Most of the rules and advice given to drivers in chapter 5 apply to motorcyclists.

If you ride a very light machine then some of the advice given to cyclists in chapter 4 may also be useful.

To ride a motorcycle, scooter or moped you must be aged at least 18 and hold a driving licence for a motorcycle.

Safety helmets

You and your passenger must wear a safety helmet of approved design which must be securely fastened.

A safety helmet will not protect you in an accident unless it fits properly. When buying a helmet you should aim for the closest fit that causes no discomfort, even for long periods.

Replace a helmet that has taken a hard knock or shows signs of damage. It is worth considering replacement even though there is no sign of damage on the surface.

Look after your helmet. It can be weakened by accidental knocks when not in use.

It is recommended that you replace a helmet after four years' use, as it becomes weathered and aged in that time, and cannot guarantee full protection in a crash.

Eye protection

Eye protection is the important function of visors and goggles. You are strongly advised to use a visor or goggles at all times when riding. Avoid cheaper plastic visors or goggles that scratch easily and make sure the lenses are shatterproof.

If riding in bright light is uncomfortable then use a tinted visor or goggles, or wear good quality sunglasses if they fit comfortably under your helmet. But do not use tinted helmet visors at night or in conditions of poor visibility.

Look after your goggles and visors with care. They can be ruined by scratches. Keep them clean particularly when riding at night.

Clothing

The clothing you wear when riding should

  • Keep you dry.
  • Keep you warm in cold weather.
  • Be conspicuous.
  • Protect you during an accident.

Gloves should always be worn when riding, to protect your hands in an accident as well as for warmth. In hot weather thin unlined gloves are the most comfortable and provide the best degree of control.

Wear strong shoes or boots.

Wear light-coloured or reflective and fluorescent clothing. If you ride a motorcycle as part of your job ask your employer to provide you with suitable high visibility clothing.

Riding in hot weather in clothing such as shorts or short-sleeved shirts is not advisable as your skin will have no protection in an accident if you fall and slide on the road surface.

Learner riders

If you are a new rider, you must enrol in a designated driving school to attend a compulsory course. Having acquired the basic riding skills in an off-road environment and passed the written test and competence test, you are allowed to apply for a learner's driving licence for motorcycle which enables you to practise on public roads.

You may then ride with or without a licensed driving instructor but do not carry any passenger. When practising on public roads, you must display approved 'L' plates at the front and rear of your motorcycle.

You must not ride at certain times of the day. You must not ride on roads to which the 'No learner driver's' sign applies. Information about these rules can be obtained from any Licensing Office of the Transport Department.