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Sharing the road with motorcycle riders

As a driver, it’s your responsibility to help keep motorcycle riders safe. Here are the rules, risks and responsibilities you need to be aware of.

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Rules and risks

Motorcycle riders have the same rights and responsibilities as other drivers on the road. They generally follow the same road rules, but have additional rules they must follow, such as wearing an approved motorcycle helmet.

For rules and safety advice for motorcycle riders, see the Motorcycle Riders’ Handbook.

Motorcycle riders are much more vulnerable than people in cars. Per kilometre travelled, they’re 25 times more likely to be killed in a road crash. They’re harder to see and do not have the body of a car to protect them. Motorcycles are also less stable because they only have 2 wheels.

Motorcycle riders are most at risk:

  • on busy city roads – at intersections and when changing lanes
  • on country roads – particularly around bends.

As a driver, it’s your responsibility to help keep motorcycle riders safe.

Keep a lookout

Always look out for motorcycles as they’re smaller than cars and harder to see. Motorcycles can be hidden behind a truck or car.

Check your side and rear mirrors and your blind spots by looking over your shoulder regularly, especially before:

  • merging or changing lanes
  • turning at intersections.

Watch out for lane filtering

Lane filtering is when motorcycle riders ride at low speed between traffic moving in the same direction.

A motorcycle rider can lane filter if:

  • they have a full motorcycle rider licence
  • they’re travelling at less than 30km/h
  • the traffic is stopped or moving slowly, and
  • it’s safe to do so.

Motorcycles riders must not lane filter next to kerbs or parked vehicles, or in school zones.

Leave space when overtaking

When overtaking motorcycles, leave as much space as you would when overtaking a car. See Overtaking motorcycles for more information.

Do not drive alongside motorcycles

Do not drive alongside and in the same lane as a motorcycle. They have a right to a full-width lane to ride safely.

Motorcycle riders can ride two abreast (side by side) as long as they’re within 1.5m of each other. Another motorcycle rider can overtake them.

Keep a safe distance

Drive at a safe distance from motorcycles. They may need to avoid hazards such as flying debris, oil slicks and poor road conditions. They may also need extra time to stop.

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