European motorcyclists are no stranger to emissions-based regulations and bans. However, German riders also have to contend with motorcycle-only speed limits and restricted road access. As a result, a coalition of German motorcycle alliances recently championed the "Upshifting - Dialogue Instead of Ban" campaign. Despite the calls for compromise, local laws still persist, prompting thousands of motorcyclists to take to the streets.
In Nuremberg, Leipzig, Munich, Oldenburg, Cologne, and Stuttgart, riders demonstrated against the arbitrary, and sometimes draconian, regulations in force. Officials recently enacted a motorcycle-only 50kph (31mph) speed limit on the country’s Bundesstraße 500 (B500) highway. Many consider the B500 one of ’s best riding roads. The one-sided speed limit not only hinders a rider’s enjoyment but also places them in danger. With such a speed disadvantage, authorities limit a motorcyclist’s ability to pull away from potential threats.
Aside from double-standard speed restrictions, riders are currently banned from Nordrhein-Westfalen’s L687. Situated between Rönkhausen and Wildewiese, the scenic route is a destination for countless motorcyclists. While authorities cite safety concerns, some moto activists see the ban as noise-reducing measures.
The situation has even caught the attention of the European Motorcyclists Federation (FEMA), with the organization calling for negotiations between riders, alliances, and local officials in 2020. However, recent protests indicate that those talks haven’t moved swiftly enough for riders. The demonstrations won’t cease any time soon either. Organizers are already arranging a follow-up protest in August, 2021, and will enforce social-distancing measures and hold all events outdoors.
Only time will tell if the pressure applied by local motorcyclists will move the needle with the authorities. With an 80 dB noise regulation, bike-only speed limits, and outright bans on the table, it might be a while before the stakeholders can find an appropriate solution for all parties. Until then, we may see more German riders hitting the road in .