The French government will be obliged to introduce periodic technical inspections for motorcycles from October following a decision by the country’s supreme court.
The government announced and then abruptly withdrew rules on motorcycle technical inspections in October last year, following pressure from motorcycle owners’ groups. But that decision has now been overturned by the Conseil d’État.
An EU law on roadworthiness, agreed back in 2013, gave Member States an exceptionally long lead time of nine years to put in place regular technical tests for motorcycles, with a deadline of 1 January 2022. At the time, ETSC was critical of the long delay and the decision to let Member States decide if small motorcycles (with engines smaller than 125 cc) should be tested. ETSC also criticised language inserted into the law during the legislative process that meant Member States could put in place unspecified ‘effective alternative road safety measures’ instead.
In fact, most EU Member States already carry out technical inspections on motorcycles. Those that took ‘alternative measures’ to enhance motorcycle road safety before 20 May 2017, and informed the European Commission, were just three in number: Ireland, Finland and the Netherlands. The remaining countries without such tests, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Malta and Portugal did not and, according to the 2013 law, should have therefore implemented periodic technical inspections for larger motorcycles from 1 January 2022.
The European Commission is in the process of reviewing the 2013 EU law, with a proposal expected in 2023. Last year the European Parliament called for periodic technical inspections to be required for all motorcycles, with extra checks for high-mileage vehicles such as those used for food deliveries.