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Queensland road rules

Motorcycle riders must adhere to the same road rules as other road users, so make sure that you keep up to date with the different road rules, signs and markings by reading the latest edition of Your Keys to Driving Queensland. 

In addition, here are some laws that apply to motorcycle riders and their pillion passengers.

General rules for motorcycle riders

two motorcycle riders on a blue motorcycle riding around a bend on a road

When riding on your motorcycle:

  • you and any pillion or side car passenger must each wear a correctly fitted, securely fastened and approved helmet (complies with Australian Standard AS 1698)
  • you must have at least one hand on the handlebars
  • you must keep both feet on the footrests when riding
  • you must not ride more than two abreast within one lane
  • you must not lane split irrespective of whether traffic is moving or stationary
  • there must be an approved seat and adequate/secure footrests (separate from any rider’s footrests) for any pillion passenger
  • you and any other pillion passenger must sit astride the seat and face forwards
  • any pillion passenger must have their feet on the footrests
  • only one pillion passenger can be on a motorcycle
  • any pillion passenger, except a passenger in a sidecar, must be eight years of age or older.

Keeping left

Generally when a vehicle travels on a single lane road, the vehicle must drive as near as practicable to the far left side of the road. However, due to the importance of lane positioning for rider safety, this rule does not apply to motorcycles and they can legally use any part of the lane.

Riding at night

Riding at night, particularly on country roads, is considerably more dangerous for motorcyclists. The risks of you hitting an animal, misjudging a curve or not seeing a problem on the road surface are greatly increased at night.

If you must ride at night, slow down to a speed that takes into account these risks and the effective range of your motorcycle’s headlight. You must not ride at night if your lights are not working.

Lane splitting

It is dangerous to overtake between two vehicles travelling side-by-side in the same direction on a multilane road, irrespective of whether the vehicles are moving (lane splitting) or stationary (lane filtering). The only exception to this is if the vehicles travelling side-by-side are motorcycles. Lane splitting or filtering riders may commit offences, such as failing to stay within a single marked lane, keeping a safe distance when overtaking, or overtaking to the left of a vehicle. It is also dangerous when the traffic is congested or stationary, e.g. peak hour or stopped for traffic lights etc. Your handle bar only has to clip a car’s exterior mirror for you to lose control. Drivers can be taken by surprise, especially when moving, and can make reflex manoeuvres that result in a crash.

Intersections

The greatest potential for a crash between you and another vehicle is at an intersection.

More than 50% of all motorcycle crashes at intersections are caused by drivers failing to give way. It is highly likely they haven't seen you.

To increase your chances of being seen:

  • ride with your headlight on.
  • provide a space buffer around your motorcycle (in case you have to take evasive action).
  • reduce your speed, even if the other driver/rider is required to give you right of way (motorcyclists nearly always come off second best in crashes with other vehicles).
  • wear highly visible clothing.
  • cover your clutch and brakes as you go through to reduce reaction time.

Examples of situations at intersections that require a response

 car turning left across the path of a motorcycle rider

A vehicle waiting to turn in front of your path.

 car in a turning lane, turning left across the path of a motorcycle rider which is behind a line of cars

Stopped traffic obscuring vision at an intersection.

 car turning right across the path of a motorcycle rider

A vehicle waiting to pull out from your left side.

a car travelling straight through a ‘T’ intersection across the path of a motorcycle rider

A vehicle waiting to pull out from your right side.

Turns at intersections

motorcycle rider turning left around a corner demonstrating the buffer between the bike and a car  motorcycle rider turning right demonstrating the buffer between the bike and pedestrians walking on the side of the road
When turning left from a single lane, start the turn as near as practicable to the far side of the left of the road buffering you from hazards as you turn. When turning right from a single lane, start the turn as near as practicable to the far right of the lane or middle of the road buffering you from hazards as you exit the turn.
 motorcycle rider turning right demonstrating the buffer between the bike and the white road markings when turning in front of an approaching car  motorcycle rider travel straight along a road while a car is stationary waiting for it to pass
Maintain a buffer from oncoming traffic while you are waiting to turn right. Slow down at intersections.

For more motorcycle road rules view section 3 of the Queensland Motorcycle Riders' Guide.

Access the latest Queensland road rules on the Department of Transport and Main Roads website.

Last updated
06 January 2014