Law and Disorder for TT 2022

Posted on May 11, 2022

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In 2 weeks, after a forced hiatus of 2 years, the Island will once again host the TT and welcome 40,000 or so visitors to enjoy the spectacle. 9 years ago Damian Molyneux (now a director of M&P Legal but then an associate advocate) co-wrote an article which was published in Fast Bikes Magazine, Issue 276. His co-author was Andrew Dalton of White Dalton Solicitors. Both Damian and Andrew have carved a niche for themselves in conducting claims arising from motorcycle collisions and in the article offered advice about what to do while visiting the Island in order to stay on the right side of the law, and also in case of an accident. What follows is Damian’s updated, edited summary of that article.

Please bear in mind, this is not a comprehensive guide to the law and we accept no responsibility for how you use or fail to use the information. If you want specific advice for your situation, call M&P Legal or White Dalton.

A good starting point is not to do anything you would not do in the UK unless you know it is legal on the Island. Basically most of the rules of the road are the same across the UK and the Island. Criminal sanctions on the Isle of Man DO hit your British licence and the Island has an agreement with UK authorities about enforcing punishments and bans. There is perhaps a myth that anything goes on the Island and/or that if you do get in trouble with the law here then that does not translate back to your life in the UK. That is not the case. If you are banned on the Island, you can’t put your bike in the back of a mate’s van and ride off the Ferry when you get back home. However, the Manx Police are friendly and enjoy the atmosphere and the off-island police drafted in are also there to enjoy a festival of biking. So as long as you do not draw attention to yourself the police will leave you alone.

It should go without saying that you need to make sure your vehicle is fully legal – tax, insurance, MoT. Don’t take a chance. Whilst roads displaying the UK national speed limit sign on the Isle of Man have no upper speed limit, that’s not carte blanche to ride recklessly/dangerously. Reckless riding does not require speed. It may not take much to find your driving has fallen below an acceptable standard in which case, your licence is at risk (as is your health/the health of others if your riding was bad enough to cause an accident) as well as your liberty and you may find yourself having to use the bus for a year or two and then having to retake all of your licences for bike, car and any other entitlements.

As in the UK, Manx Police can confiscate an illegal or criminally used machine. Manx Police are supplemented during TT week by other forces and the usual rules of Police handling apply, so don’t go off at the deep end because you are away from home.

TT week has emergency courts where misbehaving TT visitors are dealt with. The Island loves TT week but the local Deemsters/High Bailiff are keen to make examples of miscreants. Sentences are likely to be harder than they might otherwise be and mitigation might be given less weight. Don’t expect much sympathy if you’ve done wrong.

There is no prohibition on the Isle of Man from riding with a dark visor. By the letter of the law the other usual cosmetic (or auditory) modifications, such as smaller number plates and race cans are illegal so technically you will commit an offence if you have them. As in the UK, don’t make yourself a target by doing the things that bring you to the attention of the police.

The Manx police are keen on taking action against riders without insurance and those who are riding intoxicated. Either offence stands an excellent chance of immediate loss of a licence. In the past I have acted as duty advocate at the Manx Court during TT fortnight and have seen a large number of riders caught over the identical UK drink drive limit the morning after the night before. There are also usually a fairly large number of people caught having a go on a mate’s bike, not realising that, what was perhaps the norm of being covered by a fully comprehensive policy to ride any other bike third party, is no longer necessarily the case. If you cause an injury or loss to another person, your being uninsured can cost you everything you own. Check your own policy very carefully before you jump on anyone else’s bike.

The usual rules apply on having an accident. Exchange details. Take photographs at the scene if possible. If the police turn up, ask whether it is likely an accident report will be completed. Make no admissions at the scene. If there is any injury it is a criminal offence not to report the collision to the police. As in the UK failure to stop or failure to report can easily get 6 points on your licence. As to injuries then go and see a GP as soon as possible.

All of this applies doubly if non UK residents are involved in an accident. My advice is that if you are in a collision with a non British registered vehicle, or the rider is not British, then get the Police involved. It can make life easier to track down non UK insurers in the long run.

If you do have a prang make it clear to the insurer that the accident happened on the Island and that an English solicitor will not have rights of audience before the court and therefore may find it difficult to recover costs. If you have an Isle of Man accident, you need Manx registered lawyers. Unless your UK solicitor is also a Manx Advocate or a Manx Registered Foreign Lawyer, they have no right even to start a claim in a Manx Court on your behalf. The law relating to motorcycle accidents is broadly similar in England, Wales, Scotland and the Island but it is different enough, and procedurally very different, to get even a competent English solicitor into a lot of difficulty.

What insurers and English Solicitors may not know is that it is illegal on the Isle of Man to act on a no-win, no-fee basis. It’s worth pointing that out to your insurer early doors so that it can direct you to a legal adviser who knows what they are talking about.

M&P Legal have an excellent team of Advocates who have experience of dealing with road traffic/motorcycle collision claims.

Contact Damian Molyneux in the first instance:

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