Your guide to riding on Scotland's breathtaking routes and roads
Your essential tips
Scotland welcomes bikers. Even Scots who don’t have a motorbike will admire your sense of adventure and love of the great outdoors. So, to help you enjoy the friendly faces and beautiful scenery, here are a few tips for riding on Scotland’s Breathtaking Roads.
The basics of the road
The big one is: we ride on the left. And at roundabouts we travel clockwise; turning left and giving way to vehicles coming from your right.
Hopefully you’ll never need them, but remember to bring your vehicle registration documents, proof of ownership, EU driving licence (non-EU licence is fine for up to 1 year also), and motorcycle insurance.
We’re not a massive country, but some parts can be remote (we like those bits!). Unless you want to walk as much as ride, plan your fuel stops ahead. The good news is many larger service stations are open 24 hours a day. And most stops will have toilets.
Our speed limits are in miles per hour. The fastest roads are our motorways which have a speed limit of 70mph if there’s no sign. That’s 112 kph if you’re doing the conversion. Built-up areas are usually 20 or 30mph zones. And, yes, there’re speed cameras nearly everywhere. If you’re in a hurry, remember rush-hour here is around 7.30 – 9.30am and 4:00 – 6.30pm.
Whether you’re cruising motorways or enjoying our ‘windies’ (little roads with lots of bends), Scotland’s an exceptional country to ride in. Be aware of where you are though: in rural areas there are often animals near the roadside. And in some places the road comes down to just one lane with passing places (don’t park up in these for longer than it takes to let someone pass). You might have to negotiate who stops and who drives past. This is a good chance to say ‘hi’ to people and give them a wave.
For more tips on obstacles to watch out for, and other general biking fun, you can check our hyperlapse ride of one of our favourite routes.
Like everywhere, Scotland has its share of caravans and campers to work with. So think about what might be around the corner – or in the middle of the road. And there’s probably other bikes around too – plus cyclists and walkers.
Drink and drugs not welcome
We like to think we’re warm people – but not when it comes to mixing driving with alcohol and drugs. Scotland’s drink-drive limit is lower than the rest of the UK. To keep it simple – assume even one is one too many. If you want to get technical, it’s 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood – but don’t risk it. Roadside drug testing is also used to keep our roads safer.
Scotland’s weather – and your motorcycle trip
Our weather is part of the fun – honest! It can do anything, anytime. So, have some flexibility in your clothing if you can. And remember it can be hard to see others if it gets wet, so relax and take your time – especially in remote areas or on single-track roads.
Over the winter we usually get about 15 to 20 days of beautiful but hazardous snow. Our coldest months tend to be December, January and February. On average these only get up to a maximum temperature around 5°C (41°F). And you know how cold that feels when you’re riding!
Here’s some useful links:
- Winter driving advice
- Weather forecast before setting off
- Traveline Scotland for public transport options
- Frequently asked questions about winter in Scotland.
Plan your motorcycle trip ahead
Plan ahead; riding in Scotland can be very different to anywhere else, so take into account all the things we’ve talked about on this page and enjoy your trip. Oh, and because we’re Scotland – you don’t need to worry about tolls on roads or bridges when you’re planning. It’s all free – unless they’re private.
It’s illegal to use handheld phones for any reason while driving – and a pretty daft idea on a bike anyway! For other, perhaps less obvious, advice check out these tips from experts.