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VIC L & P Laws - Intercom

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by Jozlyn, Feb 2, 2015.

  1. Hi guys, Hubby and I would like to use an intercom whilst we're out riding (recommendations of a good one would be good too) basically just to say things like "I need to stop" or "Look out for the pot hole in the shadow", that sort of stuff. I'm currently on my L's and will be going for my restricted licence (probably April). At the L's course I did the instructor told us we were not allowed to use any phones/iPods/GPS's etc, no electronic devices at all!!!! BUT I've had a look at the list of restrictions again this morning (for L's, P's & Restricted licences) and what it actually says is:
    • Must not use a mobile phone (my emphasis) for any purpose (hands free or hand held) including sending or reading text messages, when the motorcycle is moving or stationary in traffic.
    Does that actually mean that an intercom would be ok to use?


  2. I'm pretty sure we're allowed to have fixed GPS devices, but you're not allowed to use your phone as the GPS.
    My instructor included intercoms in the list of not to use, but the rules I can find aren't all that clear about it.

    I feel like you'd get ticketed for it, as most (all?) of the intercom devices have bluetooth as well. So they would assume you're using it paired to your phone.
  3. I'm constantly sending textmessages while the bike is moving in traffic, but I've got a full license, does that mean I'm okay?
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  4. My phone doesn't have Bluetooth! It's very old lol. I'm pretty certain some of the units he was looking at last night were just a straight intercom without any sort of phone connectivity, which would be perfect I don't want to break the law (the Govt' can live without me paying fines!) but on our trip on the weekend there were several occasions when it would've been really, really handy! Eg I got splattered by a GIANT kamikaze bug and HAD to stop to clean my face shield (I couldn't see anything) and hubby didn't notice that I'd stopped, things like that but not for general chit chat/music/phones/etc, we really enjoy the solitude of bike riding. Could possibly put the sender/receiver inside my jacket so it can't be seen, if the cord was long enough? I totally get the safety aspect of not using phones while riding, but the intercom would actually enhance my safety rather than reduce it, as hubby would be able to warn me of potential problems while I'm still learning.

    Wondering now if the local police would know.......
  5. Worth asking, although if you can get on to highway patrol people specifically you'll probably get a real answer rather than a guess.
    My wife is a cop, and her generic response is "no, obviously that's illegal if it says phones are illegal" without actually knowing the real answer. At the same time I can't see her being the one that would pull you over for it, it would probably be a highway patrol car that knows the road laws in more detail.

    I agree with comments on intercom, in my opinion things like intercom when group riding and even GPS on your phone are much safer than riding without them.
    Who is going to ride safer? The one who is told by his group that they're pulling over 1km ahead, or the one who last minute notices the friend turning off?
    The one who is trying to remember street signs and stressing out about missing turns or the one with a voice in their helmet saying the turn is in 500 meters?

    At the same time I wouldn't want to be distracted as a learner. So if the intercom starts being used like a party line I'd probably end up paying less attention than I would like.
    • Agree Agree x 4
  6. Jo'

    You could ask the local police, but I wouldn't rely on their answer. When it comes to areas such as this, nothing is consistent. It seems to depends on who pulls you over, what his thoughts are on it, and his attitude on the day. Answers may even differ between Highway patrol cops as well.

    The fact your phone doesn't have bluetooth could be a plus, but don't expect a cop to be even willing to look at your phone. (You may need to be prepared to use this as evidence if you decide to challenge a TIN if you ever got one)

    As I understand it cops aren't supposed to book you for assumptions. (assuming that you've used it for your phone) even if it had bluetooth, but as I mentioned - nothing is consistent these days.

    As sad as it seems, I believe your only options are to:

    1) Interpret the law as you see it - and go with that option. (And if fined, be prepared to either cop the fine, or take it to court), or

    2) Play to the worst case scenario, and not use one to cover yourself for sure.

    My understanding is that intercoms should be OK as well, as they are not a mobile phone. I'd have no problems using one - especially if it has the potential to make my riding and learning safer, (and be prepared to go to court to challenge a TIN), but that's me...
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  7. I believe that it will make it safer for me, in that my husband will be able to easily warn me of potential hazards. We already have a few arm signals sorted and they work quite well but that's a bit limited because I can't communicate anything to him as he's in front. We also plan stops ahead of time, but that doesn't help if I need to stop for some reason in between the planned ones. We've already discovered that me flashing my headlight doesn't work as a signal to him to stop, so I just pull over and wait for him to come back, would be a lot easier (and safer) if I could just say to him "I need to stop."

