Protrusions on vehicles

Some vehicles are fitted with badly designed bull bars with pointed corners and sharp edges, and some are fitted with accessories which protrude beyond the bumper bar or bull bar.

Protrusions and some methods of attachment to the front of vehicles present a danger to other road users and increase the likelihood of injury or damage to a person or another vehicle making contact with the vehicle. An accessory or bull bar fitted to a vehicle must therefore be attached in a manner that does not affect the continuing compliance of the vehicle with the Australian Design Rules and Regulations.

This information covers only the roadworthiness requirements for equipment fitted to the front of vehicles. These roadworthiness requirements and the relevant construction safety standards will be reviewed after Standards Australia completes a proposed Australian Standard on bull bars.

Fitting of accessories

Of particular concern are the ways in which items protruding forward of the bumper or bull bar are fitted eg. accessory fittings attached to the exterior of a vehicle such as brackets supporting aerials and lights.

Also of concern are bull bars that have sharp edges and pointed corners or bull bars fitted with accessory attachments such as fishing rod holders, lights and mounting brackets for such fittings, and any fittings that affect the field of view of the driver.

For safety reasons it is illegal to have:

  • Any attachment or protrusion projecting forward of bull bar or bumper bar which presents a danger to other road users
  • Note that any aerials or winches which cannot meet this requirement should be removed after the operational need is completed. Emergency and rescue (State Rescue Board-accredited rescue vehicles, mines rescue) vehicles may have a constant operational need for this equipment and will not be rejected. Minor protrusions forward of the bull bar or bumper bar such as a spotlight, or fairleads required for the operation of a winch, where the mounting brackets do not protrude, are permitted providing the protrusion is the minimum necessary and is blunt or protected to minimise any risk of injury to vulnerable road users
  • Any sharp or ragged edge or corner on a bull bar which could cause injury to a person coming into contact with the bull bar
  • Any bull bar or other attachment that does not allow the driver a view of the road and of the traffic to the front and side of the vehicle so that the driver can drive the vehicle safely.

Is your bull bar legal?

Bull bars used in NSW must comply with the Technical Specification: Requirements for vehicle frontal protection systems fitted to light vehicles. For further information on bull bar compliance, including the Technical Specification, see the Centre for Road Safety’s bull bars web page.

Reference to this Technical Specification is now included in Schedule Two of the Road Transport (Vehicle Registration) Regulation 2017, creating a clear and ongoing regulatory framework for the safe use of bull bars in NSW.

For further information on protrusions to the front of vehicles, please contact Roads and Maritime Services Technical Enquiries on 1300 137 302.

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