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Sorn Again Bikers!!

January 14, 2011


Gloucester, England – In the lands of the North, where the Black Rocks stand guard against the cold sea, in the dark night that is very long the bikers of the Northlands sit by their great log fires and they tell a tale….

They speak of times past when bikers roamed free on the highways and byways of the great lands to the South. They recount the myths and legends of the industry soothsayers and government wizards who, from the comfort of their ivory towers, promised much power and freedom but delivered only constraint and taxation, blaming an elfin gathering far to the east for the bikers woes.

Then as the dawn light strikes the ground around them the bikers stand in silence. A lone advocated faces the rising sun and reading from a tattered copy of the holy Roadus voices the words of the sacred rite, calling upon the mighty god Magnus and his hand maiden Bmfus to return and free them from governmental restraints.

A brief glimpse into the future! Back on planet BRR it’s once again time to discuss continuous insurance enforcement (CIE) and its means of application, statutory off road notification (SORN). 

After four years of prevarication, CIE was originally part of the 2006 Road Safety Act, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport Mike Penning has decided to sign off CIE and thus allow it to be implemented. It will be illegal to keep an uninsured vehicle – irrespective of whether it is being driven or not. The new measure will be enforced by comparing the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) database with that held by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

There is no doubt that we need this legislation or a least something to curtail the current high level of uninsured vehicles. The facts of the issue speak for themselves:-

There are an estimated two million drivers/riders on our roads driving without insurance.

Uninsured vehicles on Britain’s roads add an estimated £30 to the premium of each law-abiding driver/rider

Each year 160 people a year are killed and 230,000 are injured by uninsured and untraceable drivers/riders

One in ten drivers/riders has been involved in an accident with an uninsured driver.

Uninsured drivers/riders are ten times more likely to drive whilst over the drink drive limit.

Uninsured drivers/riders are three times more likely to be convicted for a dangerous driving offence.

The total cost of uninsured vehicle damage to the law-abiding drivers/riders in the UK is estimated to be about £380 million.

There are 900,000 motorists under the age of 30 who are currently driving with no vehicle insurance.

We have a problem, but then we have had a problem for the last twenty years with little or no action being taken. Now we have a solution that will, to a large extent, only target the law-abiding. For the system relies on having an accurate address data base for vehicle owners, thus if you fail to register or obtain a vehicle that is unregistered you will effectively circumvent the SORN/CIE legislation. Then there is the issue of those who legitimately SORN a vehicle but have no where off ‘the public highway’ to keep it.

We are promised that the DVLA and the police will step up their operations to detect uninsured vehicles, but with recession driven cuts expected in both the prospect of ‘getting away’ with driving or riding without insurance would seem high.

Meantime the owners of registered vehicles who fail to either insure them or declare SORN face a £100 fine or having their car seized and possibly crushed.

The question, why now grates. The insurance industry is in hard times, profits are low, payouts via the MIB to those hit by uninsured drivers and riders are rising. What better time to introduce legislation that will increase insurance take up and profits. Cynical perhaps, but coupled with government plans to allow insurance companies access to drivers records, held in the DVLA database, and thus better access insurance premiums perhaps not.

Is this after all about ensuring profits and bonuses for insurance companies rather than road safety.

Ride safe and assured!

With acknowledgment to the late great Oliver Postgate and the Dragon Friendly Society.

© Back Roads Rider 2011

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Ian Cook permalink
    January 14, 2011 2:01 pm

    Interesting stuff… Motor insurance is NOT COMPULSORY in New Zealand and maybe other places… How does that work, then?

    • Back Roads Rider permalink*
      January 14, 2011 11:04 pm

      I’ve checked this out with resident meerkat:-

      In New Zealand the only component of compulsory insurance is the portion a motorist pays as part of their vehicle registration fees. This covers any injury or medical claims if you are at fault in accident, but doesn’t cover any damage to vehicles or property.


      Insurance wise Papua New Guinea is the place to go. A friend of mine decided that her life needed changing so ended up doing three years in PNG on an Australian Government contract.

      On her first day she got the usual induction including advice on what to do in case of a car accident. She was told in no circumstances to stop even if it was minor and she had a gun. Simple drive away regardless of the consequences to the vehicle or anyone else involved. When she asked why she was given copies of the local paper which described how locals sorted road traffic accidents by attacking those considered at fault with machetes and spears.

  2. Bruce permalink
    January 15, 2011 12:55 pm

    In Australia there is a similar scheme called CTP which is basic third party insurance for injuries which is paid at the same time as road tax. The only risk calculations made are for engine size and location of keeper. This is government controlled (in most states) and it means that in Australia there is a far lower proportion of uninsured drivers – because it’s cheap.

    Anyway MAG put out a detailed response to the consultation on continuous insurance in 2005

    On the campaigns site:

  3. Dave permalink
    January 17, 2011 8:56 am

    BRR you can’t legitimately declare SORN unless you have somewhere ‘off road’ to keep it – the clue is in the Off Road bit of Statutory Off Road Notification… If you keep your vehicle on the road you’ll have to tax and insure it. If you play by the rules and SORN a vehicle you’re not insuring (and therefore not using) then you’ll be fine. The problem will come when the MIB database isn’t kept up to date properly and you get a fine despite being insured. Then they’ll come and crush your car and you’ll ring your insurance company to make a claim and they’ll ask you what happened… then there will be an interesting silence.


  1. El Camino – The Road

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