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Vnuk ruling overturned

The BMF has welcomed the dismissal of the so-called Vnuk judgement – a Private Members Bill to prevent implementation has been passed by Parliament. The ruling by the European Court of Justice in 2014, prompted by an accident involving a tractor, was that third party insurance should be compulsory for all mechanically propelled vehicles used on all private and public land.

Intended to protect against injuries from agricultural vehicles, the ruling placed a huge question mark over the future of motorsports, whose costs would have been increased hugely had the ruling been universally applied. One EU country, Finland, which had introduced a law similar to Vnuk, found premiums escalating from a low cost to thousands of Euro per annum per person. The future for motorcycle and other motorsports immediately became uncertain.

The national Motorcycling Council (NMC), Auto Cycle Union (ACU) and sporting bodies teamed up to lobby government to prevent this happening and were successful, with the Private Members Bill being passed by Parliament in May 2022. The threat to motorsports on mainland Europe has also lifted with the EU amending European law to grant member states the right to remove the unintended effects of the Vnuk judgement.

Craig Carey-Clinch of the NMC said: “The NMC welcomes the result as it relates to motorcycle and other motorised sports. However, elements of the original ECJ judgement were well intended, securing protections for individuals in certain situations. Now that threats have been removed from motorcycle sport, we would welcome a further discussion with Government about a wider review of motor insurance and how it works in the UK.”

“The BMF, via FEMA (Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations), have been fighting the application of Vnuk, since it was first mooted. Anna Zee wrote the definitive FEMA response, some years ago, which was used, for example, by SMC, the Swedish Riders organisation, and the Swedish government as a guide.” Commented Jim Freeman, BMF Chair.
said BMF Chairman Jim Freeman.

Anna Zee, BMF Political & Technical Director added “I became very much involved in this issue early on when it was realised what effect the judgment might have on motorcycle sport, and of course there was the likelihood of far wider effects as well. As President of FEMA I had the privilege of writing FEMA’s response to the EU Commission on the issue, which, gratifyingly, at least one other FEMA member made use of in lobbying their own government.  We are now reverting to the status quo prior to the Vnuk judgment; in many circumstances in the UK injury caused by use of a motor vehicle other than on the public road will be covered by someone’s public liability or employers liability insurance.”

Words by Peter Henshaw

For more on the NMC article click here

National Motorcyclists Council members are: The Auto Cycle Union, the British Motorcyclists Federation, IAM RoadSmartPlantec Assist, the National Motorcycle Dealers Associationthe Trail Riders Fellowship and the Vintage Motor Cycle Club

Top image courtesy of TMX news