Knowing the Law When Riding Abroad

Elenor Fleming

Hopping on your motorcycle and taking off to a foreign country could be an incredibly liberating and exciting experience. However, it is vital to be well organised before you start out on such a big journey. You should bear in mind that it is not as simple as climbing on the motorbike and heading off into the sunset, so with this in mind you must do some research before you reach for your keys. Below are a few things you must do and think about before travelling abroad with your motorbike:

Check the country’s laws

The very first thing you should do is to check online about the rules and regulations of the country you’re travelling to. Most are similar to UK laws with one or two exceptions, so you don’t have to learn the entire Highway Code. Motoring organisations such as the RAC and AA often put these on their websites, along with other handy information, including blood alcohol level indicators, speed limits for various roads and local regulations like the French helmet rule.

What you’ll need to carry with you

It is absolutely vital for you to carry your V5C registration document, your passport, driving license, insurance certificate and identification card. The police forced in some countries may accept copies, but it is always advisable to carry your originals with you. It is also a good idea to make several copies of every document and keep them separately – just in case your some part of your luggage were to get lost. In addition, if the motorbike is not registered under your name, you will be required to have a signed permission letter from the registered owner.

Your passport will be needed when crossing borders and at various European hotels or campsites before receiving any entries to your respective accommodation. It can also act as your identification card, if you have not carried any other photo ID with you.

Just a little point about insurance: even though your policy protects you abroad, it would be very wise to call up your insurance company and inform them of where and when your trip will be taking place. Check your documentation carefully, as some policies state you must inform your insurance provider before leaving the UK. If you don’t notify them of your trip they could dishonor your policy, should you have a problem while you’re away.

Breakdown cover

Besides your insurance cover, ensure that your breakdown cover is updated and allows you to travel abroad. Make sure you’re aware of exactly what is included in the cover you have. You would not want to travel overseas, break down and then not be able to get your motorbike back to your home. It is always good to be safe than have regrets after the event.

Check your motorbike

Before you plan for your trip, it would be a good idea to get your motorbike serviced to ensure its running perfectly. Have the tyre tread checked and see whether they have enough to see you through the expedition. Law enforcement in Europe is very strict on the kinds of tyres and their tread levels so don’t put yourself in a position where you could be fined a considerable amount. You should also ensure that you have adequate time left on your road tax and MOT to cover you during the entire trip.

Avoiding a fine isn’t the only reason to check your bike over though. More importantly, you don’t want to be involved in an accident whiles you’re abroad – especially not one that could have been avoided. However, if you do find yourself and your bike in trouble, don’t hesitate to contact a member of our experienced team.

Bike theft abroad

Most thieves in Europe use a ‘petty’ manner to steal from foreigners, one that rarely involves confrontation or assault. However, there are still precautions to be taken:

  •  Never leave your passport, credit cards and travel papers with your motorbike. You are in trouble without them
  •  If you must leave your motorcycle, leave it where there are a lot of people and lock it to something firm
  •  Select a hotel or campsite with secure parking or a garage
  •  Set your alarm
  •  Take note of who is around you just before you use an ATM machine. Traveller’s cheques are a great alternative to carrying cash
  •  When stopping for lunch or drinks, make sure you park your bike where you can visibly see it

With the above steps and tips in mind, it doesn’t matter if your trip is for one day, weeks or even months. You’re all set for a great road trip abroad, and you’ll be safe in the knowledge than you’re on the right side of the law.

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