British Motorcyclists Federation, the UK’s most influential
rider lobby group, have added a ‘Know Your Rights’ guide
to its handy, pocket-sized series of ‘Fast Facts’ cards.
Designed as a quick guide to a rider’s rights, the latest
BMF card sets out the procedure that should be followed in various
instances from reporting an accident to how to respond to a police
stop check. It also explains the procedure that is applied in safety
The new card has been brought
out in response to an increase in enquiries covering personal rights
issues, highlighted by the BMF’s highly successful Biker Legal
Line service. The ‘Know Your Rights’ card supplements
‘Fast Facts For You’ and ‘Fast Facts For Your
Bike’, launched last year as the first in a series of free
information cards aimed at clarifying the myriad of regulations
facing today’s biker.
While the first cards tackled
questions regularly asked by members and non-members alike on such
topics as the correct legal markings for exhaust systems; the current
standard for helmets and the current limit for tinted visors, typical
enquiries this year have covered who should have reported what and
to whom in a accident situation; the law regarding personal injury
or property damage and the rules applying in the increasingly common
practice of police stop checks.
All these questions and more are
addressed in the series of Fast Facts cards 1, 2 and 3. Fast Facts
is a series of information cards that aim to simplify the laws concerning
biking. Keep them with you whenever you ride.
For a set of these cards
send an SAE to: The BMF, Fast Facts 123, 14-16 Briton Street, Leicester
are compulsory and must be marked BS 6658 1985 or UN/ECE 22-05.
A sidecar driver and pillion passenger must wear a helmet but sidecar
passengers do not require a helmet. Trike regulations are more complicated.
A trike rider or passenger may have to wear a helmet and some may
even have to wear seat belts depending on vehicle licensing classification.
Such things as weight of the machine and whether you sit astride
or in a seat are factors that have to be considered. You should
check with the DVLC to find the correct classification.
Visors To be legal they must conform
to BS 4110, which ensures a level of scratch resistance and permits
up to 50% light transmittance. Any other visors are illegal but
sunglasses, tear-offs and inner wrap-arounds are permitted.
Pillion Passengers: No age limit
but MUST be able to place both feet on the pillion
Protective body armour: Effective
body armour should carry a CE marking. The most common is EN 1621-1
covering the impact performance and dimensional requirements of
armour designed to protect elbows, hips, knees and shoulders. These
work by reducing the peak force on the rider's body and are generally
fitted into the clothing. Although in draft form, there are currently
no agreed standards for back protectors.
Protective clothing: The following
standards are intended for professional riders, but clothing made
to these standards will be available to all road riders: Clothing:
Standard BS EN 13595-1: 2002 or EN 13595-1 Boots: Standard BS EN
13634: 2002 or EN 13634 Gloves: Standard still in draft form.
Penalties: Fixed penalty speeding is categorised
by the courts as follows:
- SP10 = Excess speed – Goods vehicles
- SP20 = Excess speed – Non goods/ passenger
- SP30 = Excess speed – Private cars and
- SP40 = Excess speed – Passenger service
vehicles i.e. buses
- SP50 = Excess Motorway speed limit
SP60 = Excess miscellaneous speeding offences
i.e. exceeding temporary speed restriction
Note: These are the codes that appear as endorsements on driving
licences in relation to speeds. They are not the same as the
police codes on your ‘ticket’, but they are the
ones that appear on your licence. The two differing codes should
not be confused.
Drink/driving or a dangerous driving
conviction will result in an automatic 12-month ban, for repeat
offenders or high alcohol levels it may be longer. Two drink driving
offences within 10 years could get you a three-year ban. Doctors
are now able to take blood to test from unconscious or incapacitated
drivers without their consent.
Totting Up: Under the totting
up scheme, points generally last for three years; however, after
disqualification, you cannot apply for a new licence until the end
of the fourth year. In other circumstances, points can last longer,
as follows: 11 years from date of conviction for offences relating
to drink /drugs and driving, such as causing death by careless driving
whilst under the influence of drink/ drugs and causing death by
careless driving then failing to provide a specimen for analysis.
4 years from date of conviction for reckless/ dangerous driving
and offences resulting in disqualification
must show a white light or yellow tint, any other colour is illegal.
The headlight bulb must not be above 55 watts but there is no limit
to the number of headlamps.
Indicators are not a legal requirement
but if fitted they must work.
Numberplates must conform to BS
AU 145a or from 1st September 2001, to BS AU 145d: Must have black
characters on yellow background Only the authorised font, or something
substantially similar is permitted.
