Insurance decision threatens motorcycle racing

MotoGP Valentino Rossi and Marc arquez

A Slovenian farm worker was knocked off his ladder by a reversing tractor so now an insurance crackdown may jeopardise motorcycle racing.

That’s the warning from the British Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA), the Amateur Motor Cycle Association (AMCA) and the Auto-Cycle Union (ACU).

It all stems back to the farmer who was injured in his fall, sparking a European Court decision known as the “Vnuk judgement”.

It wants to make it compulsory for anyone using any form of motorised transport to have third party damage and injury insurance.

While road riders already have third-party insurance, the judgement could extend to motorcycle racing, electric bicycles, sit-on lawnmowers, golf buggies, mobility scooters and even uninsured vehicles such as classic bikes parked on private property.

It may only be a threat in Europe at the moment, but such a sweeping decision could eventually have ramifications further afield.

Besides, the British motorcycle industry believes it could spell the end of motorcycle racing in Europe which would mean the end of MotoGP and World Superbikes which are predominantly European-based.

Phillip Island MotoGP
Phillip Island MotoGP

The British Government has issued a document for public consultation, which suggests implementing the Vnuk judgment.

The insurance industry has made it clear to government that third party risks for motorsport activities are uninsurable, not least because of the sheer number of potential vehicle damage claims that would arise.

Therefore, if implemented, the Vnuk judgment would wipe out all legal motor and motorcycle sport activity.

The MCIA, ACU and AMCA are calling on the government to exempt motor and motorcycle sport from any changes to insurance law arising from the ECJ judgment.

While the UK remains in the EU, even a temporary implementation of the ruling, as suggested by the Department for Transport in its consultation document, would be fatally damaging to what is an important industry and net contributor to the UK economy.

2 Comments

  1. Really? It’s a early April is it?
    Racing already has various insurance requirements as there is always the chance that a number of spectators can be killed or injured by flying vehicle bits or the stadium collapsing or catching fire. With the exception of rallying race organisers take great care to protect spectators to avoid huge payouts and thus high insurance rates and possibly prison time. Most property owners have public liability insurance which should cover errant ride on mowers. The court case in question I’m guessing came about because the tractor driver either had no insurance or the insurance company was trying to avoid paying as they will always do regardless of how libel they are.

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