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Motorcycle Legal Questions

MOT Questions | Legal Questions | License Questions | Insurance Questions

Q - I received a notice of intended prosecution stating I was speeding, with video evidence to back up the claim. It occurred on the day I emigrated overseas for 6 months. A family member informed me over the phone. I don’t plan to plead anything. If I am away for 6 months, will the charges be dropped?

A - I suspect if you ignore it then you will simply receive a summons to appear in court, unless you are lucky enough too be a victim of an administrative oversight! Your family member should inform the court that you are overseas and it is then likely that the court will order a adjournment until you return. If you write to them and explain you are overseas then they may decide not to proceed, it’s worth a try! It is not an offence that you are overseas for 6 months.

Q - I passed my motorcycle test last November. I have three points on my license from an SP50 (speeding) in my car from May 2004. Will the new driver probation period (where six points within the first two years results in the revocation of the license) apply to me, having passed the car test some years ago?

A - This legislation was put in place to deal with new drivers/riders. It therefore only applies to newly qualified road users, not those who have passed their test prior to the legislation coming into force. In this case you are not a newly qualified road-user.

Q - I’ve just head that you wont be able to buy non-standard numberplates later this year. Is this true? I build custom bikes which look rubbish with a standard plate!

A - It has not been illegal to manufacture or sell non-standard plates as long as it is outlined that they were sold for ‘show use only’. However, the law changes on November 1st 2008 when it will be illegal for ANY company to manufacture these. According to the DVLA website “from 1st November irrespective of any advice provided by suppliers it will be an offence to supply non-standard compliant plates, with a maximum fine of £2500”.

Q - I recently got pulled over and the police accused me of riding with no insurance. I always pay for it up front but when I phoned the insurance company they said it expired a month ago but I did not receive any letter warning me of this, where do I stand?

A - It is your duty and responsibility to ensure that your vehicle is insured. It is very likely that you will be prosecuted, fined six points and a fine on top. You must also disclose this event to your insurance company as it is an offence not to declare a major motoring offence.

Q - I was caught doing 50mph in a 30mph zone by a policeman with a handheld gun standing at the side of the road. I genuinely did not see him and have now received a courtsummons for speeding and failing to stop. What penalties can I expect to receive?

A - Failing to stop is not endorsable but still attracts a fine, the speeding offence carries a penalty of 3-6 points, with disqualification at the court's discretion. If you have a witness or someone else who did not see the policeman then the court may give you the benefit of the doubt but suspect you will receive 6 points and a fine. Good luck!

Q - I was filtering on the outside of stationary traffic recently at approx 20mph ahead of some traffic lights near road works. A car pulled out unexpededly and as a result I could not stop in time and ended up braking my wrist. My solicitor is recommending that I accept a 80/20 split in the driver's favour, the driver argues that a van flashed her to pull out, although this was visible by me. Where do I stand?

A - Each case depends on its own merits BUT a recent case (Farley v Buckley) which sounds very similar to your case. The biker got nothing! It comes down to a judge's decision and the speed all involved vehicles were travelling and their position in the road and obviously any witnesses. Based on the information provided it is likely that you would be between 50-100% to blame. A couter offer of 50/50 would be recommended and see what the other party comes back with.

Q - I was caught speeding by an unmarked police car who followed me from a distance, after i was speeding for approx 1 mile they flashed their lights and pulled me over. Is this allowed?

A - There is no requirement for a police car in pursuit to show their flashing lights or sound their siren, they are there to aid filtering through heavy traffic.

Q - Is it illegal to use an illuminated sat nav whilst riding?

A - Regulation 110 allows a screen to display your position, however if it shows a video image then it's against tyhe law but it doesn't include sat nav.

Q - I have received an NIP as I was reportedly doing 60mph in a 30 zone. Will I have to go to court?

A - If you are caught doing more than 50mph in a 30 zone, then APCO guidelines state that a court summons will be issued, not a £60 fine and three points. The magistrates will then decide on your punishment.

Q - Is it legal for a pilon to wear an iridium visor?

A - No, the same law applies to the rider, there's no excemption for the pillon.

Q - Is it legal to wear headphones while riding?

A - Yes, I would suggest using a system such as Autocom, this can then be plugged into an MP3 player or iPod.

Q - I recently received a Notice of Intent to Prosecute (NIP) for doing 47mph in a 30 limit zone but the time between the speeding offence and receiving the NIP exceeded 14 days. The photot also displayed a different speed of 45mph, can I challege the NIP?

A - The speed discrepancy is not enough on its own to avoid prosecution. You are still required to complete to NIP but could argue that the NIP had expired, thus avoiding prosecution.

Q - What is the legal age to be a pillon on a bike, I am considering taking my ten-year-son on the back of my bike?

