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Are “they” trying to tell us something??

June 5, 2011


Jaywick, England – Is it a coincidence that this years National Ride to Work Day and the introduction in the UK of  a new law called Continuous Insurance Enforcement both take place on June 20…..

Is this another shot across the bows of motorcycling from the UK Department for Transport’s (DfT) motorcycling team in Room 131, Section 7. Situated just by the lift, the small alcove on the right the one with the discreet but none the less conspicuous notice which reads: “Her Majesty’s Government will never endorse a mode of transport, motorcycling, that is inherently dangerous”.

I really must stop reading Conspiracy Theorists Quarterly. I’m beginning to obsess conspiracy theory wise. It is a simple coincidence that National Ride to Work Day and the introduction of Continuous Insurance Enforcement both happen on the same day. Nothing to do with disinformation connecting motorcyclists with being a bunch of road going hooligans who ignore speed limits, don’t bother with vehicle excise duty, insurance or mandatory periodic vehicle inspections (MoT). It’s a coincidence, coincidence, coincidence, it’s not a conspiracy, conspiracy, conspiracy. Right ok I’m over it…..

Upon the subject of Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE).

Scaremongering is the word that springs to mind when current DfT and Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) announcements on the introduction of CIE are read. The DfT and MIB has issued a categorical warning to riders to “get insured ahead of a new crackdown”. At various times they have also said that CIE “will affect all drivers and riders from June 20”, when it will be an “offence to keep an uninsured vehicle, rather than just to drive when uninsured and “the registered keeper must now make sure that their vehicle is insured all the time”. While Mike “the bike” Penning, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, has stated “our message is clear – get insured or face a fine, court action or seeing your car (or bike) seized and destroyed”.

An interpretation of all this rhetoric flying about is that every motorcycle, scooter or moped owner or keeper in the UK is now legally obliged to purchase an insurance policy, even for that box of bits under the stairs that one day I’ll get around to rebuilding  into a bike. That interpretation may well suit the DfT, MIB and Mike “the bike” Penning it is however wrong.

What has not been made crystal clear is that motorcycles, scooters and mopeds with a Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN) and kept  on private land do not need insurance. It would also seem to be the case that if your vehicle was last taxed for road use, Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), before 31 January 1998 and thus does not need to be SORNed it will be exempt from the CIE legislation, provided of course it’s not being used and kept on private land.

But theirs a Catch 22 that the DfT and MIB seem to be keeping very quiet about. What about those without a bit of private land upon which to keep a vehicle. For them it is impossible to SORN a vehicle, they could therefore fall victim to the new legislation. The Department for Transport’s own figures estimate that 43% of households in Britain have neither a garage nor a driveway, forcing vehicle owners to park on the street.

Will CIE be effective? There are some apparent loopholes. CIE relies in part on comparing the registration details held by the MIB for insured vehicles with the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVLA) database. If a vehicle appears uninsured the DVLA will impose a fine and possible crush the vehicle. Provided of course the uninsured vehicle “owner” has provided the DVLA with the correct address!

Then there’s police and DVLA enforcement using road side automatic number plate reading equipment (ANPR). We are assured that this is and will be effective, but with ongoing financial cuts I’m betting that ANPR will be used rather less than more. Thus making those who have access to a so called “community vehicle” more likely to gamble on not being caught.  “Community vehicle” – vehicles which are simple brought from scrap yards or obtained by other means and used with no registered owner, MoT, road tax and insurance with users, sometimes unlicensed, simple seeing fines incurred as a ‘transport cost’.


UK National Ride to Work Day is on Monday June 20 more details here…..

What ever you ride, ride with pride!

© Back Roads Rider 2011

7 Comments leave one →
  1. June 5, 2011 8:08 pm

    “Her Majesty’s Government will never endorse a mode of transport, motorcycling, that is inherently dangerous”.

    Try bicycling! THAT is dangerous. I’m 48. Have been (motor bike) riding since I was 18. have never been involved in a motorcycle accident.

    I have also cycled. Been taken out once (hit from behind) I was 38 at the time, and going in a straight line.

    My oldest son (22) was overtaken by a car that pulled in too soon, and took him out (but he’s never been in any car accident despite driving since he was 18). A year later and the driver hasn’t been prosecuted, and ignored letters from the solicitor etc etc and he’s still fighting the case – despite witnesses all saying it was doing nothing wrong.

    And other son (now 18) was taken out by white van man opening his door as he cycled past (scarred for life, and did receive compensation).

