Do you have any plans to go ride some of the beautiful mountain passes in Austria this summer? If you do, you’ll need to be aware of a new law that the Austrian government put into place as of 2022. The Austrian Motor Vehicles Act has apparently been amended to outlaw a whole bunch of behaviors, for riders and drivers alike.
Squealing your tires? That’s a penalty. Drifting down one of the aforementioned mountain passes? A definite don’t. Donuts? Do NOT. For riders in specific, though, we have this: “non-situational use of the motor vehicle in which there is not contact between the road surface and all wheels at all times” is verboten, according to a warning issued by the British Motorcyclists’ Federation.
We’re talking about some pretty stiff penalties, too. Fines start at € 300 (about $321) and can range up to € 10,000 (about $10,703). If that’s not bad enough, should the police who’ve stopped someone believe that person is likely to re-offend, their car OR bike can be impounded for up to 72 hours. We’re not sure what fees will be imposed to get your vehicle out of impound (that’s a common thing in the U.S., but we don’t know how it is everywhere), but isn’t merely having your vehicle impounded bad enough?
If you expect that these rules must only apply to public roads, think again. Apparently, it also applies to private car parks and other closed-course areas where you’d reasonably suspect that you could practice motorbike stunting in peace. For now, if you want to practice your wheelies and stoppies, you’re better off not trying it in Austria.
It’s unclear what this could mean for stunt shows, competitions, or other similar ticketed events. Presumably, if there was the will and interest, there could be some dispensation made for those things. Maybe this will eventually end up like the fearful skateboarding menace (I write that sarcastically), where litigators go overboard and issue unreasonable bans and fines, only for society to eventually get to the point where a whole bunch of municipalities build designated skate parks for people to practice their skills at will.
Could stunt parks be the answer? As skate parks seem to have proved, hanging up a sign saying that all skaters engage in their chosen activity at their own risk, and that the park bears no responsibility for injuries seems to be the chosen method of handling liability concerns. Maybe something similar is down the road for vehicular stunters?