• Vehicle Plate
  • 2 x rectangle white reflectors
  • 2 x rectangle yellow reflectors
  • 2x rear light groups (yellow indicator, red reflector, red stop/tail combo)
  • 1 coupling (swivel type, since it’s to tow behind a motorcycle!)

Ask the RTA

  • Do they supply the Vehicle plate?
  • At what point to I get a VIN? Does the RTA put that on the build plate for me after inspecting?  Do they even inspect, or is that only the inspection mob?
  • Does chain have to be welded? Or is bolted fine?

Other things to find out

  • Talk to eco-tec auto gas (My preferred vehicle inspection place – They’re VERY easy to deal with!) and find out if they can do a blue-slip on a home-built trailer..  RTA site says they just need to be a full AUVIS station, which they are..
  • What is chain with a ‘T’ grade property?

NSW RTA Towing Regulations

Refer NSW RTA ‘Towing Trailers’ booklet.

Maximum Towing Mass (Loaded trailer weight).  Must not be more than the unladen mass of the towing vehicle.  In my case, this is 243kg.  That’s PRETTY. DARNED. HEAVY.   Of course, if the vehicle manufacturer has specified the towing mass, then that would be the maximum (up to the 750kg trailer limit). But most motorcycle manufacturers (even BMW!) don’t actually specify a maximum towing mass…


Rear Overhang – Must not exceed the front load space.  There is no definition of ‘front load space’, but one can assume that it is the ‘load space’ portion in front of the axle. As compared to the portion behind the axle, which is the ‘rear overhang’…  So what this is saying is that there must be more of the ‘box’ on the box trailer, to the rear of the wheels, than at the front of the wheels..

Ground Clearance – Within 1 meter on front and back of the wheels, must not be less than 100mm ground clearance, excepting the wheels, tyres, and wheel hubs.

And that’s all she wrote, as far as regulations relating to *getting the trailer registered* go.  The only other caveat is that the trailer must be build ‘fit for purpose’.  I.e. don’t use weak materials and ‘hope it will do’..

Wheels and Tyres

All wheels and tyres must comply with ADR’s 23 or 42.  Must haev a tyre placard in a prominent position, can be part of the vehicle plate.  Must show:

  • Manufacturers recommended tyre size
  • Tyre load rating
  • Speed rating
  • Cold inflation pressures
  • ‘The tyres fitted to this vehicle shall have a speed category not less than ‘L’ (120km/h)’    (There is another option, but i wouldn’t want less than 120k/h on a bike trailer!)

Mud Guards

Must be designed to protect other road users from thrown up stones, ice, snow, water, mud, etc, and prevent people contacting the moving wheels.

Mudguard coverage requirements

Wheel guards must provide continuous protection between a point in area ‘A’ and a point in area ‘B’, and must cover the overall width of all tyres.  May include mudflaps, and need not be less than 230mm from the ground.

Draw bar, chains, couplings

Drawbar to be securely attached to a ‘substantial portion’ of the trailer.  Longitudinal tension and compression (Newtons) 1.5 x 9.81 x ATM (kg).  That would suggest to me that it needs to be able to withstand the towing vehicle accelerating at 1.5 gravities.  Having owned a ZZR1100, and knowing that it was only JUST able to reach 1G of acceleration, I know that that’s quite a bit of force :)

Transverse thrust, and vertical tension/compression is (N) 0.5 x 9.81 x ATM (kg).  Tranverse thrust, what’s that?  Vertical tension/compression? that’d be up and down on the towbar as you go over bumps?

Well, basically what those two are saying, is the drawbar needs to be REALLY WELL ATTACHED.. :)   I’ll likely have mine very securely welded below the floor frame and front and back (and any other cross-braces I put in the floor..)

Chains.. Well, under 2.5 tonne ATM, must have one safety chain complying with AS 4177.4-1994 or AS 4177.4-2004-Part4  The attachment point for the chain should not come into contact with the road when the trailer is disconnected.   ‘Safety chains, which ave the mechanical T grade property, are not suitable for welding’.  Do we HAVE to weld? Or is a shackle between trailer and chain ok?  Find out!

Coupling – Must have  quick release coupling which is designed to be used without tools.  It must be positive locking with provision for a second independant type.  Coupling to be mounted so that the height of the center of the body of the coupling is 350-420mm above the ground when loaded.   Hmm, check the height of my motorcycle’s tow-ball!.  Coupling to be marked in accordance with ADR62/01 and ADR62/02.  This is:

  • The manufacturers name or trademark.
  • The mark ‘50’ (50mm ball)
  • Maximum rating for the coupling (750kg)
  • a code to indicated serial, batch, production date, or similar
  • ‘DO NOT WELD’, if made from non-weldable material
  • ‘WELD ONLY’ if the coupling is to be attached by welding only.

Electrical Wiring

  • Must be supported at intervals of no more then 600mm apart.
  • Be insulated at joints
  • be located so that it does not become overheated, or contact moving parts
  • be protected from chafing
  • have an earth return between the trailer and the towing vehicle.  OMG, are they kidding? someone would consider the hitch-to-ball coupling a suitable connection for the earth? lol!


Front – non triangular, 2 required at the outer edges of the front, 150mm maximum in from the edges, at least 600mm apart, at least 250mm from the ground, and 900m maximum from the ground

Rear – triangular OR non-triangular, 2 required at the outer edges of the rear.  If triangular, must point up.  If non-triangular, may be grouped as part of the rear lights. (so reflector in the light group? ok, that’s easy..)  400mm maximum in from the edges, at least 600mm apart, at least 250mm from the ground, 900mm maximum from the ground

Side – non–triangular, At least one on each side, within the middle third of the trailer, minimum 250mm from the ground, maximum 900mm from the ground.

Interesting, there is no specific mention of colours!  Although earlier there was mention of the trailer NOT showing white to the rear, or red to the front..  So that would suggest white to the front, and red to the rear.. and yellow being the only safe colour to the side :)


First thing to note, is that all lights must meet ADR requirements.  This is either by being listed on the RVCS, or being stamped with ECE compliance.  That means no cheap-arsed ebay knockoffs.. :)

Rear position Lamps (tail lamps), 2 lamps.   Must operated with towing vehicle tail lamps.

Rear stop lamps (Brake lights), 2 lamps.  Must operate with towing vehicle stop lamps

Direction Indicator Lamps (Turn Signals), 2 lamps.. Must operate with towing vehicle indicator lamps.

Rear registration lamp, at least 1 (Some lamps may only be approved if fitted in pairs).  Must operate with towing vehicle tail lamps.

Side marking lamps, arrangement at the side, one lamp each side within the first third and/or one within the last third. (aka in the first or last third of the length.  Since the drawbar will be long on a bike trailer, I’d have it within the last third).  Note, that these are ONLY required on trailers more than 6 meters long.  However as anyone who has towed at night knows, side marker lamps are the only way to know where your trailer is!  So I ALWAYS have them on a trailer…  There is no specific requirement for how these are electrically connected.  I’ll have them on with the tail lights..