Back in December, 2021, the Italian government adopted a new law that seemed, due to the language used, like it might possibly ban off-road recreational riding through forests and fields. Imprecise language seemed to raise the possibility of any vehicles not specifically required for maintenance of these natural areas to be banned. That would include bicycles, ATVs—and of course, off-road or dual-sport motorbikes. 

Understandably, some Italian motorcycle groups were concerned enough about this possibility to seek clarification from the government, as well as raise objections if this was, in fact, how the law was to be interpreted. Both the National Association of Cycle/Motorcycle accessories (ANCMA) and the Italian Motorcycle Federation (FMI) worked together to get answers—as well as head off what could be a big problem for off-road riding enthusiasts.  

On May 26, 2022, the two organizations issued a joint statement saying that the December, 2021 law will not impact off-road motorcycle users at all. In their talks with the Ministry, they were told “The decree […] cannot (and does not want to) introduce innovative or restrictive regulations concerning […] the passage or usability of forest roads; nor can it produce disqualifying effects on the possibility of organizing recreational and sporting activities in the forest areas.” 

It’s worth noting that regional governments in Italy still have final say over what can and cannot happen—as well as how the federal decree is interpreted. So, even though the federal government said it doesn’t intend for the law to be interpreted that way, it still remains open to interpretation at a local level. That’s why the FMI’s president, Giovanni Copioli, publicly stated that he hopes the regions will view this new federal interpretation in a positive light when making their own decisions on events moving forward. 

Sporting, hiking, enduro events—all of it seemed as though it could be under threat. That’s bad for the people who like to get outdoors and do these things, and it’s also bad for local economies. Selling tickets, concessions, merch—you get the idea. A lot of people could face potential negative impacts if off-road riding was, in fact, banned. 

The Italian publication Motociclismo Fuoristrada (or Off-Road Motorcycling) expressed concerns about the fact that the law, as it stands, remains open to such broad interpretation. Although the government clarified its intentions, that’s not the same as altering the published law. Thus, although obviously everyone is hopeful that problems don’t arise in the future, it’s not a sure thing, either. 

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