The National Motorcyclists Council (NMC) has opened talks with the UK Government after it emerged that the EU/UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) has a glaring gap in it when it comes to motorcycle tourism. The NMC are acting after having been approached by individuals and businesses who are concerned about two specific issues. These are firstly, the ability to send road registered motorcycles into the EU, via friends, or via a transportation businesses. The second issue is the ability for riders to transport their own road registered motorcycle by van or another vehicle. The NMC have established an expert group to deal with the issue.
The first problem is related to the situation where a vehicle owner commissions, or asks an individual or business, to take their road registered vehicle, often a motorcycle, to a place in the EU where they can fly out, meet their bike and then use it for a holiday or tour before the bike is then returned to the UK. In the case of motorcycles, these are often transported by truck or van via the channel ports.
This type of activity is common where a motorcycle owner has limited time and does not want to ride to the place where they wish to start their holiday or tour. For example a touring trip in Southern or Eastern Europe where the ride to and from the UK is avoided. This is an area of tourism, adventure and green roads riding which has grown significantly in recent years, as the UK motorcycle market has evolved towards machines used for these kinds of activity. It also affects those who have motorcycles transported to their homes in the EU
The EU/UK TCA does not deal with the matter of owner unaccompanied movements of road registered vehicles. This stands to impact heavily on motorcycle clubs and groups of riders who wish to move their bikes into the EU for their holiday in a friends’ van or via a specialist business. For some businesses, having knowledge of arrangement procedures for these movements has become business critical – particularly given that tourism by motorcycle is set to return as the pandemic restrictions ease.
The significant second issue which also needs to be addressed is the uncertainty surrounding non-commercial transport of motorcycles in cars/vans where the vehicle owners are present. It appears possible that motorcycles may be treated as goods in those circumstances. The NMC is seeking clarity in relation to how they will be regarded by customs. Ferry companies will need to treat transported motorcycles in the manner that customs instruct them to and there is a possibility that freight fares and paperwork may be required. In this situation, the NMC is seeking clarity for riders wishing to transport their own motorcycles.
Both matters are very different from the transport of motorcycles, not registered for road use, for events or sporting activities. In this case, the ATA Carnet can be used. NMC member, the Auto Cycle Union has further information about these here. Air freighted transport to ‘bonded’ EU destinations is also possible under international rules.
The NMC is currently discussing the matter with the Cabinet Office Border and Protocol Delivery Group and officials are escalating the matter within Government, including Lord Frost’s EU negotiating team.
NMC Chair, Anna Zee said: “This is a problem which was overlooked in all the heat and light of trade negotiations last year. But is a problem which stands to seriously disadvantage touring motorcyclists and the businesses that support them. The NMC team have been able to draw on significant international travel experience to suggest potential solutions to the Government.
“We are pleased that the UK Government is taking the matter seriously, though given that negotiations with the EU will need to be involved, we are aware that new procedures will need to be agreed, which may take sometime.”
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