Is side saddle really illegal?

Is side saddle really illegal?

I recently passed my test and have a Honda Superdream 250. I was on my way home when I saw my mate had broken down on her moped after running out of petrol.

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

Disclaimer: The legal advice and statements contained within this/these articles is correct at the time of printing. If you are seeking legal advice after a motorbike accident please contact us to speak directly with one of our lawyers.

Posted by Andrew Prendergast. Last modified: March 23, 2018 at 4:50 pm

Andrew has been riding motorcycles since he was 10 years old and currently rides a ZZR1400 as his daily commuter whether it is sunny or snowing. In addition, he is currently restoring an old Honda CB750 K1. Andrew practices across all areas of motorcycle law, with his practice involving both civil claims and motoring defence work.


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