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Motorcycles are banned from parts of the Pyrenees National Park

A measure to limit noise pollution prohibits the use of motorcycles in parts of the High Pyrenees Natural Park (El Parque Natural de los Altos Pirineos). Electric vehicles and cars are not covered by the ban.

A ‘Special Noise Quality Zone’ (ZEPQA) was created, with a ban for motorcycles, quads and buggies throughout the year. This makes a large area of 80,000 hectares inaccessible to motorcyclists. The Pyrenees are located in the border area between France, Spain and Andorra.

The ban excludes motorcycles from local roads and trails but does not place similar restrictions on cars. ‘Unfair discrimination’, says Moto de Campo Sostenible.

The regulations described in the ‘Action Plan for the declaration of a zone of special protection of acoustic quality in the Alt Pirineu Natural Park’ distinguishes motorcycles, mountain bikes, quads and buggies as ‘particularly noisy’ vehicles, without take into account their type approval or the level of decibels they emit.

The action plan includes the following:

  • Limit the passage of noisy vehicles to certain areas of the ZEPQA, taking into account the regulation of motorized traffic inside the park, restricting access to certain tracks either throughout the year or at certain periods.
  • Restrict motorized access to the entire network of forest trails and paved paths of the ZEPQA of Alt Àneu and Farrera, except the access roads to urban centres, by vehicles considered excessively noisy consisting of all types of vehicles such as motorcycles, quads, ATVs and buggies that are not electric, except those of registered residents, beneficiaries of livestock forest exploitation, public services and those duly authorized by the Alt Pirineo Natural Park and/or the respective local entities.
  • Promote the use of electric vehicles.
  • In addition, there is a specific point dedicated to ‘Carrying out awareness actions specifically aimed at drivers of vehicles that emit more noise: motorcycles, mountain bikes, quads and buggies.’
Picture courtesy of

The ban may exclude motorcycles from local roads and trails but does not place similar restrictions on cars. That double standard forced Moto de Campo Sostenible, an advocacy group backed by the Spanish Motorcycle Federation (RFME), to characterize the lockdown as “unfair discrimination”. Moto de Campo Sostenible is a platform that supports the users of country motorcycles, in order to ensure and work towards legislation that regulates the practice of sport and motorized access to the natural environment in a sustainable and responsible manner. Moto de Campo Sostenible’s legal department is studying the case.

Written by Wim Taal

Top photograph courtesy of NMCU

Sources: NMCU,,,

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