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Novice motorcyclists

This page explains the laws for novice motorcyclists in Victoria.

To get a learner permit, a person must be at least 18 years old.

People who do not have an Australian or New Zealand driver licence will have to pass the car learner permit knowledge test to check their understanding of the road law and road safety. People who apply for their motorcycle learner permit will also have to pass the motorcycle learner permit knowledge test. Both of these tests are multiple choice tests.

See VicRoads—Training and testing providers(opens in a new window).

Restrictions on the types of motorcycles

The Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme (LAM) restricts the types of motorcycles that riders can use when they are learners and during the first year of their licence. Bikes that are approved under this scheme have LAM printed on the registration sticker. VicRoads keeps a list of all motorcycles approved for learners.

These power restrictions do not apply to members of the police force when on active duty.

Penalties are listed below.

See VicRoads—approved motorcycles for novice riders(opens in a new window).

Novice riders who learned on an automatic motorcycle

Novice riders can only ride an automatic motorcycle if they learned to ride and were tested on an automatic.

See VicRoads—The motorcycle graduated licensing system(opens in a new window).

Learners don’t need a supervising driver

Learners are not required to be accompanied by an experienced driver when they are learning to ride a motorcycle or motor trikes.

Learner motorcyclists under 21 years old are also exempt from having to keep a log book to demonstrate their driving practice.

How long a learner permit lasts

A learner permit for a motorcycle lasts for 15 months from the time it is first issued. Unlike a motor vehicle permit, a learner permit for a motorcycle is not extended beyond this 15 month period. Learner riders should book their licence assessment about 28 days before their permit is about to expire. Motorcycle permits cannot be renewed.

See r. 44(2)—Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window)..

Riders subject to alcohol interlock

If a person has a driver licence that is subject to an alcohol interlock device, any motorcycle permit or licence they get must have the same interlock condition attached. That is, getting a motorcycle licence is no way to avoid an interlock condition.

Other restrictions for learner riders

When riding an approved motorcycle with a learner permit the rider must

  • display an L plate on the back of their motorcycle (must be clearly visible for 20 metres)
  • always carry their learner permit while they are driving
  • ride with zero alcohol in their system
  • not tow another vehicle
  • wear a high viz safety vest while riding
  • stay within lanes (no filtering between traffic)
  • not use any kind of mobile phone
  • only ride a motorcycle with auto transmission if that is what they were tested on
  • have their headlights on at all times while riding.

See r. 59(2)—Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window)..

Getting a motorcycle licence

A rider must have had their motorcycle learner permit for at least 3 months before they apply for a licence. They must be over 18 years old. If a driver already has:

  • a full motor vehicle licence, they can also get a full motor cycle licence
  • a probationary car licence, they can get a probationary motorcycle licence—the probationary period ends at the same time as the probationary car licence.

A rider must also complete a check ride and pass a riding skills assessment. Riders who have not got a driver licence will also need to pass a hazard perception test to make sure they respond appropriately to traffic situations.

Restrictions still apply for novice motorcyclists

Restrictions apply to new riders for the first 3 years of riding. For the first 3 years a person with a restricted licence must:

  • have zero BAC when riding
  • use a leaner approved motor cycle
  • only carry passengers in a side car (no pillions)
  • not tow another vehicle
  • only use motorcycle with auto transmission if that is what they were tested on
  • carry licence with them at all times
  • not use any kind of mobile phone

Riders with a P plate licence should also:

  • :carry their licence at all times
  • attach a P plate sign to the rear of their vehicle

See:

Penalties

These penalties are usually dealt with by issuing an infringement notice (on-the-spot fine).

