Safety on and around two wheels
Motorcycle and scooter riders face more risks on our roads as they are less protected than other road users. International research shows that motorcycle riders are about 34 times more likely to be killed in a crash than other road users.
Riders should understand the road rules to ride safely. Riders should also keep a lookout and make good choices when on the road to help protect them from serious injuries or fatalities.
Choosing the safest gear for the ride
Wearing protective gear makes you less likely to be injured in a crash. If you are injured while wearing protective clothing, you are less likely to be hospitalised.
The Motorcycle Clothing Assessment Program (MotoCAP) has information on a range of protective gear. Jackets, pants and gloves are all rated on the protection and breathability of each product. Whether you ride for recreation or to commute, your gear should provide a balance between protection, breathability and water resistance.
What to look for
- Abrasion-resistant materials will help you avoid cuts, gravel rash and friction burns. Impact protectors should cover your shoulders, elbows, hips and knees to absorb and spread the impact of a direct blow.
- Gear should have 2-3 lines of stitching. At least one line of concealed stitches on all exposed seams prevents failure under heavy contact with a road surface.
- All zips and fasteners should be covered with flaps on both sides. This prevents skin damage on impact.
- Gloves should have multiple layers of protection and impact protection for the knuckles and palm. Choose a comfortable glove that is hard to take off.
- Boots should overlap the pants and protect the shins and ankles.
Find out more on the MotoCAP website.
The NSW Road Rules 2014 state that you must:
- Wear an approved motorcycle helmet. It must be securely fitted and fastened on your head.
- Not ride with a passenger, unless the passenger is wearing an approved helmet.
An approved motorcycle helmet is a protective helmet that complies with either:
- Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1698
- an earlier version of the above standard or Australian Standard 1698-1988 that was in force at the time of manufacture or importation
- United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Regulation No 22 (UNECE22.05 or UNECE22.06).
Your helmet must also have amark certifying compliance with an above standard.
The Consumer Rating and Assessment of Safety Helmets (CRASH) program rates motorcycle helmets. The ratings help riders compare the safety performance and comfort of motorcycle helmets. Details include the helmet’s ability to withstand linear and angular impact forces, noise levels, ventilation, weight, field of view and ability to resist fogging under the comfort criteria.
Consider choosing a light or bright coloured helmet to make you more visible when riding.
Find out more about the CRASH program on the MotoCAP website.
Helmets fitted with aftermarket devices
Motorcycle riders are permitted to attach aftermarket camera and communication devices, provided they follow manufacturers’ instructions. Fines and demerit points may apply if aftermarket devices are not attached correctly.
Find out more in our Helmets Fitted With Aftermarket Devices (PDF, 55.28 KB).
Lane filtering laws apply in NSW. Our animation explains the laws and shows how to lane filter safely.
The difference between lane filtering and lane splitting
- Lane filtering is where a motorcycle rider moves past stopped or slow-moving vehicles at 30km/h or less. Lane filtering is legal in NSW.
- Lane splitting is where a motorcycle rider moves past vehicles at more than 30km/h. Lane splitting is illegal.
Lane splitting penalties
Motorcyclists caught moving between traffic at over 30km/h face heavy fines and 3 demerit points.
Penalties apply to unsafe lane filtering
If you don’t lane filter safely, you can be charged with negligent, furious or reckless driving.
Riders who damage other vehicles when lane filtering may also breach a range of laws including:
- failure to have proper control of a vehicle (Rule 297).
- failure to stop at the scene after a crash (Rule 287).
- property damage offences under the Crimes Act 1900, if the damage is done intentionally or recklessly.
Approved motorcycles for learner and provisional riders
Learner, provisional P1 (red Ps) and P2 (green Ps) rider licence holders are restricted from riding more highly-powered motorcycles under a nationally-agreed standard.
The Learner Approved Motorcycle (LAM) scheme allows beginner riders to ride only lower and moderately powered motorcycles or scooters.
It’s your responsibility to make sure you’re riding an approved motorcycle if you hold a learner, P1 or P2 rider licence.
To be approved for learner, P1 and P2 riding, motorcycles must have:
- an engine capacity up of 660ml or less
- a power-to-weight ratio of 150kw per tonne or less
- a power up to 25kW or less for electric motorcycles
- appear on the Approved Motorcycles for Novice Riders list.
Be truck and bus aware
Follow these helpful tips to keep you safe around trucks and buses:
- Trucks and buses have blind spots. Take extra care as drivers can’t always see you.
- Avoid lane filtering near trucks and buses.
- Trucks and buses may be longer than expected. Take care when changing lanes around them.
- Avoid trying to overtake a truck or bus when it's turning. They're likely to need extra space and may take up more than one lane.
- Always follow the road rules and ride with care.
Light rail safety
- Never queue across tram tracks or intersections
- Always follow traffic signals and signs
- Don't stop or park within the tram lane (even when you can't see a tram)
- Never turn in front of a tram.
For more information
The Motorcycle Clothing Assessment Program (MotoCAP) has information on a range of protective gear.