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Title: Can cops pull me for riding one handed?

Date: 04 November 2015


In the past I¹ve been told off by the traffic cops for riding with only one hand on the bars, because apparently I¹m ‘not in proper control of the machine¹. Is it an offence to ride like that? If so, what¹s the point of cruise control where you can let go of the twistgrip without the throttle shutting off?

Colin Gray, Castle Cary, by email


There is no law that says you can’t ride one-handed. After all there are plenty of arm amputees enjoying their riding on our roads. But if a police officer believes there are other factors that do constitute the offence of ‘not being in proper control’ (S41 D of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and Regulation 110 Construction and Use Regulations 1986) it could get to Court. Mobile phone use by a driver is covered by the same legislation.

So riding one-handed is fine, but if you are fiddling with a pannier catch and the bike is weaving all over the road, then you could be committing an offence. Getting a pull for a wheelie falls under the same legislation (and can often lead to a dangerous driving charge) as the bike is not being ridden as it should be, with most of the bike’s braking capability up in the air.

Relaxing your throttle grip with cruise control on is one thing, but a police officer could argue in Court that resting your right hand anywhere else than the handlebar for an extended time seriously limits your ability to brake and swerve around a sudden obstacle.

The penalty for this offence is Level 3 fine, maximum of £1,000 and 3 points with a discretionary disqualification.

Section 41D in full is……A person who contravenes or fails to comply with a construction and use requirement — (a) as to not driving a motor vehicle in a position which does not give proper control or a full view of the road and traffic ahead, or not causing or permitting the driving of a motor vehicle by another person in such a position, or (b) as to not driving or supervising the driving of a motor vehicle while using a hand-held mobile telephone or other hand-held interactive communication device, or not causing or permitting the driving of a motor vehicle by another person using such a telephone or other device, is guilty of an offence.

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