Roadworthiness Testing – EU Proposal Documents

MAG Ireland has just republished our recent post about the EU’s proposals for roadworthiness testing which are set to include motorcycles for the first time. Irish riders are not alone in thinking that this proposal will do little or nothing to advance it’s stated aims of improving motorcycle safety.

To recap, the key elements of the new proposals as they relate to motorcycles are;

  • Compulsory EU wide testing for scooters and motorbikes.
  • Increasing the frequency of periodic roadworthiness tests for old vehicles.
  • Improving the quality of vehicle tests by setting common minimum standards for deficiencies, equipment and inspectors.
  • Making electronic safety components subject to mandatory testing.

As we noted in our previous post, this is an EU Commission proposal, and at this stage MAG Ireland will be dealing with it through FEMA (The Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations).

The formal EU Commission Documents are available to download from the EU web site at:

MAG Ireland has collated the official documents in the following table:

Proposal for a Regulation on periodic roadworthiness tests
86 KB
Annex to Proposal for a Regulation on periodic roadworthiness tests
327 KB
Proposal for a Regulation on technical roadside inspections
81 KB
Annex to the Proposal for a Regulation on technical roadside inspections
349 KB
Proposal for a Directive amending Directive 1999_37 on registration documents for vehicles
47 KB
Impact Assessment
750 KB
Impact Assessment Study
2048 KB
Summary of the Impact assessment
58 KB
Single ZIP file containing all 8 PDF documents above
2450 KB


There is significant opposition to the proposals from FEMA member organisations, even in countries which already have roadworthiness testing such as the UK and Germany. The following snippets from the FEMA web site give some idea of the depth of feeling on this issue amongst different FEMA members:

Germany:   “BVDM is against the new proposal of the European Commission to reduce the frequency of Road Worthiness Testing from 2 years to annually. Motorcycles especially are kept in good condition by their owners (better than cars, which a recent study shows).”

Norway:  “NMCU finds support for its position in an in-depth study of fatal motorcycle accidents in the years 2005-2009, published by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration in 2011. One of the questions asked in the analysis was if technical failures caused fatal motorcycle accidents. The report concludes: The technical condition of motorcycles has been part of the debate surrounding the safety of motorcycles. In our analysis technical faults have been registered as a cause or contributing factor in only 3% of the accidents. The technical faults have been associated with worn tires and incorrect air pressure. In one instance there was an engine breakdown. Two motorcycles had been modified extensively, and this may have been of significance to the accident. Our analysis gives reason to believe that measures aimed at the technical condition of the vehicle will have limited effect with regard to fatal accidents.”

Sweden:  “In Sweden new motorcycles need to be inspected after four years, then every two years. In 2005, following thorough investigations, the Swedish government decided not to mandate roadworthiness tests for mopeds. Due to good performance the annual test requirement for motorcycles older than ten years was changed in 2004 to biennial tests.”

We in MAG Ireland are in the process of studying the published proposals in tandem with our colleagues in FEMA. MAG Ireland is opposed to roadworthiness testing for motorcycles because there is no evidence that mechanical failure of the motorcycle is in any way a statistically significant factor in motorcycle accidents. The Road Safety Authority agree with us on this point and had this to say in the National Motorcycle Safety Action Plan 2010-2014:

Motorcycle Testing
4.2.8 Currently, motorcycles are not required to be tested in a scheme equivalent to the National Car Test, NCT. While it is accepted that there is little evidence that defective motorcycles are a major factor in causing collisions it is a matter of equity that all vehicles of the road should be maintained to the safest level possible.
4.2.9 The Motorcycle Safety Action Plan will undertake a cost benefit analysis on the introduction of a road worthiness test for motorcycles.

If testing was a significant factor in casualty reduction, we would expect to see big differences between casualty rates between countries which have motorcycle testing and those which don’t. In fact there is no discernible effect. For example, Sweden is the only country in Scandinavia where periodic roadworthiness tests are mandatory for motorcycles. However, Sweden does not have better motorcycle accident statistics than Denmark, Finland or Norway.

Both Sweden and Germany have extended the period between tests for motorcycles in recent years as so few motorcycles fail roadworthiness tests. Where motorcycles do fail the tests, it is commonly due to tyre problems like pressure or thread depth.

MAG Ireland will be reporting further on this issue once we’ve discussed the implications of the proposals with our colleagues in FEMA.