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Britain avoids EU insurance bombshell

British motorsport is set to avoid European legislation that would mean huge increases in insurance premiums for any motorised vehicle, whether they were used on or off-road.

The VNUK legislation was set to apply to “any use of a vehicle, consistent with its normal function as a means of transport, irrespective of the terrain on which the motor vehicle is used and whether it is stationary or in motion”. So, any motorsport vehicle would have to carry insurance which covers personal injury to other competitors and bike-to-bike damage to competitor’s vehicles during any event, anywhere in the EU. Essentially, it would mean off-road bikes, even while racing, would have to be fully insured and any accidents investigated as if they were road traffic accidents as claims could be made.

This would hike premiums massively for all road users, and mean all off-road bikes would have hefty premiums. This has now been axed, thanks to Brexit. But it’s unclear if riders would have to pay premiums if riding abroad, if the legislation does get EU-approval.

The Department of Transport have confirmed in a press release issued on Sunday 21st February that they are taking the necessary steps to exempt the UK from the implications of the EU Motor Insurance Directive.

Had the EU law been implemented in Great Britain, it would have meant the insurance industry would have been liable for almost £2 billion in extra overall costs. These costs would more than likely have been passed onto the vehicle owner.

Now we have left the EU, the measures no longer need to be implemented, helping road-users across the country steer clear of increased premiums, a clear win for motorists in Britain and subsequently a massive boost for motorcycle sport.

The news will be met with great relief in the motorcycle sport community. The EU ruling would have meant any incident in motorcycle sport would have been treated as regular road traffic accidents requiring insurance. The financial implications would have placed a huge threat on the sport and thousands of jobs within the industry could have been at risk.

Roy Humphrey, Chairman ACU Ltd commented, ‘The announcement made by Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport has been welcomed wholeheartedly throughout the ACU community. I know a lot of work has taken place in the background working with the Department of Transport, Insurers, Motorsport UK and other facilitators of motorsport, and I would like to thank everyone involved for their considerable efforts over the years which has obviously gone some way to today’s decision being made. Today’s announcement signifies a huge victory for motorsport overall and hopefully it won’t be too long before we can get the sport underway. Some good news at last………’

The VNUK ruling will continue to apply in the EU member states and the FIM are making significant representations to get motorsport exempt. The ACU will continue to liaise with the FIM because although the UK itself is not affected, UK participants in events taking place in the EU will be affected unless the ruling becomes exempt for motorsport in the EU.