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Road Users

Motorcycle maintenance

The importance of keeping your motorcycle properly maintained.

A well maintained motorcycle can reduce your chances of death or injury on the road. Make sure you know your motorcycle and how to look after it.


Regular servicing is vital

Vehicle reliability and safety are key issues for any road user but particularly for motorcyclists, whose machines offer little protection in the event of a collision. While some routine checks can be performed at home, more complex work must be carried out by a suitably qualified motorcycle mechanic. 

Even if you confidently maintain your own motorcycle, a qualified mechanic can offer advice specific to your make or model. Always be guided by the owner's handbook and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Download 'This is your bike' - Our motorcycle safety booklet pdf | 1892 KB

Carry out routine checks - POWDERS

The following checks (abbreviated as POWDERS) should be carried out before every ride. 

Make sure you have enough fuel for the journey. Some older machines have a reserve tank switch while others have a warning light. 
Make sure you know how to check the oil level on your machine. Most dry-sump machines require you to check the oil when the engine is hot, while most wet-sump machines require the oil level to be checked with the engine cold. Which type is yours? The owner’s handbook will tell you how to perform this check correctly.
Is your motorcycle water or air-cooled? Do you know how to check the coolant level?
Check your motorcycle for signs of obvious wear-and-tear. Are the light lenses or mirrors cracked or broken? Any noticeable damage to the wheels or rims? Any fluids under the motorcycle?
Check your lights, indicators and horn are working properly. Are your light lenses clean? Do you know how to locate and change the fuses?
As the only point of contact between you and the road, your tyres and their condition are critical to your safety. Too much air in your tyres lessens grip, too little leads to instability because it allows the side walls of the tyres to flex. Know your tyre pressures by reading the owner’s handbook and understand that the legal minimum tread depth is at least 1 mm for motorcycle tyres.

Check for smooth operation of the centre and side stands, ensuring that they fully retract. Make sure the safety cut-off switch (if fitted) is fully operational

Note: Always be guided by the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations in the vehicle owner's handbook.

Motorcycle Standards

A motorcycle is a two wheeled motor vehicle, three-wheeled versions are called tricycles. It is important to know the rules and regulations governing the use of these vehicle types on the road.

Motorcycles are classed as L category vehicles and can be divided into five groups 

CategoryVehicle Description
L1eLight two-wheel powered vehicle
L2eThree-wheeled moped
L3eTwo-wheeled motorcycle
L4eTwo-wheeled motorcycle with sidecar
L5ePowered tricycle

Frequently asked questions

This content is for general information only. It does not, and is not intended to, provide legal or technical advice or to represent a legal interpretation of the matters it addresses.

No. However, under road traffic legislation, it is the owner’s and rider’s responsibility to ensure that their motorcycle is always maintained in a roadworthy condition when used in a public place.
Yes. However, they must be properly constructed, safely fitted to the left side of the motorcycle, and have proper lighting. You should contact the original manufacturer for more guidance.
You will need to refer to your owner’s manual or contact the original manufacturer.

Yes, but not with any passenger inside. The rules for towing are as follows:

  • the overall width of the trailer cannot be more than 1 m.
  • the distance between the rear axle of the motorcycle and the end of the trailer must not be more than 2.5 m.
  • the trailer weight is not more than the towing capacity of the motorcycle or 150 kg - whichever is less.

In terms of retrofitting systems you must comply with S.I. No. 322 of 1993 on standards and policy surrounding the sale of protective goods and S.I. No. 360 of 1978 on use of crash helmets.

There are some safety aspects to be considered if attaching a camera to a motorcycle helmet i.e., will it affect the structure or integrity of the helmet in the unfortunate event of a collision? We advise you to contact the motorcycle helmet manufacturer or supplier regarding the fitment of such device to ensure that it does not contribute or cause injury to the wearer.

In relation to data protection of the public, see Data Protection Commissioner website for guidance for drivers on use of dash cams here or email them at [email protected].

Yes. Under road traffic law, all mechanically propelled vehicles (MPVs) need to be registered, taxed, and insured. For registration of vehicles, you will need to contact Revenue.

Under EU Regulation No. 168 of 2013 if it has EU type approval it will have an EC Certificate of Conformity (CoC) and therefore can be registered here. For further information on registration of vehicles in Ireland you can contact Revenue.

Contact the manufacturer. If no CoC exists for this motorbike, it may be for off-road use only.

*A Certificate of Conformity (CoC) is proof that the motorbike meets with all the necessary safety and quality standards. A motorbike cannot be registered in Ireland without a CoC.

See our EOS webpage which provides all necessary details.
Due to the design of motorcycles, there is not enough space for number plates to be fitted to the front. In addition, any protrusion to the front of a vehicle would present a risk to the rider and other vulnerable road users e.g., pedestrians, cyclists etc. in the event of a collision.
The minimum limit is 1 mm; however, we would always recommend that tyres are changed before they reach their minimum tread depth.
The grooves of the tread pattern of a motorcycle tyre must have a depth of at least 1mm throughout the entire treaded area of the tyre.

Yes. Under S.I. No. 190 of 1963 of the Road Traffic Construction, Equipment and Use of Vehicle regulations 1963 as amended require vehicles to be fitted with a silencer or other device suitable for reducing to a reasonable level, noise caused by the escape of exhaust gases from the engine and they prohibit use of a vehicle that causes any excessive noise in a public place. Should you wish to report an incident of excessive noise contact the Gardaí.

Consult your vehicle manufacturer to make sure these headlights are compatible with the vehicle. When purchasing headlights or other lighting units ensure they are type approved to a recognised ECE regulation.

Related pages

Road Safety Vehicle lighting

Regulations on colours of vehicle lights, including fog lights, parking lamps and side-marker lamps

Road Safety Tyres

Tyres are the only part of your vehicle in contact with the road surface. That’s why it's vital you choose the appropriate tyres and keep them correctly maintained.

Road Safety Legislation

Road traffic legislation for vehicles in use on Irish roads. Type approval legislation for new vehicles. Irish and EU safety and environmental standards.