Law on motorbikes to tighten

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The Transport Ministry is moving to change the law on driving licences for mopeds and motorbikes to reduce road accidents involving motorcyclists.

It said a proposal shaped by the road safety council had been approved this week by the cabinet.

Announcing the decision, the ministry highlighted that 16 motorcyclists lost their lives in road accidents in 2019, 14 in 2020 and 14 in 2021.

Authorities have been criticised for being too lax when issuing learners and driving licenses to motorcyclists, especially moped drivers.

Until recently, the laws did not require moped drivers to take lessons with an instructor, or pass a driving test, essentially allowing them to self-educate themselves.

Motorcyclists can drive mopeds and certain types of motorcycles with a provisional motorcycle license.

As things stand, the provisional licence is obtained merely by passing a road sign test without a driving test on the road.

The Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Transport Ministry’s proposal to amend the law, which would require a licensed driving instructor to accompany learner drivers on another vehicle.

The new legislation will bring drastic changes to the delivery industry, as drivers can work solely with a learner’s license.

It is known that the majority of delivery drivers are currently using mopeds and motorcycles with certain specifications without a proper license.

Under the new law, a learner license will only be valid for two years.

If holders fail to pass a driving test, they will have to retake the test for a provisional license.

Furthermore, the new legislation will require that learner drivers wear more protective clothing, such as high visibility vests and trousers, boots, protective knee pads and gloves.

Wearing protective gear will also apply to drivers who use motorbikes and mopeds for work, such as delivery and messengers.

Mopeds and motorbikes used by delivery services will also be equipped with airbags.

The ministry announced that it will be launching a subsidy plan for protective equipment for motorcyclists for 2022-2024, with a budget of €1.050 mln.

The scheme will subsidise all types of protective equipment, prioritising the purchase of protective vest-type airbags.

The proposal will have to be approved by parliament, but authorities do not expect that MPs will alter much.