What To Do When Your Motorbike Breaks Down

Published: December 11, 2014

It’s a nightmare scenario.  You’re moving along nicely on a busy motorway, feeling snug that you can weave your way around heavy traffic much better than other vehicles on the road.  Then without warning, your engine suddenly stops.  You are thrown into panic mode.

Modern motorbikes are so technologically advanced that we sometimes forget they can breakdown too.  While we might have memorised a thing or two about motorbike breakdowns in order to pass our motorcycle tests, few of us have given it any thoughts since.  But winter is a popular time for motorcycle breakdowns, so you really should prepare for this possibility.

What should you do when your bike suddenly stops working?

Pull over to a safe spot

Most likely your initial reaction to the breakdown would be sheer panic.  But as far as you can – stay calm!  Now is the time to pay extra attention to everything around you, and you can only do that if you are able to remain focussed.

The first thing you need to do is find a safe spot to pull over.  Check traffic, signal and start manoeuvring to the side of the road where you want to go.  All the while, you need to keep communicating with other motorists by waving your hand.  If they can clearly see that you are in some bother, they will slow down and give way to you.

Hopefully, you have worn suitable winter gear as you will need to stand on the side of the road for a while.  If you don’t have such gear, then invest in some now.

Call for help

Although you might be a motorcycle enthusiast, it is still not advisable to fix your bike when it breaks down on the side of the road.  Depending on where you are, you face a real possibility of being hit by another car while you are hunched down working your tools.  You are much better off calling for professional help, which means contacting the provider of your breakdown cover.

Don’t have a breakdown cover?  Get one now.  The cost of this is well worth it.  For motorbike insurance products that won’t require you to pay for anything you don’t need, speak to Devitt.

Lights on or off?

Although the question of whether you should have your lights on or off seems a no-brainer, it is actually a tricky one to answer if your breakdown has happened at night.  If you have your lights on after dark, you might find some drivers, especially those who are feeling a little tired, trying to ‘follow’ you, hence smashing into your bike in the process.

However, if you don’t have any lights on, then there is no warning to other drivers that your vehicle is sitting on the side of the road.

In this instance, the best thing you can do probably is to turn on your signal.  That way, motorists can see that something is there.  They will more than likely think that you are turning or changing lanes, which should lead them to slow down or go around you.

Being prepared

Although you can’t predict if and when a breakdown might occur, you can help yourself by planning at the back of your mind what you can do if it does happen.  This way, you have a backup plan.  You will also likely get into good habits like letting a family member know where you are going, carrying around spare mobile phone battery, or having a whistle somewhere just in case.


So remember, if you are unfortunate enough to experience a break down, which most of us probably are; don’t panic! Stay calm and take the right precautions to make sure you are able to overcome the ordeal as quickly and safely as possible!

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