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Motorcycle nuisance

South Tyneside Council, Northumbria Police and South Tyneside Homes are working together to deal with motorcycle nuisance in the borough.  

Riding on open land, parks, rights of way and footpaths is almost always illegal. Even on private land, permission is required from the owner of the land.

Report motorcycle nuisance

If you are affected by motorcycle nuisance please help us to prevent it by reporting it:

  • Northumbria Police: 101
  • Community Wardens: (0191) 420 3713

It is helpful if you can let us know:

  • Details of the motorcycle (e.g. number plate, make, model and colour and where it is stored)
  • Details of the rider (e.g. name, address and what they are wearing)
  • When and where the motorcycle is being used (e.g. days, times and routes)

Any information will be treated in the strictest confidence.

What can we do?

  • Seize the motorcycles and have them destroyed
  • Take tenancy enforcement action against the owner of the motorcycles
  • Use our Public Spaces Protection Order to issue fixed penalty notices

Riding a motorcycle on a road

To be used on a public highway, motorcycles must be constructed to a specific standard and are required to have:

  • A valid MOT
  • Insurance
  • Road tax and
  • Be registered

The rider must also:

  • Be aged 17 or over
  • Hold a valid driving license and
  • Wear a suitable crash helmet

What is 'a road'?

As well as the carriageway, footpaths alongside roads are part of the road. Pushing a motorcycle along the footpaths means it is on the road.

    The law

    Under the Police Reform Act, the police can seize motor vehicles that are used to cause alarm, distress, or annoyance to members of the public. Repeat offenders are warned that they may have their motor vehicle taken from them and disposed of and they may have to pay the cost of recovery. 

    Parents are warned that they may be liable to pay a recovery fee on any cycle seized from their child. Think twice before you let your child out on that motorbike!

    You can only ride an off road motorbike legally if it is on private land and you have the land owner's permission. Land owned by the local council is not classed as private land. In law off road motorbikes are regarded as motor vehicles which must be constructed to a specific standard in order to be ridden on a public highway. Most off road motorbikes do not meet this standard. Visit the Department for Transport website: www.dft.gov.uk for more information.

    Owners can be prosecuted as well as riders

    If parents are the owners of a motorcycle, it can be classed as 'aiding and abetting' if they permit the illegal use of a motorcycle. Even if a parent buys petrol for an illegal motorcycle, they can be aiding and abetting the rider to commit offences. 

    Owners can be prosecuted in addition to riders.

    Riding an off road motorbike on the road

    In addition to meeting construction requirements, off road motorbikes also need the following if they are to be used on a public highway:

    • DVLA registration
    • Road tax
    • A valid MOT
    • Fitted with lights
    • Fitted with registration plates
    • Type approval

    The rider must also:

    • Be aged 17 or over (or 16 if the vehicle meets the definition of a moped)
    • Hold a valid driving license
    • Have valid motor insurance
    • Wear suitable safety equipment (e.g. a motorbike helmet)

    More information

    If the below conditions are not met, it is illegal to ride an off road motorbike on the road. If you own or ride one of these vehicles it is your responsibility to know the law. Failure to comply is a criminal offence and may result in prosecution under the Road Traffic Act 1988.

    • Driving licence - a driving licence is needed to ride a motorcycle. Learners cannot ride a motorcycle over 125cc until passing a test, unless over 21 years of age and on a Direct Access Course.
    • Insurance - a motorcycle needs insurance to be in any public place, whether the motorcycle is being ridden, or only being pushed.
    • Test certificate - test certificates are needed for motorcycles over three years old. This applies if the motorcycle is being ridden, or only being pushed, on a road.
    • To be on a road, a motorcycle needs a registration number. It also needs a tax disc, even if it is only being pushed.
    • Being street-legal - to be on a road, a motorcycle needs all the usual equipment to be fitted and working. For example, lights, brakes, brake lights, horn, speedometer, good tyres etc. These are required even if the motorcycle is being pushed.

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