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Roadside motorcycle inspections in Denmark

If you’re riding to Denmark, be prepared to have your motorcycle inspected during a roadside check. Hans Henrik and Thomas from Danish motorcyclists’ organisation DMC (a member of FEMA) explain how a new Danish law can affect foreign travellers as well.

It’s a nice sunny day. You’re riding your motorcycle on a Danish road, when you get pulled over. Not by the police, but by vehicle inspectors, tasked with inspecting your motorcycle’s technical state. The inspection can be done at the roadside, or by ordering you to follow them to another location.

Never before has anyone other than the police been authorized to stop and inspect vehicles, but this is the reality with the new law, passed by the Danish Parliament in December 2021. The new law was a requirement from the EU, demanding member states, like Denmark, to implement either periodic or random roadside motorcycle inspections. The law is not limited to Danish registered motorcycles.

The proposal also had funny sides, as it stated that the law only applied to motorcycles on two wheels, with or without sidecar, and motor vehicles on three wheels, whose curb weight exceeds 400 kg. Riders of the tricycle Yamaha Niken, with a curb weight of 269 kg, stood to be exempted from roadside inspection. We therefore imagined heated discussions between Niken owners and vehicle inspectors. However, this wording was omitted from the final executive order, so Nikens cannot escape roadside inspections. (image courtesy of Yamaha Europe).

When we at DMC, as a traffic law proposing consultation partner, received the draft amendments to the law, we probably looked funny, as the reading made us, in turn, smile and shake our heads. Mostly because the text was more or less a complete copy of the regulations for car inspections, mentioning mounting of seat belts, intern mirrors et cetera.

We ended up criticizing several issues, including the lack of description of how a true and fair noise test at roadside should be performed, considering factors such as noise from industrial work, wind, and passing vehicles or aircrafts. When the law was passed, it stated that the actual requirements for noise tests will be published later. We are still waiting. We are also still waiting for an official description of how vehicle inspectors are to be dressed, and how their hand-held and vehicle mounted stop signs are going to look.

Roadside inspectors are not authorized to issue tickets, but they can order you to appear at a regular inspection, if they encounter faults needing to be fixed. It is not clear if foreign motorcycles are expected to appear at a regular inspection. In case of severe technical faults, an immediate riding ban can be issued. If police are also present, tickets can be issued too, and intoxicated bikers can be arrested.

As motorcyclists, our participation in roadside inspections is not voluntary, as the law states that drivers of motorcycles shall, during an inspection at the roadside, cooperate with the inspector, including providing access to the motorcycle, its parts and all relevant documentation. Thus, the rider must always carry documentation, stating that non-original parts, such as aftermarket brake hoses, exhaust, et cetera are indeed certified. We also criticized this part of the proposal, as it is not fair to demand motorcyclists to always carry original certificates, but the rule was left in and became law, despite our criticisms.

We don’t suggest people break the law. However, it’s rather obvious that if roadside inspectors don’t get assistance from the police, it can be tempting for some bikers to simply turn the throttle and flip the inspectors the bird.

It is mentioned in the executive order that roadside inspections must take place where a certain assembly line effect can be achieved, for example at biker meetings. If you are an introverted motorcyclist who prefers to ride alone, and who stays away from social events, the probability of being stopped for roadside inspection is small. The opposite is true for the extroverts who participate in several annual events, and therefore risk having to spend time on several annual roadside inspections. Each time you get pulled over, you may of course be late for the ferry or your appointment.

So, a fair word of warning for foreign participants in biker meets or other events in Denmark: Allow extra time when booking the trip home for unexpected inspections.

This is a shortened version of an article in the DMC’s member magazine.

Written by Hans Henrik Jørgensen and Thomas Makropoulos (DMC)

Top photograph courtesy of Boosted Magazine

This article is subject to FEMA’s copyright