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Highway Code Essentials for Riders

May 3, 2022

What you need to know…

As riders, it’s a very good idea to have an understanding of the Highway Code. Most of it is advisory, however there are legal requirements every rider has a duty to know. If you ignore the Highway Code, a court is more likely to deem you at fault in the case of an accident. Therefore, brushing up on your knowledge is worthwhile – you never know when you might need to use it.

When it comes to the Code, you need to look at rules 83-88. These are specifically for motorcyclists and riders of a scooter or moped. There have also been some recent changes to the Code that affect all drivers; we’ll come onto these later.

A rider poses for the camera on his scooter.

Rule 83

On all journeys, riders and any passengers must wear a protective helmet. These must comply with regulations and must be securely fastened to your head.

The only exception to this law applies to followers of the Sikh religion if they wear a turban whilst riding.

Riders should also ensure their visor is clean before setting off for maximum visibility.

Rule 84

Riders are advised to wear eye protectors, however if they do this must adhere to Code regulations. The rule also encourages riders to wear appropriate safety gear when on the road. These include ear protection, jackets, boots and gloves.

Rule 85

This rule is regarding pillion passengers. A pillion is a seat that allows a passenger to sit behind the motorcyclist on the bike.

If you only hold a provisional licence, you must not carry a pillion passenger. Whilst our Piaggio scooters can take passengers, you must be holding a full licence to do so legally.

A rider and his passenger enjoy navigating a turn on a scooter.

Rule 86

Rule 86 concerns visibility when out on the road. A rider has a responsibility to make he or she seen on their journeys. Therefore, the code advises wearing a lightly-coloured helmet, fluorescent clothing, and reflective strips when riding.

Of course, never assume another driver has seen you or will judge your distance and speed perfectly. Take the necessary precautions, make yourself seen, and give yourself the best chance of being safe on the road.  

Rule 87

Riders should wear reflective strips and Hi-Viz jackets when it is dark. The headlights from other drivers will reflect off your clothing, making you more visible at night. It also helps those around judge your speed and distance better.

Rule 88

When maneuvering on a bike, you need to take extra caution. Always look behind you and to your sides before initiating any maneuver and make sure to check your mirrors.

It might seem obvious but keep an eye out for pedestrians. When crossing the road and walking near parked cars, they can often be quite unpredictable.

Be wary of drivers merging lanes or pulling out from junctions; don’t assume they have seen you. Always try and position yourself so the drivers in front can see you in their mirrors. In slow-moving traffic, keep your speed down when filtering through it; mainly, just be aware of your surroundings.

A rider moving quite fast on his scooter.

Latest Updates

There’s been many updates to the Highway Code quite recently – you may have read about them here. Here’s the essentials to know as a rider.

Hierarchy of Road Users

Essentially, this means the bigger and heavier your vehicle is, the more responsibility you have for taking care of others on the road. It’s quite common for the Code to group motorcycles and scooters with cars, however this new hierarchy actually puts riders in the more vulnerable group of road users.

“Everyone suffers when road collisions occur, whether they are physically injured or not. But those in charge of vehicles that can cause the greatest harm in the event of a collision bear the greatest responsibility to take care and reduce the danger they pose to others”.

“None of this detracts from the responsibility of ALL road users to have regard for their own and other road users’ safety”.

The Dutch Method

This is the new method of safely opening car doors which will provide more safety for all riders. Developed in Holland, the system involves opening the door with hand opposite to the door you’re opening e.g., the driver of a car opening his door with his left hand. This makes the driver turn and look before exiting the vehicle, therefore there is more chance they will spot an oncoming bike.

Not necessarily a rule for riders to follow but one that directly affects them.

A diagram showing the Dutch method of opening doors.

Other updates

Road users should give way to more vulnerable traffic. This means priority for pedestrians, even those waiting to cross at junctions that you’re turning into/out of.

The updates also say you shouldn’t cut across cyclists, horse-riders or horse-drawn vehicles when turning into/out of a junction if you’re on a bike or in a car.

Specifically mentioning motorcycles/scooters, new guidance states that “extra care should be given when overtaking motorcyclists in bad weather and night”.

For riders looking to overtake cyclists, the code specifies giving at least 1.5 metres at speeds up to 30mph.

It also states that drivers should not pull up alongside riders waiting at junctions, and instead should position themselves behind them even if the rider is close to the curb.

In Conclusion…

At Wheels to Work, we want our riders informed and safe out on the road. Hopefully, this short guide for riders on the Highway Code and its recent updates has given you all the information you are looking for.

As mentioned, laws are defined by “must” and “must not” however much of the Code is advisory. It’s worth knowing about and following, especially as it can be used against drivers and riders if an accident ever occurs.

You can purchase the Highway Code in bookstores or online at this link.

The Official Highway Code logo.

Wheels to Work

Are you looking for a way to get back to work? Do you need an affordable and convenient transport solution?

Wheels to Work provides 50cc and 125cc scooter hire in Northants, Bucks, Beds, Berks, Warks, Leics and Oxon to support you getting to and from your place of work.

If transport is restricting you actively seeking employment, training, or an apprenticeship, or you work anti-social hours, then hiring a scooter gives you independence and opportunity.

Training and protective clothing can be provided with the scooter too.

For further details, please call 01327 857213 or email info@wheelstowork.net. If you’d like to go ahead and apply, click here.

The Wheels to Work logo.