Bikes and Registration
There’s a fair amount of uncertainty in Western Australia about what are the registration options for trail bikes. We’ve put together this information page to provide an overview of the current situation. Please note that this information is subject to change and should not be relied upon without checking with the relevant authorities.
A Class Registration (full road registration)
This level of registration is available to ADR compliant motorcycles and provides unrestricted access to the public roads network. It also includes third-party personal insurance to protect rider against any claims made for personal injury in the event of an accident for which that rider was responsible. Only motorcycles that have a Compliance Plate signifying that the vehicle complies with all requirements for registration are eligible for this level of registration. This means mirrors, indicators, speedo, lights, mudguard extenders etc. It is not possible to simply fit these items to a motorcycle that does not already have a compliance plate in order to register it.
B Class Registration
B Class registration is a conditional form of registration that is available for motorcycles and ATVs that do not have a compliance plate but to which have been fitted head and tail lights, a working stop light and a muffler that limits noise level to no more than 94 dbA. Mirrors, batteries and a horn are not required and choice of tyre is free. This is a restricted level of registration and B Class motorcycles and quads can only be used on a public road whilst participating in an event arranged by Motorcycling WA or other organisation approved by the DPI. Third-party personal insurance cover is provided by the State Government Insurance Commission while the motorcycles or quads are being used in competition. Because of this limited insurance cover B Class Registration costs significantly less than A Class registration . Further details.
Off Road Vehicle (ORV) Registration
In order to access the designated off road vehicle areas – Pinjar, Lancelin, York, Gnangara, Medina (Kwinana) – motorcycles, quads and other off-road vehicles are required to have ORV registration. Registration can be done at any licensing centre. The fee is thirty five dollars with a one-off fee for numberplates the first time the vehicle is registered. All off road vehicle registrations expire on 30th of September each year. ORV registration does not include any third-party insurance. Getting ORV registration for any non-road registered vehicle is a good idea even if you don’t intend to use the ORV areas, as the registration places your bike or quad’s frame and engine number on the Department of Transport’s database which is used by police for tracing the owners of recovered stolen vehicles and parts. At just $35 a year this is valuable even for MX bikes used solely for competition.
So what does it all mean?
If you own a fully registered, ADR compliant bike you have access to all the same public roads and tracks throughout Western Australia that any other registered vehicle such as a car or four-wheel-drive would have access to.
If you own a motocross bike or other non-ADR compliant vehicle, or if you own a registerable trail bike but choose not to fully road register it (for example because you have no intention of riding it on the road) then you can register it as a B Class vehicle and use it on the road during Enduro competitions (these include non-competitive events such as the Adventure Rally and Capel 200).
If you intend to ride your bike on public land anywhere and it doesn’t conform to either a class or be class registration then it should be registered as an off-road vehicle and only used in the designated ORV areas. ORV registration might help you to get your bike back if it ever gets stolen.
Licensing covers you to ride on any public road and means you are licensed, registered and insured, contributing to road and trail maintenance, and have legal “Right of passage”. Some riders take issue with the logic of having to fully road register a motorcycle that is rarely or never used on sealed roads. Many of the ADR requirements that have been developed primarily for on-road traffic situations – horn, indicators, dual purpose tyres, mirrors etc – do not properly cater for the conditions for which these bikes were designed and intended. To make the vehicle better suited to its original intent of being ridden off-road, owners add ‘knobby’ tyres to provide greater grip on unsealed surfaces and remove mirrors, indicators and rear mudguards – however this can leave the owner vulnerable to “vehicle defect infringements” if policed according to the letter of the law.
Quad bikes are not ADR compliant and therefore cannot be registered for road use. While this makes sense from the perspective of keeping ATVs off the Kwinana Freeway, it frustrates quad bike owners that there is no legal opportunity for trail riding outside designated ORV areas.
Similarly, while no reasonable person would argue that a child should be allowed to ride a motorcycle in traffic on a suburban street, the fact that the Road Traffic Act makes no distinction between a major arterial road and the most deserted bush track precludes the opportunity for family-oriented recreational trail bike riding.
The State Trail Bike Strategy has addressed many of these issues with various recommendations to change the current licensing models and options.