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The Rider's Handbook

Motorcycle roadworthiness

Before riding you will need to do some basic checks. Your motorcycle roadworthiness should be checked at regular intervals.

Your motorcycle must be registered.

There could be significant financial implications for unregistered riding because compulsory third party insurance is not valid when a motorcycle is unregistered. This means you could be held personally liable for compensation to any person injured as a result of a crash.

There are severe penalties for riding an unregistered or uninsured motorcycle.

Make sure your motorcycle is roadworthy for your Rider Safe course. At the start of the course your motorcycle will be inspected.

Lights, tyres, mirrors, chain guard etc will all be checked. If your motorcycle is not roadworthy you will not be able to undertake the course. You will need to rebook and pay the training fees again.

Number plates

Number plates on the motorcycle you ride or own must be:

  • Issued by the DPTI.
  • The same as the registration papers.
  • Displayed on the rear.
  • Able to be seen and read clearly from the rear up to 18 metres.
  • Clearly readable - not dirty, worn or damaged.
  • Free of any characteristics that would prevent the detection of traffic offences, i.e. letters or numbers altered or hidden
  • Must be mounted so that the bottom edge of the plate is at least 300mm above ground level.

The rear number plate must have a light so that it is clearly visible at night.

It is an offence to:

  • Alter a number plate in any way.
  • Attach a number plate to any vehicle other than the one to which it is registered.
  • Use a number plate cover that prevents the number plate being visible or photographed at any angle.
Don't obscure any part of your number plate as heavy penalties apply.


Before you ride you need to make sure that your motorcycle is roadworthy. A roadworthy motorcycle is one that is safe to ride and meets the standards required by law.

Some of the most important rules about motorcycles are described here. If you have any doubt about the rules that apply to your motorcycle, contact DPTI Vehicle Standards on 1800 882 248.

Your motorcycle's tyres must be in good condition and have a tread at least 1.5 mm deep across the tread surface. Motorcycles must not have regrooved tyres, unless the tyre was manufactured to be regrooved.

Keep the tyres inflated to the pressure recommended by the manufacturer or they may overheat and fail. The sidewalls of the tyres should not have any cracks or bumps. If your tyres wear unevenly there may be a problem with the steering or suspension.

Tyre pressures are critical to a motorcycle's handling. Under-inflated tyres significantly increase the risk of crashing.

Mirrors and indicators
A rear vision mirror must be fitted to each side of motorcycles made after June 1975. All other motorcycles must have a right side mirror. Mirrors must not project more than 150mm beyond the extreme width of the motorcycle .

Flashing turn indicators must be fitted front and rear. Motorcycles manufactured before September 1981 do not require indicators.

Checking your motorcycle
Check your:

  • Lights - headlights, brake lights, indicators.
  • Brakes.
  • Steering.
  • Horn.
  • Tyres.

Adjust the controls of the motorcycle so they are right for you. You should be able to reach all the controls easily without being cramped.

Make sure that your lights all work and can be clearly seen. Make sure that your lights, and mirrors are clean. Adjust the mirrors so that you have a good view to the rear and sides.

You must not ride any motorcycle at night if the lights are not working.


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