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Sidecar Legal Issues


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Sidecar legal FAQ

We often get asked which license is required to ride a sidecar and all sorts of other legal questions. We have some difinitive answers below for you.

Do the new license rules from 19th January 2013, affect sidecar riders?
There are no further regulations specifically affecting sidecar riders.

What motorcycle and sidecar can I ride on a provisional motorcycle license (CBT)?
You will need to display L plates, but if you hold a CBT certificate, you may ride a motorcycle with a sidecar, up to a 0.16Kw / KG power to weight ratio.
As this figure is fairly meaningless to most people, we have provided the following calculator, to help you.

Power to Weight Calculator

Enter your bike’s Brake Horse Power bhp (Converts to kW)
Enter your combined bike and sidecar’s weight in kilograms kg
Power to Weight ratio is kW/kg (The law says no more than 0.16 kW/kg)

(A lightweight sidecar might be in the region of 75kg)
The law does not:
- limit the capacity of the engine
- specify how the weight of the bike is measured.
- refer to the torque (pulling power) of the engine.

So long as you can prove that you are within the power to weight ratio of 0.16 kW/kg you are legal on a restricted or provisional license.
We recommend using the manufacturers claimed specifications for your bike and sidecar.

Can I take my CBT and Full test on a sidecar outfit?
You must be registered disabled or have a note from your Doctor, stating that it would be unsafe for you to take the test on a solo machine, to be allowed to take any practical motorcycle test on a sidecar outfit.

How is the test different for sidecar combinations?
Motorcycle sidecar combinations used by candidates with a physical disability are not required to carry out the manual handling exercises or avoidance exercise. The candidate is however required to carry out the first circuit bend and the controlled stop in addition to the emergency stop exercise and additional time should be allowed for this test to be conducted. The decision on whether to use a left or right circuit should be based on the characteristics of the machine, generally if the sidecar is positioned on the left of the machine a right handed circuit should be used and vice versa. The examiner should remove cones number two and four from the slalom exercise to account for the increased turning circle of combination units, there should normally be no need to alter the two cones used for the figure of eight exercise. The width between the cones associated with the speed measuring device and the width of the controlled stopping box should be increased to 1 ½ times the width of the outfit. The U turn may be carried out from either left to right or right to left side of the area, depending on the configuration of the combination unit some cones may need to be repositioned to take into account the increased turning circle of combination units only. The CBT course should be carried out in the same vein i.e. all reasonable adjustments should be made to accommodate the customer’s circumstances. A note will need to be made on the DL196 at the time of issuing, by the ATB denoting any restrictions. The only time when information should be entered into the category restriction box, is when CBT courses are conducted on a motorcycle sidecar combination, or on a moped with more than two wheels. In these cases, ‘motorcycle sidecar combination/moped with more than two wheels’ should be written in the category restriction box.

Can I ride a sidecar outfit on my car license?
No, you cannot. All car drivers, regardless of when they took their car test, must pass a CBT before riding an outfit on the road.

But it's the same as a trike, isn't it?
No, there are very different rules for trikes, which are a different category of vehicle altogether.

Can I take a pillion or sidecar passenger if I am riding an outfit with a CBT?
No, you cannot take any passengers at all.

I have passed my test with a category 'A' License (restricted), what outfit can I ride?
You are restricted to riding an outfit with a power to weight ratio no greater than 0.16 kW/kg for 2 years from your test date. After that you may ride any sidecar outfit.

What is the law regarding sidecars fitted to the right hand side of a mmotorcycle?
If the motorcycle was first registered before 01/09/1981 you can legally ride it in the uk with a right hand sidecar fitted. After that, it is illegal. If you think this is nonsense, please write to your MP, or join MAG!

Do I need to wear a helmet when riding a sidecar outfit?
Yes, you do, it is registered as a motorcycle. Passengers in the sidecar are not required to wear a helmet.