ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

A comparison of the crash involvement of unlicensed motorcycle riders and unlicensed drivers in Queensland

Steinhardt, Dale (Peer reviewed)

Motorcycles and Scooters


Despite on-going improvements in traffic law enforcement practices and technology, unlicensed driving and riding remain serious road safety problems in Australia. Previous research into the crash involvement of unlicensed motor vehicle operators has identified unlicensed motorcyclists as a significant high-risk group within the larger unlicensed population. The current investigation compared the crash involvement of unlicensed riders and drivers in Queensland for the period 2000 - 2004. Results indicated that like unlicensed drivers, unlicensed motorcycle riders are over-represented in fatal and serious injury crashes. However, the proportion of unlicensed riders involved in motorcycle crashes is higher than is the case for unlicensed drivers, at all crash severity levels. The three main types of unlicensed riders involved in serious casualty crashes are those with disqualified/suspended licences, those with inappropriate licences, and those who have never been licensed. In terms of contributing factors, serious crashes involving unlicensed drivers and riders both showed an increased involvement of alcohol or drugs, speeding, inexperience and inattention compared to those involving their licensed counterparts. However, relatively more of the crashes involving unlicensed riders occurred in lower speed zones (ie. 60 km/h or less roads) than was the case for unlicensed drivers. The results are discussed in terms of directions for future research and policy.