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European Parliament votes for technical inspections for all motorcycles

The European Parliament wants mandatory periodic technical inspections for all motorcycles and mopeds in every member state. No exceptions.

On 25 February 2021, the European Parliament Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) asked the European Commission to include motorcycles in the obligation to have a periodical technical inspection. For small motorcycles – less than 125 cc – and mopeds, the Committee asks for an assessment first to investigate the cost-benefit factors. By means of this own-initiative report, the European Parliament requests the European Commission to put forward a legislative proposal.

Photograph courtesy of SMC

Most European countries already have a mandatory periodical technical inspection (PTI) for motorcycles, some are going to introduce it in 2022 and three countries (Finland, Ireland and the Netherlands) do not intend to introduce PTI. Some other countries also have a mandatory PTI for mopeds. PTI for all motor vehicles is regulated under Directive 2014/45/EU. Prior to this directive the providers of technical inspections, the industry and the road safety organizations started a strong lobby to include motorcycles.

On the other hand, FEMA and some of its member organizations started to lobby against such an inclusion. Thanks to our lobby, and that of some member states, motorcycles with a displacement of more than 125cc were excluded until 1 January 2022. Member states that took alternative measures to enhance motorcycle road safety before 20 May 2017, could avoid the obligation to introduce PTI for > 125cc motorcycles. Ireland, Finland and the Netherlands made use of this possibility. Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Malta and Portugal did not and must implement PTI for larger motorcycles from 1 January 2022.

Also part of the directive was that the European Commission was to write an evaluation before May 2019. That report, written by a consortium of institutes and technical inspection companies like DEKRA (a European vehicle inspection company!) was published early 2019. It was a very bad report, that extrapolated the results with PTI of mopeds in some Spanish districts to all powered two- and three-wheelers in the whole of Europe. With regards to the interests of almost all members of the consortium in PTI, it was not a surprise that the conclusion was that PTI should be mandated for all motorcycles and mopeds.

Benoît Lutgen MEP

One would think that this concluded the story, but it turned out differently. In the end of 2020, the transport committee announced that it would evaluate the roadworthiness package, of which the PTI is part, and appointed a rapporteur, Benoît Lutgen, to draft a report. Immediately the PTI-advocates, consisting of road safety organizations and technical inspection companies, started their lobby again. The result was that in January 2021, when the report of Mr Lutgen was presented in the transport committee, many members of the committee declared that they cared about the road safety of users of all powered two- and three-wheelers and that for this reason they wanted mandatory technical inspections for all powered two- and three-wheelers, including mopeds. FEMA and a number of our members immediately started a contra-lobby to avoid this. At the request of our Nordic members, the lobby focussed on mopeds, because for this category the obligation of a periodical technical inspection would provide the largest problems.

‘FEMA asked members of the European Parliament not to decide based on assumptions, but based on the facts’

What are the consequences if the European Commission turns the wishes from the European Parliament into legislation? Depending on where you live, there are four different scenarios:

  • For countries that already have PTI for both motorcycles and mopeds, nothing will change. These countries are Croatia, Lithuania, Spain, Italy and Austria.
  • Countries where there is no PTI for moped and light motorcycles (<= 125cc) yet (the majority of the European countries), but there is PTI for motorcycles with a displacement of more than 125cc, will extend the PTI to mopeds and light motorcycles.
  • When a country has no PTI for powered two- and three-wheelers at all, PTI will be introduced for mopeds and light motorcycles and certainly for larger motorcycles.
  • Finally, countries that did not plan to implement PTI for motorcycles (Ireland. Finland and the Netherlands) will have PTI for all powered two- and three-wheelers at a later stage.

In the weeks after the transport committee meeting in January 2021, we sent letters to all members of the transport committee, as did our colleagues of FIM Europe, and had many meetings with the rapporteur, shadow rapporteurs and other MEPs (Members of the European Parliament). Our member organizations SMC, SMOTO, MCTC and FFMC also tried to reach MEPs from their countries. It soon became clear that the mandatory PTI for larger (>125cc) motorcycles could not be stopped, despite our pleas to the MEPs not to decide based on assumptions and a very bad report, but on the facts that show that motorcycle accidents are caused by technical defects in less than 1%, defects that are often barely covered by PTI.

On 25 February 2021, the transport committee adopted a compromise amendment in which it asks the European Commission for mandatory PTI of all powered two-wheelers with a displacement of more than 125cc without any conditions, the possible introduction of PTI for light motorcycles and mopeds after an assessment on burden, costs and accident statistics and also to have test locations available for moped owners who live in remote areas. The transport committee also asks for the introduction of a minimum percentage of 5% of roadside inspections and finally an additional check schedule for motorcycles that are used for deliveries and for transport of goods and persons. Although we are not happy with the outcome, at least our lobby to give some consideration to moped riders, especially those who live in remote areas, had success.

What will happen next?

  • First the implementation report must be ratified in the plenary meeting of the European Parliament.
  • After this it depends on what the European Commission is going to do with this report. The European Commission will have to draft a revised directive, which will take some time.
  • That new directive will also be discussed in the European Parliament and in the Council. This will take some time, therefor we do not expect any changes in the next few years.

Written by Dolf Willigers

Top photograph courtesy of

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