Motorcycle Council of NSW Ph: 1300 679 622 (1300 NSW MCC) |


Hi All,

For many years many of us riders would stand on the footpegs to stretch our legs or to go over an obstruction or similarly removing a foot off the foot peg whilst the bike was in motion to stretch a leg or test the road surface oblivious to the fact of the legality or otherwise. Surprise surprise it was illegal.

As a result of various representations made by the NSW Motorcycle Council and others, that rule was changed, and you can stand on your pegs with your backside off the seat or take a foot of the foot peg…….or can you?

I have had to defend a couple of riders who have done just that and been breached by police. You would be justified in asking why. It appears that the legislation when drafted left a clause that was designed to satisfy the Nanny State.

Reg 271 of the ROAD RULES governs this

271 Riding on motor bikes

(1) Unless subrule (1A) applies, the rider of a motor bike that is moving, other than a motor bike that is being pushed by a rider who is walking beside it, or the rider of a motor bike that is stationary but not parked, must—
(a) sit astride the rider’s seat facing forwards, and
(b) if the motor bike is moving—
(i) keep at least 1 hand on the handlebars, and
(ii) keep both feet on the footrests or footboard designed for the rider’s use.
Maximum penalty—20 penalty units.

(1A) The rider of a motor bike that is moving may—
(a) stand on the motor bike’s footrests or footboard designed for the rider’s use if—
(i) the rider has both feet on the footrests or footboard, and
(ii) in the circumstances, it is safe for the rider to do so, or
(b) remove a foot from the footrest or footboard designed for the rider’s use if—
(i) the rider is sitting on the rider’s seat, and
(ii) at least 1 foot is on a footrest or footboard, and
(iii) in the circumstances, it is safe for the rider to do so, or
(c) remove both feet from the footrests or footboard designed for the rider’s use if the motor bike is moving at less than 10 kilometres per hour and—
(i) the rider is manoeuvring the motor bike in order to park the motor bike, or
(ii) the motor bike is decelerating to come to a stop, or
(iii) the motor bike is accelerating from being stopped.

As you will see from the above section “in the circumstances, it is safe for the rider to do so”.
This has resulted in clients’ of mine being charged because the police officer has considered it unsafe. Two cases come to mind. A rider on a dirt bike who was riding and was standing on the pegs as he traveled along the road. The highway patrol vehicle was stopped at right angles to the travelling bike at a red light. The police vehicle followed the bike and pulled over and charged the rider. We defended the case and adduced evidence from the rider of the many years of experience as a rider that he had and the police in car video showed that he was riding in a controlled manner. Furthermore the highway patrol officer was shown photographs by me in cross examination of police riders using trail bikes standing on pegs and he had to concede that these bikes just similar to my client’s were designed to allow standing and riding whilst maintaining control. My client was eventually acquitted by the Magistrate who made the finding that what the rider did was safe.

Another case was of a similar nature of an experienced rider on a registered dirt bike riding with his father and standing on his footpegs. He did this after a long day ride and was stretching his legs. Again he was pulled over and charged by the highway patrol. On attending the police station to view the in car video I could see no action by the rider that would constitute being unsafe. I then had a meeting with the Sergeant in charge of the Highway Patrol office who agreed with me and the matter was subsequently withdrawn. So, as you can see whenever there is a discretion given to a police officer it can very much be determined by the subjective views of the officer.

You are in trouble if your pillion does any of the earlier mentioned transgressions and there is no defence of that nature irrespective of how safe it may be.

So bare in mind be careful next time you decide to stand on the pegs.

The article as written is for your information and interest only and is based on New South Wales law only. It is not intended to be comprehensive, and does not constitute and must not be relied on as legal advice. Please be aware that every case is different and the matters I am raising may not be of specific relevance to your situation but may have a general application and you must seek specific advice tailored to your circumstances. I will also gladly talk to anyone on the phone if confused or want clarification.


Chris Kalpage
Kalpage and Co Solicitors

For Chris’ contact details, see his website Kalpage & Co or email Chris directly