I told her to hop on the back as there was a petrol station up the road. She duly did but instead of straddling the seat she thought it would be funny to ride side saddle and shout “I’m a lady don’t you know.” We chuckled when the blue lights lit me up.

The police officer was a friendly chap but gave us a stern talking to about my friend, ‘the lady’ riding side saddle. I didn’t want to get nicked (my mum would go mental!) so I was super polite. However, so long as there’s a seat for two, is it really illegal?


I now have images of a scene from Black Beauty, albeit that your trusty stead is a Superdream!

While I have no doubt your friend is a ‘lady’ the policeman was correct and riding side saddle is illegal by virtue of s.23 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. The law basically states it’s an offence to carry a passenger “otherwise than sitting astride the motor cycle and on a proper seat securely fixed to the motor cycle behind” the rider’s seat.

If you hadn’t encountered a friendly copper you as the rider could have got done. The punishment would be three penalty points and a fine of up to £1000.

Andrew Prendergast

Motorcycle Monthly May 2017