Aussie Motorbike Design Rules Catch Up With Europe and Japan

Posted by Jane Clothier on 16 September, 2015

Australian Motorcycle Design Rules

It has taken a long time, but this week the federal government has finally announced a significant change to the Australian Design Rules for motorcycles. Under the new ruling, imported new motorcycles will no longer have to be retro-fitted with rear mudguard extensions, a move that should reduce purchase costs and delight design purists, all in one hit.


At present, up to 70,000 new bikes a year have to be retro-fitted with rear mudguard extensions. Nobody can explain why this has continued to happen – as a ruling, it is outdated and does nothing to improve rider safety. It also places Australia firmly out of line with Japan and European countries.


This move, which represents the government’s first step in establishing alignment with the United Nations Vehicle Regulations, is estimated (by the government) to be bringing the industry over $14.4million savings every year. It has arisen from a Productivity Commission report which called for such harmonisation.


In the past, the requirement for rear mudguard extensions has caused enormous frustrations to motorbike owners, due to the cost and perceived ugliness. No surprise then that the change has been widely celebrated as a breath of sanity in motorcycle circles.


“Ugly motorcycle guards to go,” writes David McCowan on, before observing that many owners have been fined for removing the offending items. He then quotes Yamaha Australia spokesman Sean Hawker's praise of the announcement, "The more we get in line with global regulations, the better we will all be... The customer doesn't want it and it's not a safety issue. It's red tape."


On, Mark Hinchliffe writes, “It is a rare and sensible display of agreement between Australian and state/territory governments”. Doubting that this measure will bring purchase prices down, he opines, “Maybe if they dropped some of the other requirements such as blinker lens colours, number plate placement, etc, it might begin to have an effect on bike prices.” Fair point.


It’s not yet clear when this popular deregulation will come into effect. Watch this space.


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