Life on bikes

EU threatens UK’s £1billion motorcycle sport industry

Professional and amateur motorsport in the UK could come to an end if proposed EU rules on compulsory insurance are not rejected.

Track days, road racing, motocross and circuit races all face a premature end if proposed European Commission rules come in to force, warns the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA).

The proposals arise from a newly tabled EU Directive amending aspects of the Motor Insurance Directive (MID), which rules that all mechanically propelled vehicles must have full third-party motor insurance to cover injury, damage and loss, whether used on public roads or private land.

This means even riding a motocross bike on your own land would require third party insurance, as would any form of organised event, including competitive and grassroots motorcycle sport.

The insurance industry has already stated it would be hard to provide affordable cover, given the likelihood of damage to vehicles and risk of injury to participants. In countries where similar legislation has been applied, ‘premiums have risen to exorbitant levels,’ according to the MCIA.

Tony Campbell, CEO of the MCIA said: “It is now vital that our motorcycle sport and industry partners across Europe move swiftly to lobby both the European institutions and other EU member governments. In the UK alone, motorcycle sport is estimated to be worth £1 billion which rises to around £11billion across all forms of UK motorsports.

“We strongly support UK Government efforts, but our message is clear – whatever the outcome of these new proposals Government must take action in order to avoid the catastrophic damage that will be inflicted on Motorsport across the board if this ruling turns into law – even if this means defying Brussels.”

The European Commission’s proposals represent a complete U-turn from its position of two years ago when, after the European Court Of Justice ruled all mechanically propelled vehicles must have full third-party insurance, it proposed to exclude vehicles not being used ‘in traffic’ from the MID. This would have made all forms of motorsport exempt.

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