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Protect the environment

Don't be too noisy

Riders who are overly noisy are often considered selfish, irresponsible and annoying to others or damaging to our environment. Overly noisy riders could face losing their bikes. The length of time the bike is impounded depends on the offence, but it ranges from 48 hours to a permanent confiscation.

The most common complaint heard about off-road trail bikes is that they're too noisy. Even though the motorcycle industry has been able to lower noise levels on new motorcycles, many non-riders still think that all motorcycles are always loud. However, they don't have to be. Delivered from the factory, all dual-purpose and enduro motorcycles are equipped with a muffler system that meets the current noise standard of 98 dB-A. The only noisy bikes made today are motocross bikes - high performance racing machines that cannot be legally used on public land.

Resist the temptation to replace the standard, factory fitted exhaust with an aftermarket system. Some of these modifications may be illegal if the engine noise exceeds established noise standards. Non-standard exhaust systems often produce more noise than horsepower, the chances are good that you'll lose power rather than gain it. Race organisations for dual-sport and enduro events require entrants to meet the noise limit of 98dB-A to compete. Racers operate at the highest levels of performance with standard exhaust systems and so can you.

An equally important aspect of an off-road trail bike's exhaust system is the spark arrester. It fits onto the end of the exhaust pipe, and prevents hot particles of carbon and soot from shooting out the pipe and starting a bushfire. Both dual-purpose and enduro bikes should be equipped with an approved spark arrester and conform to noise and exhaust emissions standards. Some older off-road bikes may not have one. If so, buy and install one. They are available from retail outlets for $60 to $200.

Watch out for others… non-riders are human too!

In many areas, you'll be sharing tracks with people on horses, mountain bikes, in 4WDs and on foot. Remember that they are only trying to experience the bush and enjoy being outdoors too!

When you come across another user, be courteous. Slow down, let them pass and then continue riding. Horses frighten easily - it's good practice to turn off the engine and take your helmet off. You're an ambassador for your recreation - future access may depend on how others find riders behaving in the bush.

Be wary of the native animals too and don't forget that you are visiting their home.

Protecting our environment

It doesn't take much to wreck the bush. The first vehicle might just knock the scrub around a bit. But when someone else follows your detour - then another and another - pretty soon a track will form. Erosion will follow, especially if the track is on peat soil or sloping ground. On the flat, the new track will probably become boggy and difficult to pass - so people go around it, creating yet more braided tracks - a real mess. In some areas, land managers have closed off tracks to help them regenerate. Some regeneration areas are signposted and in others, barriers such as dirt, rock, slashed vegetation or posts have been put in place. They're there for a good reason - please stay off these areas.

Wash your bike, car and trailer before each trip

By washing your bike, car and trailer before each trip, you can limit the spread of weeds and disease from one environment to another. Make sure you wash right under the vehicle and the tyres, preferably with a high pressure hot wash. In particularly sensitive areas, it is compulsory that you wash your vehicle before you enter.

There are many examples of weeds and plant diseases being carried into the bush by mud and soil on vehicles. One particularly nasty disease is a root rot fungus called phytophthora. It kills many species of plants and lowers the biodiversity in infected areas. Weeds can also be introduced to bushland on vehicles. This can create thickets blocking future access and displacing native vegetation.

Your boots and riding gear may also carry weeds, plant material and diseases; ensure your personal equipment is free of mud and other plant material before each trip.

Last reviewed
9 August 2011
Last updated
16 December 2010