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Can I legally ride one handed?

Whilst out riding with a friend we got pulled over by the police. Apparently the policeman us riding with one hand on the handle bars and gave us a warning out of courtesy that this was not safe and we could prosecuted for a riding offence if we were caught doing it again. The officer was also a biker so he was very friendly. I was not aware that it is against the law to ride one handed – was he correct?

Michael, Gosport



There is no law that says you can’t ride one-handed. However, if a police officer believes there are other factors that do constitute the offence of ‘not being in proper control’ (which is found at S41 D of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and Regulation 110 Construction and Use Regulations 1986) you could find yourself being prosecuted. Mobile phone use by road users is covered by the same legislation.

Therefore riding one-handed is fine so long as you remain in proper control. If you are not then you could be found to have committed an offence. A police officer could argue in court that resting your one hand anywhere else other than the handlebars for an extended period of time seriously hampers your ability to brake and, for example, swerve around a sudden obstacle.

The penalty for this offence at a Magistrates Court is a maximum fine of £1,000 and 3 points on your driving licence with the discretion to disqualify.



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