Details of the legal requirements of owning a motorcycle, using it on roads, other public places, and on private land.

Several people have been killed in the South Yorkshire area during recent years, riding illegal motorcycles. A person who rides a motorcycle dangerously and injures or kills someone else - a passenger, another road user or pedestrian - faces possible imprisonment.

Complaints have been received within our borough about the activities of illegal motorcyclists. We are working in partnership with South Yorkshire Police and Doncaster Community Safety Partnership to combat the problem of illegal motorcycling.

Motor vehicles

Remember: crash helmets are required by law. They can save the life of the wearer 

Under the Police Reform Act, the police now have new powers to seize motor vehicles that are used to cause alarm, distress, or annoyance to members of the public! Repeat offenders are warned that they may have their motor vehicle taken from them and disposed of and they may have to pay the cost of recovery. 

Parents are warned that they may be liable to pay £150 recovery fee plus £20 per day storage costs on any cycle seized from their child. Think twice before you let your child out on a motorbike.

Damage to land, parks and playing fields

You could commit the offence of criminal damage or be sued in the County Court for the value of the damage. For example, a school playing field may be damaged because of ruts left behind by motorcycles. If you, as the rider, have damaged it, you could be arrested and have to pay for the damage to be repaired if the owner sues you.

Council land

It is against local bye-laws to ride a motorcycle on council-managed land. If any rider commits an offence, that person shall be liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding £100 (soon to be increased to a maximum £1000 fine).

Public places other than roads

If a motorcycle is ridden on land such as parks, footpaths and fields, without permission, the rider commits an offence of 'riding on land other than a road'. Noise nuisance offences are applicable when riding on such land.

Private land

Without the landowner's permission, you can commit the offence of 'driving a motor vehicle on land other than a road'. Noise nuisance offences are applicable when riding on private land.

What do we consider part of a 'road'?

As well as the carriageway, footpaths alongside roads are part of the road. Pushing a motorcycle along the footpaths means it is on the road.

Please note

If parents are the owners of a motorcycle, it can be classed as 'aiding and abetting' if they permit the illegal use of a motorcycle. Even if a parent buys petrol for an illegal motorcycle, they can be aiding and abetting the rider to commit offences. Owners can be prosecuted in addition to riders.

Supplying petrol

Petrol must not be supplied to a person under the age of sixteen, and petrol must be supplied in a suitable container.

  • illegal motorcycling can be fatal 
  • it can be expensive in fines 
  • your motorcycle may be confiscated
  • it can lead to imprisonment

Reporting noise and nuisance motorbikes

If you have any information about persons committing these offences, or where they live, please contact us on 01302 736000. Any information will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Noise caused by nuisance motorcycles can be a particular concern for residents. Our public health department have powers under the Environmental Protection Act to take action. Following service of a legal notice, further offences would result in the motorbike being seized and a prosecution of the rider, even when the bike has been ridden on private land with the owner's permission. This can result in a fine of up to £5,000 and the motorbike being crushed.

Legal motorcycling

Driving Licence - a driving licence is needed to ride a motorcycle. Learners cannot ride a motorcycle over 125cc until passing a test, unless over 21 years of age and on a Direct Access Course.

Insurance - a motorcycle needs insurance to be in any public place, whether the motorcycle is being ridden, or only being pushed.

Test Certificate - test certificates are needed for motorcycles over three years old. This applies if the motorcycle is being ridden, or only being pushed, on a road.
To be on a road, a motorcycle needs a registration number. It also needs a tax disc, even if it is only being pushed.

Being Street-legal - to be on a road, a motorcycle needs all the usual equipment to be fitted and working. For example, lights, brakes, brake lights, horn, speedometer, good tyres etc. These are required even if the motorcycle is being pushed.

For further information, please contact us: 

Last updated: 28 November 2018 12:29:06

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