Riding your bike is obviously the most fun way to enjoy it, but riders who choose to haul their bikes between Europe and the United Kingdom have been facing some annoying Brexit fallout. According to the Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations (FEMA), there seems to be confusion about what constitutes a temporary import situation—and riders are getting slapped with hefty fines as a result.
The situations in question are pretty normal stuff. Let’s say you have a vintage bike, it’s road-registered, and you want to take it to participate in a vintage bike show. To keep it in its best condition, you may very well opt to haul it instead of riding it, and you plan to bring it back home once the show is over. It seems simple, right? Unfortunately, there seems to be a breakdown in communication about situations like this—and it’s afflicting both E.U. and U.K. travelers wishing to pass the borders from one place to another.
That’s why FEMA, along with the Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens (FIVA) and the National Motorcyclists Council (NMC), have all written a letter to the European Commission to ask both for clarification and sensible treatment. Just as a vintage car owner might want to haul their vehicle to a vintage car show instead of driving it, so too might riders.
Riders might also want to haul bikes if they’re going on a family holiday and bringing their tourism money to other countries. The family might all go in one four-wheeled vehicle, while the rider(s) in the family might then take off on additional trips when they get to various destinations on their trip. In such cases, the riders have definite plans to bring both themselves and their bikes back home—and no permanent importation of any bikes is in the cards. Since cars and other vintage vehicles face similar scenarios, the idea that this issue is difficult to understand seems silly.
A similar problem has arisen when riders use professional transport services, or else ask a friend in another country to receive their bike for them ahead of a scheduled event or holiday. Just like riders opting to haul instead of ride their bikes, these instances result in bikes only being in a different location temporarily, usually for purposes of some type of tourism. Especially in 2021 and 2022, with pandemic difficulties faced in the tourism sector worldwide, making it harder for riders to take their bikes elsewhere for a short visit (where they’ll probably spend money) seems like a bad idea.
The three organizations sent their letter to the European Commission, the governing body for the European Union, in mid-December 2021. We’ll be sure to keep you updated if and when this issue gets resolved.