Premier advocacy body for Victorian motorcyclists of all kinds

Review: Slow to 40km/h When Passing Emergency Vehicles

By VMC Admin
Category: General

Review of Road Rule

"Slow to 40km/h while passing emergency vehicles"

Victoria Police are seeking community input regarding the "Slow to 40km/h while passing emergency vehicles" road rule RR 79A, which has now been in place for nearly 5 years.

The VMC is particularly interested to hear about rider's experiences, good or bad, and their constructive views about this road rule.


We are aware of at least one seriously injured rider, and a number of near misses, but would like to flesh those experiences out. We'd also like to hear about whether riders think that it is a road rule that enhances road safety, or is particularly well understood or... Well, you have the microphone (just keep it civil wink).


Drop a comment below, comment on Facebook or send us a DM, or drop us an email here.

Thank you!



I've not really had many occassions where I've passed an emergency vehicle in the circumstances required. Of the times it has happened, what's stood out is that even though I and some others slowed to around 40km/h, many other road users didn't. As a rider I felt vulnerable and forced to increase my speed to remain safe. Not that the rule was being enforced any way...

Posted by Anon, 23/03/2022 1:50:28 pm

Like wise, I've only ridden past a couple of 'flashing lights' events and have slowed to the required speed limit but felt vulnerable given other road users disregard for the law... Perhaps more public education is required, roadside billboards maybe?..

Posted by Mungo, 23/03/2022 2:02:07 pm

I understand the thinking behind the rule and support the idea of taking care when passing. Its main flaw is that very few motorists follow it which puts everyone who does at risk. I've not encountered an EV pulled up, lights on, when out on my bike, but quite a few times in the car. While I attempt to slow down, if the surrounding traffic is not reacting, then it would be foolish of me to attempt to.

Posted by Shane, 23/03/2022 2:16:30 pm

In principal the 40kph limit under these circumstances makes sense. In practice I find that many cars, vans and trucks rarely stick to the 40kph limit. For me personally while riding a motorcycle this has proven to be dangerous on numerous occasions.. These other vehicles who exceed the 40 limit don't like being held up and see an easy opportunity to go around a motorcycle at close proximity.

Posted by Sam Blumenstein, 23/03/2022 2:21:52 pm

This rule has seriously endangered me, several times (on bike & in a car) for no beneficial effect. It should be scrapped forthwith.

Posted by Steve Roberts, 23/03/2022 3:29:55 pm

Nowhere in Australian would you see speed zones change from 110 km/h to 40 km/h in one step. Cars and trucks slow at different rates. While I agree with the sentiment, the introduction of this law was an ill considered knee-jerk reaction which has introduced new dangers and has no doubt caused more grief than it's saved.

Posted by Robin, 23/03/2022 5:50:35 pm

I get the purpose of the rule completely, but note the additional dangers due to other road users not slowing down. Maybe if it was 60 km/hr, people would be more likely to stick to the limit

Posted by Mike, 23/03/2022 8:55:50 pm

A dangerous law, particularly on 100/110kmh roads. When traffic is heavy, visibility is lower, as is space, and to require speed to drop by 60 or 70 kmh almost immediately is madness. I have been genuinely endangered twice by this law. Requirement should be to slow where reasonable, and move to outside lane where reasonable. Police talking to pulled-over drivers should do so through passenger window, not driver window. All this works fine in the US.

Posted by D Hughes, 24/03/2022 6:38:16 am

I feel the biggest problem isn't the speed, it is the close proximity in which car/truck drivers pass the 'party lights' at. Since 2016, Victorian motorcyclists have been taught to 'buffer' from hazards and leave a 3 second crash avoidance space, but car drivers don't seem to comprehend the idea of space, both laterally or in front. It's law to pass cyclists 1.5m from any speed, wouldn't this be a better option for the average pull over?

Posted by Rachelle, 25/03/2022 9:49:27 am

I understand the intent behind this road rule. However, from my observations it is almost never observed by drivers. Drivers will simply adjust their speed to match the traffic flow. A more realistic speed of, say, 70 kph. would work better. I have wondered if the road rule contributed in part to the tragic accident on Melbourne's Eastern Freeway where 4 police officers died. Is it possible the truck driver was caught out at the last second by this rule ?

Posted by M Down, 25/03/2022 7:21:41 pm

It is so dangerous. I cannot safely comply with this law without risking my safety.

Posted by Ad, 26/03/2022 11:20:14 am

As a motorcyclist, this rule is too dangerous to comply with when there is a car behind you. Dropping suddenly to a speed of 40km/h is an invitation to be rear-ended by an inattentive driver. I will not take that chance.

Posted by MikeB, 27/03/2022 11:15:41 am

I have not encountered a situation where I have had to pass an emergency vehicle but yes at low visibility areas or turns etc it can be hazardous. Changing the lane to give space is still safer but sudden reductions in speed are not something I would like to do especially if there is traffic behind me.

Posted by Usman, 29/03/2022 8:54:51 pm

The majority of times I encountered flashing lights emergency vehicles, surrounding traffic did not slow down and I felt extremely unsafe as people drive right up your backside and/or overtake aggressively. This happened in in instances where sight lines were good, just other road users compliance was lacking. I also agree that large speed reductions (say 100km/h or 80km/h down to 40km/h) in a very short distance are extremely unsafe. Is this supported by design/road safety standards?

Posted by Corey, 30/03/2022 9:11:43 pm

I have also encountered at least one significant risk to my life by attempting to comply, when a passing articulated transport disregarded the rule. Clearly there is a need for greater safety for emergency services workers. However it seems that a lot of roadside interactions for non-critical purposes could be removed to a safer area. I suggest that the current law may place enforcement officers at greater risk from adjacent collisions than errant vehicles.

Posted by Titus, 13/04/2022 5:14:14 pm

I understand the purpose of the rule, but without correct enforcement and compliance it is dangerous to all road users and would say this would extend to the people this is trying to protect as road users scramble around each other to avoid slowing down. Not sure the solution, but would consider the method of police creating a corridor is not safe as they often protrude into the lane in a parallel parked position. Angling the car to deflect collisions and allow door opening would be better imo

Posted by Mike, 15/04/2022 5:44:56 pm

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