Keep on right side of the road, and law, in Europe

Covid put the brakes on many people travelling to mainland Europe over the last few years. And, coming so soon after Brexit, are you aware of what you need to tour abroad?

Here’s a simple checklist to help keep you on the right side of the law:

  • A valid passport issued less than 10 years before you travel with at least three months left after your return trip. If you need a new passport, renew it now as it could take several weeks at this time of year.
  • Your UK photocard driving licence is still okay to ride or drive in Europe.
  • You must carry the V5C registration document, insurance and MOT certificates, if needed. Check if you need a V103 form if you are not the legal owner, such as if the bike is financed, to prove you are allowed to ride it abroad.
  • Brexit made the old GB sticker obsolete. It has been replaced with a ‘UK’ one. If your number plate includes the ‘GB’ identifier you need a ‘UK’ sticker. Cover or remove a ‘GB’ sticker.
  • Travel and breakdown insurance is a good idea. Make sure it will get you and your motorbike home and covers off-road and track riding.
  • Most countries require original documents but keep photocopies as a back-up.
  • A free health cover card, either European if still in date or global, makes sense.

Some countries also have specific rules so check those you are going to and travelling through.


  • Hi-viz vest or jacket/gilet for emergency use.
  • Carry an in-date alcohol tester but you will not be fined for not doing so.
  • You should have approved reflective stickers on your helmet, but it does not seem to be enforced, but you could fall foul of the law for not wearing CE-approved gloves.
  • The old Priorité à Droite rule does not apply in most circumstances, certainly not on major roads. Be prepared to give way to traffic from your right where indicated in rural areas.


  • Carry spare prescription glasses.
  • Hi viz vest or jacket for emergencies.
  • You can be fined on the spot for a loud exhaust pipe.
  • Be aware of 20km/h urban speed limits on one-way streets in towns and cities, 30km/h when there is one lane in each direction and 50km/h with two lanes in each direction.


  • About half of all autobahns are unrestricted and derestricted motorways have an advisory 130km/h (80mph) limit.
  • You can filter legally only when traffic is at a standstill.
  • Loud exhaust pipes can be a problem.


  • Carry a hi-viz vest.
  • Speed limits – 50km/h (30mph) in town, 90km/h (55mph) on A roads, 110km/h (68mph) on dual carriageways and 130km/h (80mph) on motorways. In rain, the last two are restricted to 90km/h (55mph) and 110km/h (68mph) respectively.

For more information about driving and riding in Europe visit