If the matter is dealt with by issue of an infringement notice, the penalty will be:

  • i penalty unit for filtering at more than 30 km/h
  • 3 penalty units for using a mobile phone
  • 2 penalty units for riding a motorcycle without a helmet (includes passenger requirement)
  • 3 penalty units for carrying a pillion passenger if less than 3 years riding experience or as learner driver
  • 1 penalty unit for riding without headlights on
  • 1 penalty unit for riding without high viz vest

See Schedule 7—Road Safety (General) Regulations 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

If the matter goes to court, novice motorcyclists may be fined up to:

  • 10 penalty units for riding any motorcycle other than a learner approved motorcycle
  • 10 penalty units for carrying a pillion passenger (also applies for learner motorcyclists who carry pillions)
  • 10 penalty units for failing to have headlights on at all times where required to do so
  • 10 penalty units for learner failing to wear a high viz vest
  • 10 penalty units for towing a vehicle
  • 3 penalty units for failing to update their personal details within 14 days of a change
  • 3 penalty unit if they do not display L or P plates

Loss of demerit points

A motorcyclist can lose demerit points for the following offences:

  • using a mobile phone —4 demerit points.
  • unlawfully carrying a pillion passengers—3 demerit points
  • riding without an approved helmet—3 demerit points
  • failing to display P plates—3 demerit points
  • riding a motorcycle that is not learner approved—3 demerit points
  • failing to display L plates—1 demerit point
  • ride without a high viz vest—1 demerit point

A rider will lose 3 demerit points for not wearing a helmet.

Restrictions that apply to all motorcyclists

Restriction on carrying children and pets for all motorcyclists

Motorcycle riders are not allowed to:

  • carry pets on their lap between the rider and the handlebars (unless short distance farming activity)
  • carry more than one passenger as a pillion (person on the back of the motor bike)
  • carry more passengers in a side car than the side car is designed to carry
  • ride more than 2 abreast (unless overtaking)
  • ride with children under 8 years old unless in a side car.

See rr. 151, 271, 297—Road Safety Road Rules 2017 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Wearing helmets

All motorcyclists and their pillion passengers (if they have them) are not allowed to ride unless they are wearing approved motor bike helmets.

See r. 270—Road Safety Road Rules 2017 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Riding between cars or lanes

Licensed motorcyclists are allowed to ride slowly between 2 lines of vehicles that are travelling in the same direction, or between a parked vehicle and another vehicle as long as it is safe to do so. This is called filtering. Riders must not exceed 30 kilometres per hour when they filter. Learner riders are not permitted to filter.

Filtering is also prohibited where there are signs prohibiting this.

See r. 151A, 151B and Dictionary—Road Safety Road Rules 2017 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

More information

Legislation

Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)

  • s. defines a motor bike
  • s. 22(2)—motorcyclist learners must be 18 years to get learner permit
  • s. 52(1E)—motorcyclist must have zero BAC when riding for the first 3 years
  • s. 52(1F)—VicRoads may reduce this period of satisfied rider has sufficient motorbike experience

See Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2019 (Vic)

  • r. 11—authorisation for driver of a motorcycle under assessment
  • r. 17—requirement for motorcycle licence.
  • r. 17(1)(a)—minimum motorcycle learner permit for 3 months
  • r. 44(2)—learner permit only lasts for 15 months
  • r. 47(2)—learner motorcyclist does not need to have experienced rider beside them
  • r. 59—additional restrictions for riders with less than 3 years experience
  • r. 59(3)—VicRoads has power to exempt where believe sufficient motorcycle experience in another country, state or territory
  • r. 46(3)—a motorcycle learner permit may not be renewed
  • r. 56(1)—where a P plate is to be displayed and sets penalty
  • r. 48—where L plates is to be displayed and sets penalty for failing to display plates at the rear of the motorbike
  • Schedule 2—codes added to licence to indicate that the licence is subject to restrictions

See Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Road Safety (General) Regulations 2019 (Vic)

  • Schedule 7—matters that can be dealt with by infringement notice

See Road Safety (General) Regulations 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Road Safety Road Rules 2017 (Vic)

  • r. 270—requirement to wear helmets
  • r. 271—riding on motor bikes and motor cycles
  • r 297(3)—motorcyclist not to ride with animal between self and handlebars
  • r. 300(1A)—prohibition on use of mobile phone unless legally parked

See Road Safety Road Rules 2017 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

References

VicRoads

VicRoads has information for motorcyclists see:

Updated