FIM Position on Vnuk Consultation
Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme
Founded in 1904, the FIM1 is the world governing body for motorcycle sport, and global advocate for motorcycling.
As of 2017 the FIM membership is made up of one hundred and thirteen national federations (hereafter referred to as FMNs). FIM has a structure of six continental unions: FIM Europe, FIM North America, FIM Latin America, FIM Africa, FIM Asia and FIM Oceania. FIM’s activities encompass all aspects of motorcycling. – Motorcycle sports (in all their many disciplines), mobility, tourism, road safety and public policy and defending the interests of motorcyclists.
For this European Commission consultation on the REFIT review of Directive 2009/103/EC on motor insurance, the FIM initiated a consultation process with all its FMNs in the European Union and EEA countries affected by the Vnuk judgment.
This position paper sets out the results of the FIM consultation.
2.Scope of the Motor Insurance Directive (MID) and Potential Impact on Motorcycle sports in Europe
With regard to framework of the consultation document provided by the European Commission, the following sections focus on the scope of the Motor Insurance Directive (point “1.7. B.2.7 SCOPE », question 27 to 32 of the questionnaire).
3.Governance of Motorcycle sports in Europe
Motorcycle sports are organized by our FMNs at national level. Our Continental Unions organize competitions at the next level including Cup competitions, Continental championships and other international events.
At World championship level the FIM sanctions the competitions. From the grass roots to the World championships the aim is to deliver safe competitions for all riders, officials, and those attending as spectators.
The European Court of Justice in the VNUK judgment in 2014, extended the interpretation of the Motor Insurance Directive far beyond the previous understanding of the scope of such insurance policies. There is concern among motorcycle sport stakeholders about the unintended economic effects of this new interpretation of EU law. We face potential exponential growth of insurance premiums. This concern is confirmed by the insurance sector.2 This would have a major impact on the ability to continue motorcycle sports in Europe.
Taking the example of grassroots level, such a change would threaten the organisation of motorcycle sports within the European Union and substantially decrease the overall number of participants. The health of the sport depends on talented riders having a route to the higher levels of the sport from their first experience at local and national level competitions. Motorcycle sport is a significant driver of technological advances that make for safer road motorcycles. One example is the use of traction control systems that have now penetrated the market to include many vehicles in the A2 category. It has taken less than five years from these systems being used in MotoGP World championships to reaching these A2 category road motorcycles.
4.The specifics of motorcycle sports competitions
All sport is recognized under Article 165 of the 2007 Treaty on the Functioning of the EU which recognizes the, “specific nature of sport.” This is a factor which should be considered when assessing how the Motor Insurance Directive should be amended in light of the Vnuk judgment.
Compulsory rider-to-rider liability insurance for motorcycle sports:
The insurance industry has confirmed that in many countries underwriting such insurance policies would be impossible on economic grounds. In some countries it may be possible but with premiums beyond the income of many competitors. Issues concerning insurance at motorcycle sports events should be left as a matter for national governments under the subsidiarity principle. They should not be part of the Motor Insurance Directive the primary function of which is to facilitate the movement of international road traffic and compensate victims of road traffic collisions where the driver is from another Member state. The FIM has no concerns about extension of insurance cover to situations such as that in the Vnuk case where a tractor being used on a farm was considered by the judges of the ECJ to still be, “in traffic.”
The FIM has received many comments from FMNs regarding insurance for motorcycle sports competitions. These are dealt with in different ways by Member States.
5.Result of the FIM internal consultation on the scope of the Motor Insurance Directive
The majority of the contributions received from FIM FMNs across Europe underline that:
- The scope of the Directive should relate only to accidents caused by motorcycles in the context of traffic (following the option 3 as presented in the European Commission Inception Impact Assessment, response question 27)
- In addition, activities that should fall outside of this definition would be regulated at Member State level (subsidiarity principle) and it would be for them to decide whether they wish to pool them with other activities by regulatory means (response question 28)
- Compulsory Motor Third Party Liability insurance should not cover accidents resulting from motorcycle sport activities on circuits and private land (response question 30-31). This aspect should be left at the discretion of the Member States as described for the question 28.
On behalf of its FMNs in Europe, the FIM supports the initiative of the European Commission to revise the Motor Insurance Directive and clarify its scope. The legal uncertainty is not satisfactory and has caused concern since 2014.
The Motor Insurance Directive has benefits across Europe for road traffic, but it should be limited to this. The purpose of the Directive is to ensure that motor insurance policies are valid across national borders. It is not appropriate to use this Directive to regulate motorcycle sports, and no other Sport in the EU is regulated in this way. Motorcycle sports are important in the EU. These competitions contribute to the economy across different sectors. They are important within the context of the tourism industry. Europe remains the number one destination for tourists from other continents. They are important to the motorcycle industry as a driver for new technology. They are important to the component industry – the companies that supply specific components such as braking systems and other safety critical parts. They are important to the tire industry.
In addition to the spectators who attend events millions of other citizens across the world watch motorcycle sports on television.
An emerging new role is the importance of motorcycle sports in the development of new power train systems that will contribute to future sustainable mobility.
Last, and by no means least, motorcycle sports are important to those who participate as competitors and those who devote much of their time to officiate at events.
If further details on the specifics of motorcycle sports are needed the FIM and its FMNs remain at the disposal of the European Commission.