Characters: Height: 64mm. Width: 44mm. Stroke width: 10mm. Space
between characters: 10mm. Space between groups: 30mm. Top, side
and bottom margin: 11mm. Symbols/Emblems: the Euro Stars with GB
is the only permitted symbol on UK numberplates. New plates from
1st September 2001 must carry the makers’ name/ trademark
or other means of ID of maker, plus name and postcode of supplying
outlet. Black background plates with white or silver letters are
only legal on pre 1st January 1973 machines. Character size as above.
Silencers All replacement silencers/exhausts
must, for road use, be marked as follows: EU e mark or UNECE
E mark e.g. e11 or E11 and an approval number e.g. 007 or BS
AU 193/T2 or BS AU 193a:1990/T2 or BS AU 193a 1990/T3 or an
international mark that is equivalent to BS or Pre 1985 MC Only.
If marked NOT FOR ROAD USE it is not road-legal.
- Speedometers must be marked in miles per hour.
A conversion sticker on the face of the speedometer for kph clocks
- VED (Tax) Discs It is not sufficient for your
bike just to be taxed, the tax disc must also be displayed in
front of the rider on the nearside.
VED (Tax) Exemption All vehicles first registered
on or before 1st January 1973 are exempt road fund duty.
Tyres Must have tread depth of at least 1mm
across three-quarters of the breadth of the tread and in a continuous
band around the entire circumference. (This is the minimum legal
requirement but be guided by your bike handbook for recommended
replacement wear levels.)
rights - accidents
If you are involved in a road accident while riding and: –
Someone is injured – Damage occurs to another vehicle or property
– An animal is injured or killed
You must: – Stop and remain
at the scene for a reasonable period – Give your vehicle and
personal details ie registration number of vehicle, name and address
and details of the vehicle owner, if different, to anyone who has
reasonable grounds for requesting these details – If you do
not give your details at the time of accident, you should report
the accident to the Police as soon as is reasonable and, in any
case, within 24 hours
In cases of injury to another
person, you must also: – Produce your insurance certificate
at the scene, if required to do so by anyone with reasonable grounds
If you do not, you must: –
Report the accident to the Police as soon as is possible and, in
any case, within 24 hours – Produce your insurance certificate
to the Police within 7 days
You should also report any accident
to your insurance company as soon as is reasonable to do so.
All Police Forces tend to conduct breathalyser tests after serious
road accidents. Refusing a breathalyser is an offence that carries
If you have been involved in an accident that wasn’t your
fault, call the BMF Biker Legal Line on 08000 856 243
Make sure you get the names and address of witnesses, details of
vehicles and people involved, and report the accident to the police.
Stop checks- What the Police
expect from you:
- Stop when required to by a uniformed police
officer. Ensure you pull over in a safe place
Wait by your machine and let the Police Officer approach you
- Be civil with the Police Officer. Don’t
forget he/she has discretion in regards to offences you may be
reported for or fined. If you conduct yourself in a civil manner,
you may simply get a warning
- If you are not carrying your driving
licence, insurance certificate or MOT, the Officer may issue you
with a notice requiring you to produce these documents at a named
Police Station within 7 days , named Police Station within 7 days
What you should expect from the Police:
- You should be treated in a civil manner by
- If you have committed an offence, the Officer
should explain this and then take one of the following courses
- Report you for Summonsing
- Issue you a fixed penalty ticket
- Issue a vehicle rectification notice
Although the Officer has the right
to seize your property as evidence of an offence, but not damage
it. If your property is seized as evidence e.g. number plate or
exhaust system consider your position before proceeding in light
of further offences being committed.
If you feel you have been
unfairly treated, you should:
- Make a note of the Officer’s badge number
and station then:
- Make a formal complaint by contacting (in person
or by telephone) the relevant Police Station. Ask to speak to
the Duty Inspector and advise them of your complaint.
Prosecution by fixed or mobile safety (speed) cameras:
In circumstances where an oral notice of prosecution is not given
at the time of the offence then a summons or written notice of
prosecution (NIP) must be served within fourteen days.
The Road Traffic Offenders Act
1988 states that a failure to comply with the 14 day requirement
is no bar to conviction if a court is satisfied that the name and
address of the accused or of the vehicles registered keeper could
not be ascertained in time to serve a summons or NIP.
If you are in any doubt whatsoever
in regard to a prosecution involving a safety camera offence then
seek legal advice.