In February, 2021, we told you about European parliamentary plans to make motorcycle technical inspections mandatory within the European Union. At the time, exact dates weren’t set in stone, but the European Parliament Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) had formally requested that the European Commission (the European Union’s governing body) include motorbikes in its future inspection regulations.
Fast-forward seven months into the future, by which point motorcycle advocacy groups in at least three countries have been agitating hard for these requirements to die on the vine. As the Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations general secretary Dolf Willigers said, “the discussion about periodic technical inspection of motorcycles is a very old one, in which various parties argue that this would benefit road safety. However, there is no evidence that the technical state of motorcycles plays a significant role in accidents.”
“Available reports on motorcycle accidents all point in the opposite direction: the technical state of motorcycles plays only a very marginal role in accidents. Training of road users, behavioral aspects, infrastructure and enforcement of existing traffic rules play a much bigger role in road safety than periodical technical inspections ever will,” Willigers concluded.
Points of view will differ, as they always do, but Willigers’ succinctly stated point has an immediate ring of truth that I suspect is shared by most riders who are out on their bikes regularly. No amount of technical inspection is ever going to make up for those drivers who choose to scroll through their social media feeds or watch YouTube videos when they should be paying attention to the road. That’s not how any of this works.
Of course, you’d expect a group like FEMA to come out against this proposal. After all, such legislation would hardly be in the interest of European motorcyclists. Indeed, as of September, 2021, several FEMA member associations located in different European countries are also deep in the fight to prevent these inspections from getting off the ground.
In Finland, motorcyclists’ association SMOTO specifically inquired with Finland’s Ministry of Transport and Communications on the matter. For their part, the MTC stated directly that it has no current plans to introduce periodic technical inspections for motorcycles within the country. This is, it said, in large part to do with the fact that the Finnish motorcycling season simply isn’t as long as it is in some countries in Southern Europe, so such a move wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Meanwhile, in Denmark, the Minister for Transport is aiming for roadside inspections rather than periodic motorcycle inspections. Such a program would focus on motorcycles that have problems, rather than target all motorcycles.
In France, members of both the French Motorcycling Federation and the French Federation of Angry Bikers (yes, that’s a direct translation) met with France’s Minister of Transport in early September, 2021. After the meeting the Minister for Transport said in an interview, “There will be no technical control for two-wheelers as it was envisaged. We will rethink the system.”