For many, off-roading on a motorcycle is a way of life, whether it is for the purpose of your livelihood, for pure enjoyment or getting out there and venturing further into the wilderness because sometimes two wheels are genuinely better than four.
However, for those living in Italy, this notion has been thrown into disarray after a federal decree to restrict what vehicles can use paths through forests and fields was published in the Italian Official Gazette, the step needed to make laws formal.
The ruling – which was first made a federal decree in October – rules that paths less than 2.5m in width cannot be traversed by motor vehicles, including motorcycles. The only vehicles exempt from this are those required to manage these paths, such as tractors.
The law isn’t targeted specifically at motorcycles with mountain bikes, ATVs, quad bikes and cars banned from using these routes. This includes electric models too, so the decree has not been brought because of noise disputes.
The objection period comes to an end today [16 December] by which time the decree becomes official law, though individual regions can enforce more leeway in terms of permitted vehicles, but motorcycle riders could find themselves heavily fined or prosecuted if they are found to be flouting the law.
Understandably there is plenty of opposition to the new ruling, not least because Italy sells more off-road capable motorcycles than most with the Benelli TRK 502, Honda Africa Twin, Yamaha Tracer 9 and BMW R 1250 GS Adventure regularly coming out top among its best-selling models, while models like the Ducati DesertX and MV Agusta Lucky Explorer are incoming too.
The National Association of Cycle/Motorcycles Accessories (ANCMA) and the Italian Motorcycle Federation (FMI) have argued the rule is short-sighted and too general, bringing economic harm to certain regions.
It isn’t clear why the ruling was brought, though various local areas in the UK have raised exception to the nuisance of motorcycles on ‘green laning’ from those who abuse the capability to do so.
You can read more about Green Laning in the UK and how to avoid any potential legal problems HERE