Within about five minutes I was contacted by a chap who wanted to come round for a look. We bounced messages back and forth some and arranged a time. He seemed like a nice enough I fella. I messaged him beforehand that I wouldn’t let him out on the bike if he wasn’t insured. He duly agreed and said he would bring the insurance certificate with him.

When he rocked up, we had a cuppa, I took a photo of the insurance certificate (which did say he was allowed to ride other bikes not belonging to him) and off he toddled for a test ride. However, about 30 minutes later the old bill turned up as he had nearly run someone over on a pedestrian crossing in front of them. Idiot.

The result of that is he is getting done for careless driving. That’s his problem. The problem I have is the old bill are looking at doing me for letting him ride the bike with no insurance. Apparently, he wasn’t actually insured at all. Am I in trouble? I have spoken to the buyer since and he told me he had mocked up the certificate on a laptop so I would let him out on the bike.


The Police will likely want to talk to you, but you are not guilty of an insurance offence from what you have said. There is the offence of ‘permitting’ someone to ride your motorbike without insurance under s.143 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. However, there is well established case law (Newbury v Davis [1974 R.T.R. 367]) that you did not ‘permit’ him to use the bike uninsured because you made it an ‘express condition’ that he was insured.

You have the messages and a photograph of the certificate of insurance to evidence that (Do not delete these and save them). Whilst it transpired his certificate was fake, it is neither here or there as far as you are concerned. You did everything right. However, the buyer may be in a whole heap of trouble for faking the certificate and forgery offences can carry a custodial sentence.

Andrew Prendergast

More Bikes April 2021