    Oddly, in South Australia L platers are allowed to have a pillion (a fully licenced rider only) for the purposes of learning AND ride 2 abreast! I looked up their laws as we're not far from the SA border and were in SA over the weekend on a ride and didn't want to get booked for something just because I didn't know about it.
  8. I'd go with ajrider's interpretation. My opinion is an intercom system not linked to a phone should be OK. It should be VOX operated so you don't have to fiddle around with Transmit/Receive buttons. (Most Are now days) And as you are a learning rider and your husband, presumably, more experienced I would classify it as a training aid if it came to an argument.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  9. Yes, he's been riding for 40 years now and is a great teacher. They don't really think laws through very well :/
  10. When my wife got her license, we had bluetooth head sets linked between us. It proved to be an enormously good teaching aid. We'd go riding up through the twisties, and I would be able to keep in touch with her at all times. She could tell me if there was an issue etc, but even better was that I could warning her about hazards, conditions etc. Coming into a turn for eg, I could let her know if there was debris on the exit, or if it was a decreasing radius corner or whatever it was. She could then be forwarned and take action before it surprised her.

    We also used them when I would take our kids as pillion. I could talk to them as we were riding, let them know if I was going to stop, or they could tell me they were uncomfortable or what ever. One thing I loved doing with the kids was explain to them about what was going on on the road. So, I could explain about a situation that was unfolding that they might not see. For eg, cars looking like they might move, escape zones closing, seeing the dreaded death box etc.

    I'm not sure what the laws are in relation to using these now (in fact, if you're in Victoria, then it's almost irrelevant if they are legal or not. Some cops will happily book you anyway), but, IF they are illegal, they absolutely should NOT be.
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  11. Agree with AJ. As I interpret the rules, L to P2 are not allowed any use of phones or devices with a visual display, except for 'driver aids' such as dedicated GPS units (not GPS on phones unless fully licensed).
    Rule 299 cover devices with visual display units (GPS units allowed). Rule 300 covers mobile phones (not allowed for L & P). I can't find anything else covering the use of other electronic devices.
    Plod can always test the matter in court at your expense, but it seems unlikely.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. I have been using my Sena SH10 and mobile for gps directions since I started on my P's 10 months ago. I reckon having clear directions to where you are going free's up your limited attention to focus on other more imminent dangers. I told myself I would accept the punishment if I was caught doing this. As a P you are allowed to loose 4 non speed related points before your licence is suspended (nsw). So far. through ten months and two RBT's no-one has questioned my use.

    Same with an intercomm - might be legal / illegal but better off with it. Would be surprised if you where questioned or fined for this if they did not see you hoon or race around prior to being stopped.
  13. Disregarding the legalities, the SENA SMH5 are pretty good value Intercoms @ ~250 for a boxed pair. They don't have VOX to begin conversations, but you can just press the jog dial once (before you get mobile), and your permanently connected anyway, till you press again to disconnect. Bonus is the hubby can tie his to his phone/music/etc. I bought a pair for pillioning primarily. Get to use em in earnest in 2 weeks, If I can get the courage to get my son on the back of the bike.
  14. If you have any queries ask the agency that created the stupid new MGLS laws - Vicroads. 131171
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  15. Sena SH10 is great. Simple to use...even I can do it. And has a pretty decent range, definitely suitable for giving/receiving instructions while learning.
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  16. I'm confusing myself reading eBay descriptions! Does it work through a mobile phone/Bluetooth or independent of a mobile phone/Blutooth? My mobile is not Bluetooth capable, so will the intercom still work? I also can't work out how they attach? Why are there screws with them (looking at other brands on eBay)? You can't screw them to the helmet. Also are there any sorts where you could attach the "push to talk" bit to the handle bar instead of the helmet? I'm really not tech savvy at all with this kind of stuff.
  17. #17 cjvfr, Feb 5, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015
    They work unit to unit and don't need a phone to pair to. If they do pair to a phone then you get extras the phone can provide such as music, GPS and phone capability. Obviously something you are restricted from but your husband could.

    You can screw them to the helmet, the jury is out on whether that constitutes structural changes to the helmet and so is illegal. Most people double sided tape or glue them.(See robsalvvs post below)

    I am not aware of the PTT button on the handlbar versions but the PTT button can be set before you ride and then I think a Voice Activated transmit function is available commonly known as VOX
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  18. #18 Gooza, Feb 5, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015
    The SENA units clamp on using screws and a clamp. They dont screw into the helmet. And as Chris stated, they don't require a phone. They communicate directly with each other.

    Have a look at the SENA Website.
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    • Informative Informative x 1
  19. Ahhh, thanks blokes :D Neither of us actually have any interest in listening to music or anything else whilst riding, we like the quiet and solitude of bike riding. The intercom is only for necessary communications, like warnings, problems, etc anything outside our "planned" stops/directions. I'd rather have PTT than VOX (look I learned 2 new acronyms ;)) as I tend to talk to myself or sing (or swear sometimes too), no need to be sharing ANY of that with the other half lololol
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  20. We'll make you a techhead yet. ;)

    It looks like Sena do have a wired PTT button. You would need to check if it is compatible with your model. One extra wire to plug in when you get on the bike though.


    Edited to Add: And possibly an extension cable. You always end up routing these cables up inside jackets so they don't blow around.

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