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What To Do If Your Motorcycle Breaks Down

motorcycle breakdown steps - What To Do If Your Motorcycle Breaks Down

What To Do If Your Motorbike Breaks Down, Home Or Away

If you are unlucky enough to break down whilst out in the boonies, or even just around town, you need to know what to do to get you and your bike to safety.

By making sure that your bike is well maintained and serviced at regular intervals you can help reduce the risk of mechanical failure of breakdown, but you can never rule it out completely.

If your bike won’t start on your driveway, it’s an inconvenience but at least you are safe and close to the kettle.  If you break down away from home, it can be a different story entirely.

If you break down on a motorway:

  • Turn on your hazard lights to warn other drivers that you are having problems.
  • Pull off the motorway and onto the hard shoulder as soon and as safely as you can.
  • Hop off of the bike, but keep your helmet on and make sure your bike is switched off.
  • Do not start tinkering with the problem yourself – the hard shoulder is a dangerous place and not conducive with a bit of bike DIY.
  • Call your breakdown cover provider. If you do not have one, you can still find emergency telephones dotted along all main roads.
  • Stay safe – take yourself away from the roadside – park yourself up against the grass verge or behind a barrier whilst you wait for rescue.

If you break down on a normal road:

  • Turn your hazards on to warn other drivers that you are having problems.
  • Move your bike out of the road – either onto the pavement or grass verge.
  • Hop off your bike and use your warning triangle is you have one.
    Investigate the problem yourself, but only if it safe to do so.
  • Call for help – call your breakdown provider if you have one.

Once you are in a safe place, you have stopped swearing at your bike and you have located your mobile phone, call your breakdown provider and be ready to tell them all about what has happened.

You will need to advise your breakdown provider of the following:

  • Your full name and breakdown membership number – which is why you should always keep your membership card with you. Take a photo of it on your phone too, so you always have a backup.
  • Your location – which could be the name of the road or nearest motorway junction.
  • Your contact number – so they can keep you up to date.
  • What has happened – i.e. bike losing power etc.

Having made that call, get comfortable and wait for them to arrive. Most breakdown providers aim to be with you in under an hour, but if the weather is bad, or there are a lot of “priority” calls made at the same time, your wait may well be longer. 

If you are unlucky enough to break down on a motorway, many providers class this as a priority as it is not safe to hang around on the side of the main road.

Be sensible.  Do not leave your bike and go for a cup of tea in the local cafe unless you are sure it will be secure there.  Waiting in the rain may be uncomfortable, but better that than the long journey home when someone has pinched it.

Road Side Recovery And Repair

Your provider will send out a qualified mechanic who will usually attempt to fix your bike by the side of the road.  It is their job to get you moving again, and not to give your bike an overhaul or service.  So be very aware, that whilst they may get your bike started, your next port of call could well be the garage.

If they can’t repair your bike, they will take your bike to a garage for you.  You can go with them, and they will leave you and your bike in the safe hands of the nearest approved repairer.

If you opted for a more expensive Vehicle Recovery package, you may be able to be recovered to anywhere in the UK and not just the nearest garage.  This could take you and your bike back home, or to your original destination.

Breakdowns happen! They are a pain, an inconvenience and can lead to unexpected changes of plan.  But, having a hissy fit at the side of the road will not help the situation.  Gather yourself, stay calm and keep safe before calling for help.  Your breakdown cover is designed for these circumstances, and their assistance is what you are paying for.