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Motorcyclists are one of the most vulnerable road users. Research shows that cornering, overtaking, speeding and fatigue are the most common factors involved in motorcycling accidents. Most at risk are those aged 16 to 19 on mopeds and small engine motorcycles, and riders aged 30 to 39 years on larger machines. Most motorcycle accidents involve a collision with another vehicle, usually a car. There are many accidents in which the motorcyclist is using the road responsibly and safely, but is put at risk because a driver fails to do the same. Drivers need to be aware of the characteristics, needs and vulnerability of motorists.

Advice for motorcyclists- stay in control with this simple advice


  • Riding defensively means riding like you expect the unexpected.
  • Take a 'lifesaver glance' – one last look around before a manoeuvre.
  • Position yourself in the safest and best place to maximise your visibility of potential hazards.


  • Always think ahead and give yourself time to react.
  • Be aware of other road users and get in the right position on the road to anticipate potential hazards and take action.

Stay in control

  • Make sure you are riding at a speed that will allow you to slow down and stop in good time, whatever the road conditions.

There are a number of excellent voluntary courses available for motorcyclists, which are supported by Northumbria Police and our partners such as the ‘Cornering Clinic’, ‘Biker Down’ and ‘Ride Respect’.

We encourage all riders to take part in these courses, regardless of their riding experience or perceived skill level. These courses are designed to assist people to improve their general riding skills, awareness, and an opportunity to learn basic first aid to treat riders injured at the scene of a collision.


What protective clothing must I wear?

By law you must wear a safety helmet that meets British safety standards when riding a motorcycle or moped on the road. There’s no law about wearing other protective clothing, but specialised motorcycle gear is highly recommended and could save your life.

Can I carry a passenger on my motorbike and is there an age limit on being a pillion passenger?

To carry a passenger on a motorcycle, the rider must have a full licence for that class of motorcycle. A motorbike must be equipped with suitable supports or rests for the feet of the pillion passenger. Pillion passengers must be capable of sitting astride a proper seat securely fixed to the motorcycle and be able to hold on effectively. A pillion passenger must wear a suitably constructed safety helmet and the decision to carry a passenger remains with the rider, who is legally responsible for ensuring that the passenger is safely supported. There is currently no minimum legal age for a person to ride pillion, however it is strongly advised that they have parental consent to do so.

Is it legal to cover my motorbike whilst it is on the road?

Any motor vehicle that is on a public road is required to display the registration plates. Covering the vehicle could prevent them from being seen and this could be an offence. It is not illegal to cover the vehicle as long as the registration plates can be seen.

Advice for other drivers

  • THINK! Take longer to look for bikes
  • Keep your distance
  • Check for bikes when changing lanes
  • Check for bikes when turning
  • Motorcyclists might pass you on either side
  • Park safely, check for motorcyclists before opening your car door and ensure your passengers do the same.

THINK! Biker Road Safety Campaign video
THINK! Perfect Day Campaign video
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