Monday, July 15, 2024


Both the ACU and MCIA are celebrating their respective successful lobbying roles in gaining exemption from the deleterious effects of a putative seventh EU Motor Insurance Directive (EU/MID).

This could have seen all vehicles operated on private land in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, including motorcycles, subject to the same insurance requirements as those on public roads, at considerable extra cost to their users.

The recent decision by Department of Transport minister Grant Shapps to reject such draft EU/MID legislation was made easier by two factors. In the first instance, Britain finally severed its ties to the EU on 31 December 2020, so subsequent new directives from the European Commission (EC) in Brussels outside the reach of our (Br)exit treaty can be safely ignored. In the second, this latest EU/MID doesn’t actually exist yet anyway, in any legal sense.

The whole threat stemmed from a European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling in 2016 on the “Vnuk” case. It involved a claimant of that name, who had been injured when a trailer attached to a tractor being driven on Slovenian farmland struck the ladder on which he was standing.

The EC seized upon this ECJ judgement and other supporting verdicts, and concocted a catch-all compulsory motor insurance proposal to provide third-party liability. Within our sector, motocross, enduro, trials and grasstrack machines used on private terrain would have been affected, as well as racing motorcycles on non-highway tarmac circuits. Everything from farm quad bikes and other small off-road utility vehicles to golf buggies and ride-on lawnmowers were targeted too.

Realising the potential cost consequences for motorsport generally, concerned UK bodies and their continental counterparts began a strenuous lobbying effort against imposition. European Parliament members listened to their pleas and the original EU/MID draft fell at the first hurdle in 2019, voted down and sent back to the EC for reconsideration.

And that’s more or less where it’s stayed, kicked into the long grass by the European Council of Ministers. So no implementation is in the immediate offing anywhere in the EU, least of all in the UK now, as DfT minister Shapps knew very well.

However, there is a possible sting in the tail, which the ACU has duly noted. Should EU/MID’s prospects revive in its current form, the FIM may fail to swerve non-highway sporting motorcycles away from inclusion. Therefore British riders who want to compete in any of the EU’s 27 member states will still have to insure their bikes appropriately — adding extra expense to the temporary import/export carnets they are already required to purchase since Brexit.


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