Unlicensed Riders

Over the past five years (2006-2010), 904 unlicensed riders were involved in road crashes in NSW. This group includes those riders whose licence has been cancelled or disqualified as well as those who have never obtained a motorcycle licence.

These riders comprise only 7% of all riders who crash, but they involved 21% of the riders in fatal crashes. Nearly half (45%) of all unlicensed riders who crash were under 26 years.

  1. Nearly a third of all unlicensed riders (30%) were involved in speed related crashes compared with 23% of licensed riders.
  2. 20% of unlicensed riders and 33% of their injured pillions, were not wearing a helmet, or wore a helmet that was not correctly fastened, when they crashed. They account for 44% of all un-helmeted riders.
  3. Pillion casualties were more likely not to have worn a helmet if they were on a motorcycle ridden by an unlicensed rider than a licensed rider (3% vs 0.1%).
  4. In 2010, 18% of unlicensed riders had an illegal blood alcohol reading (BAC) compared to 3% of riders in general. They accounted for 33% of all riders in crashes with illegal BAC.

Unlicensed riding is more of a social problem than it is a specific motorcycling problem. The increased incidence of risk taking behaviour amongst unlicensed motorcycle riders also occurs amongst unlicensed car drivers. Although unlicensed drivers are a small minority amongst drivers, 12% of all speeding drivers in fatal crashes were unlicensed [RMS, Speed: Speed Problem Definition and Countermeasures Summary, 2000].

Rider factors in crashes All riders in crashes (n=13,482) Learners (n=1,638) Provisional (n=1,060)Full licence (n=7,569)Unlicensed (n=904)Unknown licence status (n=1,747)
All crashes100%12%8%56%7%13%
Fatal crashes100%6%5%65%21%1%
Rider at fault38%38%36%34%57%46%
Under 26 years28%66%61%12%55%30%
Over 40 years34%8%6%47%15%25%
Fatigue7% 6% 5% 5% 13%9%
Speed 24% 22% 20% 23% 30% 24%
Casualty without helmet2.8%0.5%1.3%0.3%18.4% 9.1%