A - There is no lgeal requirement, except that they can reach the foot pegs, have adequate support and a grab rail or equivelant. Failure to comply may result in penalty points or disqualification plus a fine up to £5000, so may sure the child can be carried safely.

Q - Is it legal to use a mini moto on a public road?

A - No. All the Petrol Scooters are not intended for use on Public Roads or Paths. They are purely for use on private land or land where you have got permission to use them. To be able to use them on the roads they would need to be SVA approved.

Q - When filtering through traffic recently a car pulled out and caused me to swerve and crash into another stationary car, where do I stand?

A - There is no specific mention of filtering in the highway code, so motorcyclists must observe the rules on overtaking. Failure to observe the Highway Code doesn't mean a motorcyclist is liable to criminal proceedings but it may be used to establish or negate liability. In a landmark case last week (week commencing 13th February 2006) a motorcyclist overturned a long-standing ruling that has robbed many riders of compensation in the past and was the first motorcyclist in the UK to come away with zero blame after he was knocked off his bike whilst filtering through traffic.

Q - I had a motorcycle accident last week, the driver who hit me took responibility at the time but has since changed his plea, what should I do?

A - To give you the best chance of making a successful claim, take the following advice;

  • It is esential to gather as much information as possible, especially where bikes are involved
  • Get the full names, addresses and mobile phone numbers of all potential witnesses to the accident
  • Take accurate measurements of the road, in particular the accident scene
  • With the increased use of camera mobile phones, take as many pictures of the scene to bolster your case, including pictures of debris and the other driver (just in case they are not insured)
  • Pay as much attention to details as possible
  • Document your version of events as soon as possible after the accident
  • Log all injuries and get them treated at the earliest opportunity
  • Keep receipts of all expenditure
  • If necessary, use a lawyer with a good understanding of motorcycle issues
  • Good preparation is essential, especially early on. If you're unable to do so after the accident ask a friend to do it.

Q - Is it compulsory to wear a helmet when using a road-legal quad on the road?

A - In a word No.

Q - Can a pillon use a dark visor on their crash helmet?

A - No, the same rules apply to the rider as they do for the pillon, the pillon is liable if their visor is illegal.

Q - A few weeks ago, I let my friend ride my bike to the shops although he has no licence or insurance. On his return he got flashed by a speed camera. I put his name on the NIP but what are the consequences of our actions?

A - As you knowingly let him use the bike without a licence or insurance you have committed an offence, the penalty of which is similar to a speeding offence. If you give false information on the NIP then you could be found guily of peverting the course of justice, the penatly is an appearance in the Crown Court and a possible custodial sentance. There's no easy way out I'm afraid.

Q - A friend recently received a notice of intended prosecution for serious alleged offences. The registration is correct but he was overseas at the time and has witnesses to prove it. What should he do?

A - You should advise your mate to report the facts to the police immediately. We suggest you write to the Chief Constable explaining the situation and ask how they should respond. If it were to go to court then you (presumably) have a reliable alibi. It is likely that the police will ask for strong evidence that it could not possibly have been her. You should also get witness statements drawn up and signed.

Q - A foreign lorry driver I was overtaking on a dual carriageway without notice changed lanes to the lane I was riding in. He did not signal or look, as a result I took evasive action and ended up sliding down the road. The driver stopped and gave his details to the police. Where do I stand?

A - The UK Green Card Bureau, the Motor Insurer's Bureau (MIB) acts as the insurer of the foreign lorry. The MIB handles claims against foreign drivers if the vehicle is part of the Green Card System and has an MIB agreement. If the foreign vehicle is insured and the insurer has a UK agent, the agent will deal with the claim. We recommend you speak to a bike-specialist solicitor.

Q - I had an accident several months ago and was off work for about three months. Following a police interview, I received a summons to appear in court charged with driving without due care and attention. Is there a time limit when a summons can be issued?

A - The time limit is six months from the date of the alleged offence. Your should use the court apearance as a chance to express the pain you have experienced and resulting stress and hope they are not too hard on you.

Q - I was hit be a driver on the wrong side of the road and ended up in a ditch with three broken ribs and a few bruises. The driver did not stop and there were no witnesses, can I claim compensation for the damage to my bike and my injuries?

A - You can pursue a claim for an unisured loss via the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB), they can be contacted on 01908 830 001. They are funded by a fee which is charged on every motor insurance policy sold within the UK. You must report the accident to the police within 5 days for property damage or 14 days for personal injury, the property claim must then be made within 9 months and the injury claim, 3 years of the incident. It is also advisable to get a doctor's assesment for proof of the injury.

Q - I suffered a motorcycle accident and disagree with the advice given to me by my soilcitor, he informs me that the legal expenses company will not fund a court case as the solicitor suggested that the cause of the accident was 50% my fault?

A - You first port of call would be to oficially complaint to your solicitor as the matter may be settled without having to take further action. If your complaint is still not resolved, you can then contact the Law Society on 0845 608 6565.