Review of motorcycle licensing and training

Monash University Accident Research Centre - Report #240 [2005]

Authors: N. Haworth & C. Mulvihill

Full report in .pdf format [320KB]


This report reviews current motorcycle licensing and training systems in Australia and compares these to best practice for motorcycle licensing and training. An optimal model for motorcycle licensing and training in Australia is proposed.

Motorcycle riding requires higher levels of both vehicle control and cognitive skills than car driving. In addition, the potential outcomes of any failure on the part of the rider, other road users or the road environment are severe. In order to achieve substantial improvements in the safety of motorcycling, the rider training and licensing systems may need to be quite different than those for cars. The research suggests that any safety benefits of motorcycle licensing and training probably result more from reductions in the total amount of riding than from reductions in crash risk per kilometre travelled.

The system proposed should lead to improved safety outcomes because of the increased minimum age, longer provisional period and the greater duration of training. The need for a restricted licence with the same conditions as the motorcycle provisional licence, to apply to riders who already have a full car licence, must be underlined.

In an optimal model, and following the principles of graduated licensing, granting a motorcycle licence should be seen as a higher step in licensing than granting a car licence, in the same way that a heavy vehicle licence is considered a more advanced form of licence than a car licence.

Training and licensing systems operate as a system and changing the mix of components can alter the effectiveness of individual components. Any potential interactive effects should be carefully examined before changing a proposed or current training and licensing system.

Sponsoring organisation - Tasmanian Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources