Brian Hayes MEP today reacted to the European Commission’s new legislative proposal on the Motor Insurance Directive which would require all e-bike users to avail of third party insurance.
“The Commission have just landed a perplexing decision on European citizens. The first major standout issue is that under the proposal, electric bicycles, segways and electric scooters would all now be required to have third party insurance in Europe.
“More and more electric bikes are on our streets in Ireland and across the EU. They offer an environmentally friendly alternative to using a car and are increasingly used by people as a means of transport to work.
“The rise of electric bikes has been a huge success story and the Commission’s proposal would bring that story to an end with this harsh proposal. The Commission’s own research shows that there is expected to be 62 million e-bikes in Europe by 2030. But if the Commission’s Motor Insurance Directive becomes law, then all e-bike without third party insurance would be cycling illegally.
“We should be encouraging alternative forms of transport like e-bikes as that will reduce our reliance on cars and thereby reducing traffic. E-bikes also promote a healthier lifestyle for people and are more sustainable for our cities.
“The second major issue in the proposal relates to the use of vehicles on private property. The Commission is enforcing a disproportionate ECJ ruling, the so-called ‘Vnuk ruling’, which states that all vehicles used on private property must have third party insurance. This includes golf buggies on golf courses, it covers motorsport races and it covers farming vehicles.
“In Ireland, our current Road Traffic Act states that vehicles require third party insurance when used on public roads. There is effectively no market for insurance for vehicles on private property and the insurance industry has said that it will not be able to provide this type of cover.
“This is EU bureaucracy gone mad. I, along with other MEPs and Member States have been campaigning to ensure that this ECJ ruling is rectified in the Motor Insurance Directive but the Commission have done the opposite and have actually reinforced the negative effects of this ruling.
“I am hoping that Minister Ross, who is overlooking this file, will take an active role in campaigning against these proposals when they are discussed in Council. It is very unfortunate that the Commission would propose a measure that is in direct contradiction with our national legislation.”