Standing on Footpegs
For many years many riders would stand on the footpegs to stretch our legs or to go over an obstruction oblivious to the fact of the legality or otherwise. Surprise surprise it was illegal. As a result of various representations made by the NSW Motorcycle Council and others, that rule was changed and you can stand on your pegs with your backside off the seat… or can you?
The police seem to think otherwise and they made it clear in their breach of 2 riders for the above offence. You would be justified in asking why. It appears that the legislation when drafted left a clause that was designed to satisfy the Nanny State.
Reg 271 of the ROAD RULES governs this
Road Rules 2014
Current version for 8 September 2018 to date
Part 16 Rule 271
271 Riding on motor bikes
(1) The rider of a motor bike that is moving (other than a rider who is walking beside and pushing a motor bike), or the rider of a motor bike that is stationary but not parked, must:
(a) sit astride the rider’s seat facing forwards, and
(b) if the motor bike is moving—keep at least 1 hand on the handlebars, and
(c) if the motor bike is moving—keep both feet on the footrests designed for use by the rider of the motor bike, unless the motor bike is moving at less than 10 kilometres per hour and either:
- (i) the rider is manoeuvring the motor bike in order to park the motor bike, or
- (ii) the motor bike is decelerating to come to a stop, or
- (iii) the motor bike is accelerating from being stopped.
Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units.
(1A) The rider of a motor bike that is moving may:
(a) stand on the motor bike’s footrests or footboard designed for the rider’s use if:
- (i) the rider has both feet on the footrests or footboard, and
- (ii) in the circumstances, it is safe for the rider to do so, or
(b) remove a foot from the footrest or footboard designed for the rider’s use if:
- (i) the rider is sitting on the rider’s seat, and
- (ii) at least 1 foot is on a foot rest or footboard, and
- (iii) in the circumstances, it is safe for the rider to do so.
As you will see from the section above “in the circumstances, it is safe for the rider to do so”.
This has resulted in some of our clients being charged because the police officer has considered it unsafe. Two cases come to mind.
Remove feet off Footpegs
We have been approached by a couple of motorbike riders who have been charged by police for having removed their feet off the footpegs. Removing a foot off the footpeg whilst the bike is in motion is not unusual if one wishes to stretch a leg or test the road surface with your foot. The law that governs this is the same as that which governs standing on footpegs.
As you will see from the above section excluding the obvious slow maneuver to park, or accelerating or decelerating from or to a stop a rider can be charged because there is a requirement to keep both feet on the footpegs. One can only remove a foot of the footpeg whilst the bike is moving, if seated, with the other foot on the footpeg and “in the circumstances, it is safe for the rider to do so”.
This leaves considerable discretion for police to charge a rider. However the exception to this is the defence that it was safe to do so in the circumstances and evidence will have to be adduced to that effect at hearing. Sometimes matters may be withdrawn without the need for hearing on discussions with the police or on representations being made to the prosecutors on electing that the matter be dealt with by the court.
Riding with a Go Pro or dashcam
A more disturbing trend rather is the ever-increasing number of riders and drivers being charged with additional offences after their go pros have been seized. But even more disturbing is the fact that other riders who may have nothing to do with the rider with the go pro are being interviewed by police as a result of what is seen on the footage.
We’ve had numerous matters where a person may spend the day riding backwards and forwards with there go pro videoing there heroics coming up behind other riders who unknowingly may be transgressing. The rider with the Go Pro is spotted at the end of the day by police and pulled over for some transgression that the officer has seen. The Go Pro is seized by police which they may, if appropriate do. Subsequently they play the video back at the station and then pay visits to anybody that they see on the video that the go pro rider may have come up against during the day or days.
The police will then attend the premises of the registered owner of each of the bikes that they have seen on the videos and place a notice of demand asking that they identify who the rider was at the relevant time. Prior to answering that question you may wish to contact your lawyer and arrange to conduct that interview with your lawyer present. They often won’t show you the video and you will have to take it on faith that you were the relevant bike that was seen on someone’s Go Pro footage. In the absence of your election the police have no evidence as to who the rider may have been. Some highway patrol officers are taking this Go Pro evidence and trawling through the footage and then charging riders with multiple speeding offences. This is not the rider with the Go Pro but others who may have been riding with him or her. Some riders are receiving multiple speeding tickets for one ride.
As defence lawyers, we consider the legitimacy of the seizure of the Go Pro, keeping in mind that they possibly can seize it if it is taken in accordance with the law.
Secondly does the Go Pro footage that police rely upon clearly disclose the offence that the rider has been charged with? For example if the Go Pro rider is following another bike and the rider of the bike in front is charged by police with speeding how does the Go Pro evidence support the speed check / estimate of the bike in front? It may be that the speedo of the Go Pro rider’s bike can be seen but then it would amount to whether the Go Pro rider is speeding to catch up with the bike in front or is keeping a consistent distance, and visual over a reasonable period of time. Similarly how do we know whether the Go Pro riders speedo is accurate? After all, many of us change the sprockets of our bikes which can affect the speedo accuracy. Accordingly there are many factors in the Go Pro evidence that may be challenged.
So be aware of this danger and think twice before riding with a Go Pro.
Keep atleast 1 hand on the handlebars
There’s no better feeling then hands-free riding, but the law careth not about your feelings. Stay safe, ride safe and keep at least one hand on the handlebars at anytime while on the road.