VAT, Bus Lanes & road conditions top biking issues in upcoming elections

A straw poll carried out among MAG Ireland members has revealed that the top motorcycling issues in the upcoming elections are:

  • The punitive 23% “luxury” VAT rate on helmets
  • The condition of road surfaces, particularly on secondary roads
  • The extension of the existing bus lane access to all bus lanes


no-vat-150x150It comes as no surprise that the VAT issue tops the list. Riders and dealers alike have long highlighted the steady stream of business to Northern Ireland where there’s no VAT applicable to helmets at the expense of the trade and the exchequer South of the border. Indeed MAG Ireland has made many budget submissions highlighting the problem, thus far to no avail.


Road conditions are also a perennial issue, particularly at this time of the year. Austerity era spending cuts only served to exacerbate what was already a fairly dire situation with road maintenance and nowhere more so than on secondary routes. MAG Ireland continues to raise road conditions with the relevant authorities whenever these are brought to our attention and we also encourage riders to use the Fix My Street web site: at

Bus Lanes

motorcycles in bus lanes

Progressive thinking

Access to Bus Lanes has always been something of an “Irish solution to an Irish problem”. Motorcyclists have had legal access to several bus lanes for over a decade now, but of course custom and practice is that we as riders tend to use all of them. The Gardai tasked with the sharp end of traffic management generally apply discretion provided the rider is being sensible and riding responsibly.

Bus gates are a relatively recent addition to traffic management plans and again responsible riders rarely find themselves discussing it with a member of the Gardaí at the roadside.

From our past discussions with the RSA, the Gardaí and the local authorities on this issue it is clear that the roadblock is a political one, there being no safety argument against the use of bus lanes – as our legal access to certain bus lanes demonstrates. We continue to work on this issue by highlighting the sensible approach taken in Northern Ireland.

Other issues

We’ve also heard from you on issues such as insurance (particularly on trikes), licensing, VRT, parking and many more besides. We in MAG Ireland continue to advocate for and on behalf of Irish motorcyclists across a range of issues which affect us.

Riders Are Voters!

We’ll be lining up further information and resources as part of our Riders are Voters campaign in the run up to the election to help you bring these issues to the attention of the candidates.