    My wife, also drives (and rides pillion) no accidents. oooooh except on her bike, where she was hit by a car.

    Hmmm Boris has just bought bikes hasn’t he (I wonder how log it will be before somone gets taken out!)

  2. Dave permalink
    June 6, 2011 8:18 am

    It’s not conspiracy, it’s to align with international ride to work day. Sadly in the UK the 20th June is also the start of bike week – as in cycling – which means no local authority is likely to be supporting ride to work day; now there’s a conspiracy theory for you…

    The CIE legislation effects all vehicles, not just motorcycles, so could be seen as a step in the right direction to deal with uninsured drivers. However as you say it wont deter those who don’t register their vehicle etc. And as for ANPR, it’s cheap, effective and technology based so I suspect we’ll be seeing more of it, not less… which is a shame because it doesn’t tackle bad drivers who are fully licensed, taxed and insured.

  3. Elaine permalink
    June 7, 2011 1:56 pm

    In January 2005, MAG UK responded to the consultation put out by the DfT in Continuous Insurance. (page 3 to 6 of February’s Network)

    “The consultation aims to introduce a system which will effectively be used to prosecute ALL uninsured vehicles from the record, which in reality will be their keepers. This includes when the vehicle is “off the road” and will rely on a combination of MID records and ANPR technology for immediate checks. This would enable prosecution irrespective of whether the keeper is actually using the vehicle on the road or keeping the uninsured vehicle on private property.
    However, Third Party Only is a legally-binding contract in law of “cover” for exposure of the covering company to a risk.

    If the driver does not take his vehicle on the road, then no insurance company is exposed to any risk
    whatsoever. The “customer” or policy holder may be forced by law to pay for risk cover (a service or contract) which does not legally exist and will be fined or punished for not handing over cash to an insurance company for such a nonexistent risk. Such a scheme turns motor insurance into a form of tax paid to a private company with no benefit whatsoever to the victim”.

    etc etc

    • Elaine permalink
      June 7, 2011 6:48 pm

      PS – forgot to add – CIE is not being enacted in Norn Iron …:-)

  4. Dave permalink
    June 8, 2011 3:01 pm

    Pish. If your vehicle is declared SORN you don’t have to insure it. Simple. If your vehicle is on the road it must have a tax (VED or whatever) disc and also insurance. Not really sure what the issue is. The big bugbear I think will be where the database isn’t kept up to date by the insurers…

    Insurance companies are exposed to risk where fire & theft or fully comp cover is applicable even if the vehicle is never taken on the road. If you have a registered frame and box of bits in the garage then as long as you SORN it every year you don’t have to insure it.

    This will of course effect those riders who only ride for a few months of the year and don’t really see the point of tax, insurance or MOT’s but then that’s their look out. I shell out to be road legal, why shouldn’t they?! Anyone who’s been hit by an uninsured driver will know the hassle and misery it can cause. Perhaps this will incentivise people to keep up to date with all the relevant paper work that goes with keeping a vehilce, it is a priviledge not a right after all…

  5. Elaine permalink
    June 10, 2011 2:28 pm

    and Pish and Tosh …..

    It is legalised extortion. Even if the vehicle is SORNed, motorists will need to pay money anyway (cancellation/administration fees etc) to an insurance company to exempt them from prosecution. But since the vehicle cannot be used on a public road, there can be no legal contract because there is no risk.
    In this country, a person driving a specific vehicle has TPO insurance, not the just the vehicle. This is not the case in most other countries where only the vehicle is insured for TPO. If only the vehicle has TPO, then anybody with a valid licence can drive it, but clearly if the person is insured, this ultimately gives the insurers tremendous powers of selection to make the absolute maximum amount of profit. However, the ANPR system would be “driven” on the concept of the vehicle being insured. Yet insurance centres on each individual person or keeper being insured. This creates inconsistencies between the way ANPR will work and insurance. Furthermore, it will not make any difference to criminals who could simply clone vehicles to avoid detection.

    The most effective way to reduce the ‘problem’ of uninsured vehicles, is to make insurance affordable for all by
    providing a scheme with Road Traffic Act Only cover (3rd Party Only). The best solution is to separate out Road
    Traffic cover (TPO) from the other ‘products’ and in our view, for the government to put this compulsory element out to tender to insurers for a fixed period (as in countries such as Australia and Japan). Simply legislating against the motoring public is unrealistic and will distort the insurance market further, creating more hardship and encouraging higher insurance premiums.


  1. El Camino – The Road

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