Your queries answered in our new law column

Got a legal biking question? We’re here to help, thanks to the good folk at Thompsons Solicitors

We’re continuing our new weekly section of the site, with some proper learned answers to your bikey legal queries. Whether you’ve been knocked off by a pissed-up driver, been stitched up by a dodgy trader, or looking down the barrel of a six-month ban for one speeding ticket too many, we can help – with some clever judicial stuff from Thompsons Solicitors, one of the biggest law firms in the country.

Send your questions to, or post on our Facebook page. We’ll answer as many as we can…

Here's a topical one this week. We've all seen stories online about bike thieves taking people's machines from home, or even being hijacked in the street. But what are the rules on fighting back? If you come across someone trying to nick your bike, what can you do to protect it? If you attack them, would you be arrested? 

David Robinson, motorcycle accident specialist at Thompsons Solicitors gave us the legal view.

"The best thing you can do to protect your motorcycle and prevent theft is take precautions before you leave it anywhere: lock your ignition and remove the key, park in visible, well-lit locations and consider additional locks.

"Discovering someone attempting to steal a bike would be considered a crime and therefore reasonable force could be used in order to prevent it. However, to ‘attack’ a suspected thief could potentially result in your arrest, prosecution and conviction for ‘assault’.

"An assault is committed when a person intentionally applies unlawful force to another person. No injury needs to be sustained for an assault to have occurred and the more serious the injury, the more serious the charge.

"The likelihood of being arrested for assault would depend on the nature of your actions and level of force used. In determining whether defence of your motorcycle was acceptable, the Court would have to decide whether the use of force was necessary and reasonable in the circumstances, based on the facts as you believed them to be true, at the time.

"If you use an excessive amount of force in order to defend your motorcycle, or prevent someone from stealing, it is likely an arrest, prosecution and conviction for assault will follow. Any force used by the person in order to resist the arrest may be lawful – meaning you also risk being injured.

"The least risky answer may be to step back, call 999 and take photos."

There you have it then – you can use 'necessary and reasonable' force depending on the circumstances. So the Claymore mines and .50 Barrett will probably have to go. We'd add to David's advice that a good tracker can help you get your bike back, and modern WiFi CCTV cameras and surveillance software can be a big help too. Big chains and proper ground anchors at home make lots of sense as well.

Thompsons Solicitors specialises in motorcycle accident claims. If you’ve been injured in a crash or collision while on your motorbike, you can contact their experts on 0800 0 224 224.

2018 Honda CB1000R | Visordown Launch Test


Please, try this scenario.
Forty Years ago I bought a bike with an 'aluminium' frame. Last week the frame snapped and sent me into a queue of stationary traffic. I was 100% legal. The bike is written off and tens of thousands of £'s worth of damage has been done to the other vehicles. I have broken both legs and have internal injuries.
Who pays? Who is at fault? Should the manufacturers accept blame because they knew that these frames will eventually snap? Or do I get the onus of responsibility as I should have known that these frames have a finite life and after forty Years and 100,000 miles of wear and tear could fail?

Cheers for that one Andy, intriguing stuff. Will pass on to the briefs and see what they come up with...



Rogerborg's picture

And who doesn't make the bizarre claim that using force to resist a lawful arrest may itself lawful.

Well, it "may", but it's not bloody likely if we're talking some tracksuited pikey. If we're that risk averse, what are doing riding bikes in the first place?

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