I bought my 14-year-old son a mini-moto recently. He uses it on some local land that’s owned by a farmer, who has no particular problem with mini-motos being used on his land. He takes the view that so long as the farm is kept tidy, which the lads who ride the mini-motos do, he has no problem with him using the land.

However, my son has been brought back, not quite in hand cuffs, but not far off it, by an extremely agitated policeman. He told me he’s going to crush my son’s mini-moto because it is an unlawful vehicle and he has being using it on the road. He said that my son rode the bike home and he has been spotted doing it and has video footage of him doing it from his police car. He showed me the videos, and yes, I have seen my son on his mini-moto riding back about 60 yards on public roads. I am also told that my son is going to be prosecuted for riding a ‘carriage’ on the pavement. I thought we lived in the 21st century, and his vehicle cannot be a carriage because it has not got a horse attached to it. Can the police crush my son’s mini-moto, and can they nick him for riding a carriage?

Anon, email

The short answer is that if your son has been using an uninsured ‘carriage, which has a specific meaning under Section 72 of the Highways Act 1835 and Section 185 (under the Road Traffic Act 1988), then it is an illegal act. There is a now well established
law that states that if a person rides any form of wheeled contraption, whether powered or not, it is a carriage, and any machine, vehicle or conveyance that carries a person along in a way that stops them from having to walk, could be classified as a carriage, and so is, in law, a carriage.

We are seeing more of these questions coming through to us because the police regard mini¬motos as somewhat anti-social. The police certainly do have the powers to crush uninsured and unlicensed vehicles on the carriageway and unfortunately your son’s mini-moto was uninsured, unlicensed, untaxed, did not have an MOT and could not have an MOT as it was not type-approved for use on the road. Breaking any one of those five laws gives the police the right to crush the mini-moto. I think it is a bit harsh that the police are prosecuting your son under the 1835 Highways Act, but the fact of the matter is that they can, and as a matter of law your son’s mini-moto is a carriage.

Andrew Dalton

Fast Bikes November 2011 – Your carriage awaits…

Andrew Dalton has been writing articles for Fast Bikes Magazine for a considerable period and have condensed what we believe are the most useful articles to you. White Dalton Motorcycle Solicitors deal with personal injury claims and our sister company, Motor Defence Solicitors, deal with any road traffic offences.