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Here is everything you need to know about taking your motorcycle to Europe DURING the Brexit transition period, and AFTER we leave the EU.

Planning a motorcycle tour in Europe is difficult enough to organise, but now in the wake of the UK’s decision to vote to leave the European Union, there is a lot of information up in the air in regards to riding in Europe in a post-Brexit world.

As of the time of writing, we’re currently in a transition period before leaving the European Union on 31st December 2020, wherein the regulation of travelling within European countries will change.

To keep you informed, we’ve compiled everything you need to know for taking your motorcycle Europe NOW while we’re in the Brexit Transition period, and what will change AFTER we leave the EU in December 2020.

Please bear in mind – the information we detail below is made as accurately as possible using the most reliable information available at the time of writing, however, the situation is ever-changing. Before you travel, make sure to check the official government website to ensure nothing has changed.

Motorcycling in Europe DURING the 2020 Brexit Transition Period

The UK is currently in a transition period before leaving the European Union on 1 January 2021, wherein detailed trade negotiations will be completed.

As of 31st January 2020, the UK entered into an 11-month period of transition, which keeps us within the EU customs union until 31st December 2020. During this time, we will be subject to the European Union’s current rules on trade, business and travel while the UK government negotiate new regulations to be in place post-Brexit.

What does this mean for motorcyclists travelling in Europe? Well in the short-term – nothing yet!

All the current regulations and procedures for travelling in Europe remain the same, so long as your current British passport and driving licence is valid.

Your European Health Insurance card will still provide you access to free or reduced-cost health services on your travels and a Green Card is not currently required. (Keep in mind that EHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance as it will not cover all medical costs, so obtaining travel insurance before you leave is heavily recommended).

You can apply for a free EHIC here: https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/apply-for-a-free-ehic-european-health-insurance-card/

However, this position will change at the end of the transition period on 31st Dec 2020, so for any travel plans you organize past this date, you will need to consider several new regulations we have mentioned below.

Motorcycling in Europe AFTER December 2020

As of 31st Dec 2020, the regulations for travelling from the UK to other countries in Europe (including Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) will change.

Once the transition period is over and UK-EU trade negotiations have concluded, you will need to consider a number of factors before travelling abroad with your bike.

Your British Passport will STILL be valid

For any holidays, trips or tours you make after Brexit - your current British passport will still be valid for travelling within European countries. You will need to ensure you have 6 months remaining on your passport before its expiry date, otherwise you may be denied entry into the country you are travelling to.

As a British citizen, you will need to stand in the ‘non-EU’ queues, and may be subject to increased checks before being admitted into the country you are travelling to. For your itineraries, we would recommend adding extra time for checking in at ferry terminals and the Eurotunnel.

You may need a visa if you’re staying in Europe longer than 90 days

If you are planning a short-term trip to any EU country, you won’t need to obtain a visa to travel within European countries.

However if you’re planning a longer stay in Europe longer than 90 days over any 180 day period, you may need a visa to be granted permission to enter the country. Make sure to check each country’s travel advice page for information on obtaining a visa or permit.

If you are planning a trip to Ireland however, you will still be able to travel freely even after 31st December 2020.

Your EHIC health card will no longer be valid

Once the transition period is over and Britain has left the EU, your European Health Insurance card will no longer be valid. This means that health and emergency cover for travelling UK residents will no longer be free of charge.

To ensure that you’re covered against hospital treatment bills, you will need to purchase private travel and healthcare insurance for the period you are travelling outside the UK and Northern Ireland.

You can find policies on many comparison sites online, however you must ensure any injury or illness sustained as a result of riding a motorcycle or scooter as a ‘main method of transport’ is covered as part of any policy you consider.

This is crucial as many policies will exclude this and you may be liable for any medical costs in full.

You will need an IDP for each country you’re riding in

After Brexit, you will still need to take your UK driving licence abroad to show you can ride a motorcycle or scooter, but you will also need to bring a valid International Driving Permit (IDP) relevant to the country you will be riding in to be legally covered.

