Fact vs Fiction: What Is Actually Not Illegal to Do When Riding a Motorbike?

Road differences for riders and drivers can be confusing, as there are different vehicle rules and laws. So if you don’t know the highway code cover to cover, this is the rapid guide for you.

Motorbike finance specialists, Superbike Loans, are putting the record straight, determining fact from fiction, with their quick guide on what’s not illegal to do when riding.


First and foremost on the list is filtering. Also known as lane splitting, filtering involves threading your motorcycle around traffic to continue your journey. Hailed as one of the biggest perks of being a rider, filtering gets a bad rap on the road but – despite popular belief – is not illegal.

Filtering itself is not a criminal offence, so you are free to do so if riders know the potential dangers and take all steps to keep themselves safe.


Another subject of great debate is undertaking, which involves passing a vehicle on the left. However, the undertaking is perfectly acceptable if the vehicle you’re passing is signalling to turn right and there’s room for you to do so or if you’re in a separate lane. There’s traffic holding up the other vehicle.

As with any riding manoeuvre, it should always be done with care; otherwise, you may be at risk of driving without due care and attention (careless driving) or dangerous driving.

Listening to music

Who doesn’t love listening to a good tune on the road? Despite popular belief, it’s not prohibited in the Highway Code to listen or sing along to the music. However, what’s important is that regardless of whether you’re listening to or switching songs, you must remain undistracted and properly controlled by your vehicle. The law leaves it up to each rider to determine what that means for them.

Use of bus lanes

Both riders and drivers will know the allure of an empty bus lane when you’re stuck in standstill traffic. But next time you see a motorcyclist zipping into a bus lane to overtake, check the little blue sign before making a judgement.

Outside of the bus lane’s normal operating hours, motorcyclists are free to use it. But during the lane’s hours, you’ll need to check the blue sign accompanying to see if motorcycles are allowed in them. Generally, most bus lanes can be used by riders, but as their use is controlled by the local authority, this may differ between towns and cities.

Not wearing leathers

Although it’s unknown why a person would opt to ride without them, there is no legal requirement for motorcyclists in the UK to wear any protective equipment. The exception is, of course, a helmet that must meet strict standards. To be considered safe, your helmet must meet either:

  • British Standards BS 6658:1985 (it will carry the BSI Kitemark if so)
  • UNECE Regulation 22.05

But again, we’re not sure why you’d want to opt against protective clothing. Unless you have a burning desire to be without your skin.