Traffic Laws—Discussions on Ute Tray Riding

Thank you to the Norfolk Island community for their involvement in discussions last week as part of the second round of consultation around changes to the Norfolk Island traffic laws, with a focus on ute tray riding.

It was pleasing to see a wide range of people attending the targeted meetings and the drop-in event to share their views. The meetings were constructive and produced valuable feedback. 

Key points made by participants include:

  • local traffic conditions differ from other Australian jurisdictions, with a limited road network, no highways, and maximum speed limit of 50 km/h
  • context around how ute tray riding has become important over time, supporting traditional events and creating strong social and community networks
  • the only form of ‘public transport’ on the island
  • the practice is economical and environmentally friendly as it encourages less vehicles on the road, and, if discontinued, there would likely be increased congestion and lack of parking
  • suggestions on how to make ute tray riding safer, including improvements to driver education, lower speed limits, curfews, raising the side of ute trays, creating a licence endorsement to enable transporting passengers in the back of a ute or truck, increasing penalties for non‑compliance and stricter law enforcement.
  • A summary of this second round of consultation will be made available on the Department’s website in the near future, and the Assistant Minister will be briefed on the outcomes of the consultation.  The briefing will include background information such as the findings and comments in the Coroner’s report of December 2018. 

Once again, thank you to those who made time available to participate, and a special thanks to the young people who talked to us about their views, including our school students.

Eric Hutchinson
Administrator of Norfolk Island