Motorcyclists can fall foul of new hand-held laws

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New laws regarding the penalties for the use of hand-held devices while driving, which came into effect on March 1, also extend to motorcyclists – so be careful what you fiddle with while riding.

The offence applies to any use of any hand-held phone (or other device) including making phone calls, viewing a map, reading a text and viewing files, apps, web pages or social media.  

A part of the legislation that states satnav systems need to be positioned out of the 45º angle of the rider’s view doesn’t actually relate to motorcycles, but exists to cover ignorant drivers who mount their smartphone or satnav in the middle of their windscreen. A spokesperson from the Department for Transport confirmed to MCN that: “This law applies specifically to car drivers and handheld devices obstructing their field of view, although we don’t recommend motorcyclists use their satnavs while riding.”


You can use hands-free phones, satellite navigation systems and two-way radios when you’re driving or riding. Pushing buttons on a phone while it is in a cradle or mounted on the handlebars of a motorbike is not covered by the new offence, provided you don’t hold the device. But if the police think you’re distracted and not in control of your vehicle you could still risk prosecution for failing to have proper control of a vehicle under Regulation 104 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986. If there is an incident, or your vehicle control is judged to be poor as the result of the use of any phone or similar device, this might also justify charges of careless or dangerous driving. So get caught reprogramming your satnav, or fiddling with your GoPro, and you could face even worse penalties.

Jamming your phone up inside your helmet, shouting into it while it’s on speaker in your hand, or taking selfies with your phone while riding are obviously all no-nos, too (we’ve witnessed all these things being done on public roads).

Guilty parties will now be handed six penalty points and a £200 fine if caught using a hand-held device while driving – double the previous fine. This applies to any use by the driver while deemed to be in control of their vehicle, which includes being sat in a stationary traffic jam or at traffic lights.

The new penalties mean drivers caught within the first two years of passing their test risk losing their licence, and being forced to re-take their tests.


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MCN News

By MCN News