Rules and Regulations

Rules and Regulations

Different countries will have different road rules and regulations so it’s key to be prepared for wherever you go. These can vary from drink-driving, use of lights, speed limits and carrying children as pillions.

Speed limits are one aspect that will change dramatically; many European roads have higher National Speed Limits on their motorways and dual carriageways. You’ll also be riding on the opposite side of the road to the UK so you will need to be highly vigilant and not slip into normal habits when riding.

Most EU countries require you to be over the age of 18 and hold a full Category A motorcycle licence to legal be allowed to ride on the roads.

For example, there are numerous things you’ll need to have on your person when riding in France.

  • You must carry a set of spare light bulbs
  • You should carry two breathalysers at all times
  • You must carry a hi-vis vest/jacket at all times, including one for any pillions
  • You cannot use a device that detects speed cameras
  • You cannot filter through stationary or slow-moving traffic

Jumping outside of Europe, the rules of the road will change accordingly to whichever country or state you plan to ride in. It’s best to make sure you’ve got a decent understanding of how to prepare your bike and yourself for the ride ahead.

Riding through America, you’ll find different rules and regulations will apply to different states. For example:

In Nevada, you’ll be required to wear eye protection unless your motorcycle is fitted with a windscreen – however if you were riding in California this law would not apply.

Planning to ride through Iowa, by law you’re not required to wear a helmet but you better think twice if you want to ride in Alabama.

General advice for riding abroad

  • Learn the road signs
  • Don’t ride when tired – take a break every two hours
  • Speed limits will vary country to country so cars may approach faster than you’re used to
  • Don’t drink and ride – the legal blood – alcohol limit may be lower than the UK
  • Have a GB sticker clearly visible on your bike
  • Plan a route before you start riding
  • You must always carry your driving licence, passport, insurance certificate and MOT test certificate

Your Great Britain (GB) or Northern Ireland driving licence will cover you when driving around the EU or European Economic Area (EEA); however some countries will require you to have an International Driving Permit too.

You can get an International Driving permit directly from the AA, the RAC or the Post Office and it costs £5.50.

Related Content

Arctic Rider’s Advice 

Gordon has plenty of useful advice and tips from his Arctic ride trip…

Always research where you are riding, what you are required to carry, and the rules of the road, especially speed, filtering, and tread depth.

I’ve linked up with many foreign bike clubs on my travel and local police wherever you go won’t be lenient for your ignorance.

The internet has almost all of the information you need and official government websites are always the safest place to get your information.


Make sure you do plenty of research on your chosen destination before your trip!

More advice on riding abroad right here...

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