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Motorcycle Laws (Qld)

A motorcycle rider must obey the road rules that apply to drivers but there are some  rules specific to motorcycle riders. This article outlines those specific rules as they apply in Queensland.


Riders and passengers must wear a helmet that meets the standard:

  • AS 16-98-1988;
  • AS/NZS 1698:2006 (or later version);
  • ECE 22.05 (or later version);

Any attached face shield or visor must also meet the standard specified by the helmet standard.

Footpath parking

A motorcycle must not be parked on a footpath unless there is signage stating otherwise.  On-street motorcycle bays are available throughout urban areas in the state.

Transit, bus and special purpose lanes

Motorcyclists are permitted to ride in a transit lane but must not ride in a lane for buses, trams, bicycles or other special vehicles, unless there is signage stating otherwise.

Carrying pillion passengers

A motorcyclist can carry a pillion passenger only if their licence category allows.

A motorcycle must not carry more than one pillion passenger, and that passenger must not be a child aged under 8 (unless the child is in a sidecar). A pillion passenger must wear a helmet, sit behind the rider, face forward, have a leg each side of the motorcycle and have both feet on the allocated foot pegs.

Carrying animals

An animal must not be carried between the rider and the handlebars. An animal can be carried in a box, cage or bag attached to the back or side of the motorcycle, as long as this does not affect the operation of the motorcycle.

Riding with others

A motorcyclist can ride beside only one other rider, and the riders must be 1.5 metres apart.

Miniature motorcycles

Miniature motorcycles do not meet the required standards for vehicle registration and so cannot be used on public roads or footpaths.

Lane filtering and lane splitting

Lane filtering, when a motorcyclist travels at a low speed through stopped or slow- moving traffic, is legal. The motorcyclist can travel between:

  • 2 lanes of traffic travelling in the same direction as the motorcycle;
  • 2 vehicles in separate lanes travelling in the same direction as the motorcycle;
  • a vehicle travelling in the same direction as the motorcycle and an adjacent parked vehicle or line of parked vehicles.

Road rules state lane filtering is permitted at speeds of up to 30km/h, when it is “safe to do so”, and unless there is signage stating otherwise. Lane filtering is not permitted between a vehicle and a kerb, in a bicycle lane, or in a school zone during school hours.

Lane splitting, when a motorcyclist travels at a high speed between moving traffic, is illegal.

Edge filtering

A road shoulder is the sealed area to the left or right of a road’s edge. Edge filtering is riding at a low speed on a road shoulder or in an emergency stopping lane, past slow-moving or stopped traffic. A motorcyclist who holds an open licence can edge filter on major roads, such as highways, if:

  • the speed limit is 90km/h or higher;
  • the motorcyclist’s speed is 30km/h or lower;
  • the motorcyclist gives way to all others already using the shoulder;
  • the shoulder is sealed;
  • there are no roadworks;
  • the shoulder is not in a tunnel;
  • if it is safe to do so.

Queensland is the only state or territory in Australian that allows edge filtering.


A camera can be attached to a helmet, as long as the helmet remains compliant with required standards. A camera is also permitted to be used on the motorcycle or on the motorcyclist themselves.

Bicycle storage areas

A bicycle storage area at traffic lights allows cyclists to wait in front of vehicles stopped at the intersection. Motorcyclists are permitted to use such an area as long as they give way to all riders already using it.


A motorcyclists faces a fine and incurs demerit points for committing an offence under the Queensland Road Rules. For example, a $400 fine and 3 demerit points apply when a motorcyclist:

  • does not lane filter properly;
  • does not edge filter properly;
  • fails to wear an approved helmet;
  • fails to ensure a passenger wears an approved helmet.

For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Sally Crosswell

This article was written by Sally Crosswell

Sally Crosswell has a Bachelor of Laws (Hons), a Bachelor of Communication and a Master of International and Community Development. She also completed a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice at the College of Law. A former journalist, Sally has a keen interest in human rights law.

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