Rookie riders made to ‘brighten up’

New regulations imposed by the state government on novice motorcycle riders have come under fire from members of an independent motorcycle group.

Under stage one of the Graduated Licensing System (GLS), in place from October, there is a string of new requirements for learners and newly licensed riders, including having to wear high-visibility vests or jackets while riding.

But Rod Brown, of Gisborne South, has criticised the move, saying it would be only a matter of time until the changes become mandatory for all motorcycle riders.

Riders on a restricted licence must only ride a learner-approved motorcycle and the duration of a list of conditions will be increased from one year to three years.

Mr Brown said restricting motorcycle riders to particular bikes would have a flow-on effect to manufacturers and retailers.

Mr Brown has been riding motorcycles for more than 40 years and is a founding member of the Independent Riders Group (IRG). “The IRG will oppose and fight any [clothing] changes applied to all riders,” he said. “With a staged approach by government requiring the wearing of high-visibility vests or jackets at the learner phase, I can envisage this step leading to mandatory wearing of

high-visibility clothing for all motorcycle and scooter riders in future.

“It seems this approach only affects motor- cycle riders – only one vulnerable road user – and not others like pedestrians and cyclists.”

Mr Brown said riders should decide what they should wear based on “sound research”.

“For many years it has been in our culture to wear leather and be proud to do so.”

Macedon Ranges Highway Patrol officer- in-charge Sergeant Geoff Neil said there was nothing better for riders than to be seen through high visibility clothing.

Roads Minister Terry Mulder said the new GLS would be funded with almost $3 million from the motorcycle levy, a fee that all riders pay with annual registration.

Angela Valente