General

Trike licence wheelspin

JON SOLMUNDSON

November 5, 2013

With more than 200 trikes now on Western Australian roads, many riders are demanding a separate licence to avoid endangering themselves on motorcycles while they learn to ride.

At present, prospective trike riders must complete a full year on a motorcycle, then pass a practical skills test and hold the licence for another year before they can apply for a special ‘R-class’ licence.

With its striking sci-fi look, Bombardier’s Can-am Spyder has doubled the number of trikes on WA roads in the past five years, says Bombardier Spokesperson David Heyes.

Bombardier is circulating a petition to show support for trike licensing reforms.

Several signatories have cited personal safety as a reason a specific trike licence is needed.

Signatory Robin McKeown said his wife wanted to drive their trike, but had to go for a motorcycle licence first.

“On her first on-road ride on a scooter she was hit by a car and had an overnight stay in hospital,” Mr Mckeown said.

“She never wanted to ride a two-wheeler.”

Department of Transport spokeswoman Louise Jess said WA’s trike driver licensing policy was consistent with recommendations of the National Driver Licensing Scheme.

Under the national scheme, created in January 2000, trikes can only be operated under the R-class motorcycle licence.

Mr Heyes said Bombardier had been discussing a specific trike licence with licensing centres for more than two years.

“We’ve submitted documents and drafts to WA,” Mr Heyes said.

“We’ve come a long way but we’re just running into hurdles with the learner’s permit.”

RevSports in Victoria Park is one of three trike dealers in WA.

RevSports director Steve Ford (pictured) said it was virtually impossible to do business when licensing the vehicles was so difficult.

He said unless there was a dramatic change in policy he would have to close shop at the end of the year.

“We’ve done two riding courses where we’ve got the guys from the licensing centre in Midland, met at a carpark with the bikes, put them on the bikes and gone for a ride out to the country,” Mr Ford said.

“They’ve all come back and said: ‘No problems at all. We see where you’re coming from and we can’t see an issue’.

“Then it’s gone to the next level and because their the bureaucracy side of things and they don’t ride bikes, they don’t know anything about bikes, they say: ‘Oh, no this is all too hard’.”

Mr Ford said the Spyder was safer than a motorbike.

“It’ll out-brake anything on the road, car or bike, as far as I’m concerned,” he said.

“You could basically put your grandmother on this, with a bit of tuition, and she could ride it.”

Opposition Transport Minister Ken Travers said he would be pursue the government to find out if there was any logic to resisting a specific trike licence.

“Requiring someone to get a licence for a 250cc motorbike that is intrinsically less safe than the trike they will ultimately be riding just doesn’t make sense to me,” Mr Travers said.

“Unless the government can find something to contradict that view I’d certainly support a test specifically for the separate trike licence without having a motorcycle licence.

“One of the areas which the road safety council often is concerned about is people like myself who rode motorbikes when they were younger still have their licences and now want to return to riding in their later years.

“To those people that decide in their mid-years that they want to go and get a motorbike, I’ve had a shot on one of these trikes and they feel much safer.”

Mr Ford said young people and women were most disadvantaged by the lack of a separate trike licence, as smaller people had a hard time controlling the 250cc bikes that they had to ride to attempt the R-class licence.

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8 replies »

  1. Our law makers have no bluddy idea. My wife and i are in our fifties and have decided we’d like a Can Am Spyder to do some touring on. I have an R E licence so the only way I can get the open R licence is to purchase a 670 or 700cc two wheel bike and practice before going for my practical. I have no desire to ride 2 wheel bikes any more. My balance isn’t as good as it was as a youngster. Because of stupid people making stupid bluddy rules that have never ridden bikes I now have to put myself and other road users at risk. A simple trike licence would be the easier way to go which simply restricts the person to trikes and not the 2 wheelers. Pete and Coral Kalgoorlie WA

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    • Hi Pete, I have just purchased a Bon Trike and held a R-E licence. I had the option to either going for my R licence OR going for my R licence with a restriction for “Trikes” only. In WA you can do ur R licence on a Trike. I took the 1st option in case I wanted to ride a non LAMs approved motorbike. My wife who has held a R-E for 15 years will be doing the 2nd option because she will never ride a bigger bike. We are both 50+.

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  2. Even better should be able to ride the spyder on an R-E licence especially if you have a car licence this demonstrates you have the ability to ride a motorbike and drive a car isn’t the Spyder some what a cross between the 2 !!! I like many others am very short and I just can’t reach the ground on the bigger bikes so this makes it to dangerous to go for my R licence

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    • Jason, talk to DOT and they will tell you why with an R-E you cant ride the Spider. Its all about power to weight ratio. My trike is a 2lt engine, well over the new LAMs approved motorbikes. I think now a R-E can ride up to a 600cc motorbike. believe me Jason riding a Trike is nothing like driving a car.

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  3. Hi
    I bought a can am sider from a dealer and the dealer knowing I have a spinal injury and it’s impossible to ride to wheel motor cycle
    The dealer sold me the can am thinking it would be easy to get liecence for can am but no wrong I’ve been jumping through hoops to find away to be able to ride this bike if there is any way we can do this please let me know I’m at my wits end they say you have to get your bike licence on two wheel bike bit hard if you can’t because of an injury and I can ride my can am thanking you vicki

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  4. I bought myself a trike 6weeks ago from Melbourne had it shipped over to WA thinking that I can ride the trike on car licence same as some eastern states but not WA must have bike licence when is this country going to unify laws LIKE THEY SAY WAIT AWHILE WA still years behind rest of country

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  5. If other Australian states allow a Trike to be ridden on a car licence, pressure on WA DOT needs to happen. It worked with the LAMS system when we were just allowed to ride 250s

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  6. I was thinking of buying a trike so me and my partner now in our 50s, can go riding on a c class licence like over east. youd think we could do that in WA. After reading this garbage that i need a big bike licence for a three wheeler. Ive considered against it. We are too old to ride an unsafe motorbike to get the appropriate licence. Trikes are so much safer for the elderly come on whats wrong with WA. Do we have to be young to get our own way. It isnt fair at all
    .

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