An IDP is essentially a driving licence that allows you to ride in an EU country. There are three different types of IDP, based on the years they were passed by legislation, and apply to different EU countries: 1926, 1949 and 1968.

Most counties use the 1968 version, but make sure you check before travelling. You will also need multiple IDPs if your travels span more than one country.

Currently the cost of these permits are £5.50 each but prices differ depending on the various types of IDP and their relevant country. Also if your travel take you through multiple EU countries, you will need to pay for multiple IDPs.

Here’s a run-down of which IDPs are need for where:

1926 IDP:

  • Lichtenstein

1949 IDP:

  • Cyprus
  • Malta
  • Iceland
  • Spain

 

 

1968 IDP:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden

You can purchase these IDPs at the post office: https://www.postoffice.co.uk/international-driving-permit

This situation is constantly changing, so make sure to check the Government website before you travel to ensure you’re not caught out.

You will also require a Green Card

In the event of no agreement on the UK’s relationship with the EU from the end of the transition period, it may be necessary to carry a Green Card during your travels around Europe.

A Green Card is an old-style paper document that is internationally recognised as proof of valid motorcycle insurance. You may be requested to show your Green Card by a police or customs officer(s) at border checkpoints during your travels, so you need to have this on your person while travelling in Europe.

It is against the law to not have a Green Card on your person while you’re travelling and can result in a prosecution for riding with no insurance, a fine or your machine being seized by that country’s authorities.

It can be issued to you by your insurance provider, but you will need to request one ahead of time. Your insurance company may charge you an admin fee, and it can take up to a month for the green card to be processed and dispatched via post, so factor this into your plans and don’t do it last minute.

All UK insurance providers will still offer the legal minimum motorcycle insurance cover for travel to EEA countries so there should be no need to pay for additional insurance with a UK registered vehicle (however we would recommend you review your personal insurance policy before you travel).

However, the current legal minimum cover is Third Party Only and so if you don’t purchase a higher level of cover, whether through a new policy or an add-on to your existing one, then there are a lot of circumstances in which you won’t be covered.

As this situation is changing, the Association of British Insurers is constantly updating advice. You can find their latest advice here: www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/choosing-the-right-insurance/motor-insurance/travelling-to-the-eu-if-a-no-deal-brexit/

No Data Roaming Charges… for now

Thanks to current roaming regulations introduced in 2017, consumers have enjoyed the luxury of data roaming in 28 European destinations without additional charges. Once we officially leave the EU however, this situation becomes a lot less certain and will depend on whatever deal the UK government can secure us before January 2021.

Currently nothing has been confirmed but in the event we leave the EU without a deal, EU data roaming will no longer be regulated and mobile providers may decide to start charging us for the privilege.

This doesn’t necessarily mean all networks will suddenly charge us for using internet abroad – some providers including EE and O2 have previously stated they have no plans to reintroduce roaming costs, but again this could change in the future.

For any touring motorcyclists, this news will be relevant for any rider using their phone for navigational use, as loading apps such as Google Maps or Apple Maps require constant roaming data to update maps and generate routes on the go.

In the event this happens, or to save yourself the hassle, you can get yourself a dedicated GPS device such as a TomTom or Garmin which doesn’t require an internet connection to power its maps.

Once you have downloaded the latest routes and maps via a Wi-Fi connection at home, the device then connects to the Global Position System, which is available free of charge all over the world, and provides traffic updates and routes in real-time. You can shop our collection of GPS devices online here.

Be prepared for your tour with Infinity Motorcycles

Because we don't know what any final Brexit deal will look like, it's impossible to say how UK motorcyclists will be impacted. However, we can only work with what we’ve got – and you have Infinity Motorcycles watching your back!

Whether you're going away for a weekend or a month - we've got the gear to take you the distance. Browse our collection of waterproof motorcycle jacketsintercoms, luggage, sat-nav devices and more online or visit any of our 15 UK stores.

If you're after more advice, check out our Guide to Waterproof Clothing and How To Pack for a Motorcycle Tour.

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This article was written by Jonah Son, Digital Marketing Executive at Infinity Motorcycles

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