the skills and attitudes necessary to operate a motorcycle safely
- Raising standards for the training and assessment of learner riders
- Introduction of minimum training hours for young riders, not just drivers
- Introduction of a power-to-weight ratio scheme for novice riders (similar to NSW and SA)