OZ Racing Wheels Australia

Are 5-Post Bullbars Illegal?

In Australia bullbars are about safety, yet in many Australian states they are heavily scrutinised.

A decade ago in NSW, the police unleashed a “crack down” on non-compliant bullbars which led to an outcry from ordinary hard working Aussies who felt they were being treated unfairly.

5-Post bullbars tend to be more scrutinised than others, but are they illegal?

Let’s find out…

In this guide, we’ll look into the legalities with 5-post bullbars in Australia, debunk myths, explore regulations, and hopefully shed light on the facts you need to know to make informed decision about your car’s safety.

Myths & Facts About Bullbars in Australia

Firstly, lets seperate the myths from the facts:

Myth 1: All Bullbars Are Created Equally


Contrary to the belief that all bullbars serve the same purpose, the reality is that design, construction, and compliance standards can vary significantly.

Some bullbars adhere strictly to safety guidelines, while others may fall short.

When you purchase a bullbar in Australia, you should always buy a reputable brand. As sensible as this sounds, the cost of premium bullbars puts off many, which makes it understandable we look for cheaper alternatives.

Myth 2: Bullbars Are Unregulated


There are specific regulations and standards in place to ensure the safety and compliance of bullbars. These guidelines, such as Australian Standard AS4876.1-2002 and relevant Australian Design Rules outline the necessary criteria for proper construction and installation.

Myth 3: 5-Post Bullbars Are Illegal


There’s a common misconception that 5-post bullbars are inherently illegal.

However, the truth is that compliance with Australian Standards and Design Rules, rather than the number of posts, determines the legality of bullbars.

To quote AS4876.1-2002, the relevant requirement for 5 post bullbars is they must:

“Generally conforms to the shape, in plan view, front view and side view, of the front of the vehicle to which it is fitted”


In fact, authorities have clarified that 5-post bullbars can be legal if they meet the required standards.

Myth 4: Bullbars Are a Universal Safety Guarantee


While bullbars can enhance safety by providing protection against animal collisions and other potential hazards, their effectiveness depends on adherence to safety standards.

Always keep in mind not all bullbars offer the same level of protection, so you should make sure you buy one which complies with the relevant regulations.

Myth 5: Bullbars Are Unnecessary in Urban Areas


Bullbars are often associated with rural or off-road driving, but they can be beneficial in urban environments as well. They offer protection in low-impact collisions and can prevent costly damage to your vehicle, making them a versatile safety feature.

However, we should always keep in mind many bullbars can be fatal in a road traffic accident to pedestrians or runaway pets, so we must always drive with care and consideration. But you know that already, don’t you?

NSW Bullbar Regulations & The 2014 Bullbar Crack Down

In New South Wales (NSW), regulations surrounding bullbars witnessed a significant event in 2014, sparking both attention and concerns among 4X4 owners like us.

The NSW Police conducted a comprehensive crackdown targeting non-compliant bullbars during this period. The operation aimed to address safety and compliance issues associated with the growing number of non-compliant bullbars, but it put many brands under a spotlight.

The “crack down” led to a notable development – a Ministerial Order issued by the NSW Minister for Roads and Freight. The order introduced a two-year grace period specifically for bullbars falling within a “reasonable tolerance” of the existing Australian Standard for bullbars.

Essentially, this grace period allowed for an adjustment period, acknowledging the diversity of bullbar designs and providing an opportunity for compliance.

While the Ministerial Order offered a temporary reprieve for some types of bullbars, it’s not indicative of new overarching laws concerning bullbars in New South Wales.

As of the present day, outside of this Ministerial Order, there haven’t been any sweeping legislative changes affecting the use of bullbars in NSW.

This means the existing regulations and standards, including Australian Standard AS4876.1-2002 and relevant Australian Design Rules, continue to govern the design, construction, and use of bullbars in New South Wales.

Legalities of 5-Post Bullbars in Australia

Contrary to popular belief, there is no inherent illegality associated with 5-post bullbars.

The legality of 5-Post bullbars puts in question their adherence to safety standards set out in Australian Standard AS4876.1-2002 and the Australian Design Rules.

Authorities, including the NSW Police, have said themselves the number of posts on a bullbar does not make it illegal. Instead, it’s compliance with the standards determines whether a bullbar is considered legal or not.

When you buy any bullbar, 5-Post or otherwise, you must ensure it’s compliant. The manufacturer or retailer should be able to confirm this to you, and if they can’t, don’t buy it.

5-post bullbars in Australia can be completely legal if they meet regulations and standards. It’s as simple as that.

What to do if you get a Defect Notice for your Bullbar

If you get a Defect Notice for your bullbar then this can be frustrating, so it’s important to understand the situation fully. In most cases, Defect Notices for bullbars relate to road safety, which is something we all want to achieve.

Firstly, if you find yourself issued a Defect Notice for your bullbar, it’s essential to remain calm.

Get in touch with the customer service department of your brand of bullbar, and they will likely offer guidance and assistance. This may be the first legality issue you’ve come across with your bullbar, but it’s likely the manufacturer has dealt with others who have had the same issue. Compliance laws in Australia can sometimes be hazy and vary from state to state, only made worse by varying interpretations of laws and regulations.

Customer service teams can often provide valuable insights, address concerns, and offer information to help you resolve the issue(s) outlined in the Defect Notice.

Remember, addressing a Defect Notice promptly and seeking assistance is your best way forward, helping to make sure your vehicle remains in compliance with safety regulations. This is also about your safety and the safety of others on the road.

Stay calm, stay informed, act responsibly, and leverage the resources available to navigate through any compliance-related challenges you face.

Feel free to mention the details of your bullbar-related Defect Notice in the comments below. If we can help you with advice we will, or your comment may help another Aussie facing a similar issue.

Mixed Messages & Confusion With Bullbar Legalities from State to State

Many countries have national rules and regulations, but in Australia that’s unfortunately not the case. Bullbar legalities vary from state to state, which means a 5-post bullbar may be fine while you’re in NSW, but you run into problems when you cross the border into Victoria.

That’s just the way it is, unfortunately, for now.

Acknowledging this confusion is your first step towards finding clarity. Different states often communicate varying information, creating uncertainty for those seeking to adhere to bullbar regulations. It can be a nightmare for bullbar manufacturers, and a nightmare for us.

Media reports, anecdotal information, and regional variations in enforcement practices all contribute to the mixed messages that circulate among driver communities and social media groups, which means we rarely know what’s fact and what isn’t.

A harmonised set of guidelines and standards across all states would significantly reduce confusion and ensure that drivers are well-informed, regardless of location. This would not only simplify the decision-making process for us as car owners, but would likely increase overall road safety.

What are your thoughts?

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