Unlawful Pillion Riding

You are only allowed to carry a passenger on a motorcycle on a pillion seat securely fitted behind the rider. The minimum requirement is that the pillion can sit astride the seat and put their feet on the footrests. If the pillion is too short/small to achieve this or the motorcycle is not fitted for a pillion then an offence is committed.

It is normally the rider who is prosecuted, although it is possible that the pillion can be prosecuted as though they committed the offence.

Do I need an NIP (Notice of Intended Prosecution) for Unlawful Pillion Riding?

No, there is no requirement for an NIP for unlawful pillion riding.

Alternative Charge

While the law does not say that there have to be pillion footrests which the pillion can reach, it is likely that the Police will decide that it is dangerous if you carry a pillion who cannot reach the footrests or where there are no footrests at all. You could then be looking at a prosecution for dangerous driving.


Fine up to £1,000, 3 penalty points and discretionary disqualification from driving.


To mount a successful Defence you must be able to show that you were lawfully carrying a pillion. There may be a technical Defence available if the Prosecution cannot prove that the pillion had been ‘carried’ on the motorcycle.

Successfully relying on a Defence is often dependent on identifying relevant facts, such as the fitting of the pillion seat and knowledge of the law. We recommend you seek legal advice if facing this charge from our team of motoring experts. They will assess your case, advise on defences that may be available and represent you at Court.

If it is not possible to put a full Defence to the Court, our specialist lawyers will be able to advise you on mitigation and represent you at Court to obtain the best possible result.

Disclaimer The contents of these pages are provided as an information guide only and are limited to offences committed in England and Wales. No responsibility is accepted for any errors, omissions, or misleading statements on these pages or any site to which these pages connect, including any feature or aspect of such site or pages, whether provided by Motor Defence Solicitors or by any organisation, company or individual. No mention of any organisation, company or individual, whether on these pages or on other sites to which these pages are linked shall imply any approval or warranty as to the standing and capability of any such organisations, company or individual on the part of Motor Defence Solicitors.