Motorcycles in lockdown: What can you do? What should you do?

Spring is that time of year when motorcyclists look forward to getting out on the road more. The days are longer, brighter and warmer. This year, however, it comes as the unprecedented Covid-19 crisis has the UK in lockdown. But what does this mean for you and your motorcycle?

From self-isolation to social distancing, lockdown is not only a simple case of “staying at home”. It’s affecting all areas of our day-to-day lives. The insurance experts at Carole Nash understand there could be confusion about what you can, should and must be doing in such uncertain times.

So, here are the answers to some of the questions you might have right now:

Can you use your bike during the lockdown? 

Under current government advice, you can only head out on your bike for the following reasons:

To shop for basic necessities (e.g. food or medicine) as infrequently as possible

To get to and from work – but only if you cannot work from home

To provide care or to help a vulnerable person

To pick up medicines or for medical reasons (e.g. to avoid harm or donate blood)

You can only go out with members of your household and can’t visit biking hotspots to meet up with friends or family there. Not can you travel to second homes, campsites or caravan parks.

Does riding a motorcycle count as daily exercise? 

No. In normal circumstances, riding a motorcycle can be a low-impact form of exercise. But it’s not one of the forms of daily exercises allowed under current government advice.

As a non-essential trip, you may be fined or – in the most extreme cases – even have your bike seized by police.

Are you still covered by your motorcycle breakdown cover? 

Yes. If your motorcycle breaks down during an essential journey, you won’t be left stranded out on the road. The AA has confirmed that “our patrols are still going out to breakdowns across the UK”, while the RAC says “we’re still able to rescue customers”.

Other breakdown services continue to offer their services too – and mechanics will keep at least 2m from you at all times when helping you in line with social distancing rules.

If you can’t ride your motorcycle, should you declare it as ‘off the road’?  

To save money, it might well be tempting make a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) so you no longer have to tax or insure it.

But remember – using your motorcycle even for essential trips with no tax or insurance is illegal. And you must keep it on private land such as a drive or in a garage while it’s ‘off the road’.

See the government’s official SORN advice for more information.

Should you change or cancel your motorcycle insurance cover? 

Unless you need to self-isolate for more than 8-12 weeks, there shouldn’t be any need to change the mileage on your motorcycle insurance cover.

You should also think twice about cancelling insurance unless you’re sure about taking your bike ‘off the road’. But cancelling also means you won’t be covered for fire or theft.

If you are volunteering for the NHS, there is no need to contact or update your insurer either.

How can you keep your motorcycle in roadworthy condition? 

One of the biggest worries you might have is not being able to start your bike after a long period of not being used. To avoid your battery dying and causing permanent damage, you may wish to invest in a battery charger. Order from an online retailer to avoid any non-essential travel.

Can you get your motorcycle serviced during the lockdown? 

You can. Garages can remain open as they provide an important service to those who depend on their vehicles. But you should hold off getting your bike serviced unless it’s essential to do so.

Can you refuel your bike during the lockdown? 

Like garages, petrol stations can stay open during the lockdown. The rules on essential travel are still the same, however.

If riding your bike is essential, one way you can keep safe at petrol stations is to use self-service pumps or even dedicated apps such as Shell’s Fill Up & Go.

What should you do if your MOT is due? 

You don’t need to panic if your MOT is imminent. The government has given all vehicle owners – including motorcyclists – a six-month MOT exemption. This means you can continue to use your bike for essential trips as long as it’s in a safe and roadworthy condition.

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