License article

Majority of motorcyclists escape speeding fines

Most motorcyclists caught by speed cameras escape being fined because they don’t carry a number plate at the front, and the rear number plate is too small to be read easily by cameras, a recent report has found.

The Road Safety Camera Commissioner, Gordon Lewis, has released the annual report for 2013-14 on road safety, in which he argues that motorbikes should carry number plates at the front and back to make it easier for authorities to identify speeders.

He said that 69 per cent of all motorbikes caught on speed cameras never receive a speeding ticket. In contrast, only 4 per cent of all cars caught speeding escape identification.

“Sometimes I feel like a voice in the wilderness,” he told radio station 3AW on Wednesday.

“The suggestion is that I have it in for the motorcyclists, but I haven’t. I care about them, because when you tie that lack of identification with the road statistics, it’s very troublesome,” he said.

The Commissioner said that in a 10-month period, there have been “13,000 motorcyclists detected committing offences, and we can assume very few of those relate to going through red lights”.


“Because the red light cameras make the detection from behind … the fact that there’s no front number plate is irrelevant,” he said.

“Motorcyclists account for roughly 4 per cent of all motor vehicle registration, but they account for 16 per cent of all fatals on the roads … and for 18 per cent of serious injuries,” Commissioner Lewis said.

But the Victorian Motorcycle Club says the Commissioner's report  “desperately tries to vilify motorcyclists”, when the camera system and motorbike design are at fault.

“The camera system should face the back of vehicles," spokesman John Eacott told Fairfax Media.

“The fault is not with the motorcycle riders who have vehicles that are legal and in accordance with Australian design rules… but that the camera system is at fault.”

He said the report actually “emphasised how law-abiding motorcyclists are”.

“It showed that a quarter of all vehicles are detected speeding, while only one in 14 motorbike riders are caught.

“We are not getting a free ride,” he said.