Italy Effectively Just Banned Off-Road or Adventure Riding
New Law Will Stop you riding your adventure bike off-roadby Harry Fisher, on
It’s the thin end of the wedge as Italy passes a law making it illegal to take your off-road or adventure bike along tracks in forests and across fields. How long until other countries adopt a similar attitude?
Live in Italy? Well, You Might Want to Re-Think That if you like adventure riding
There’s nothing more therapeutic than getting on your dirt or adventure bike at the weekend and heading off into the hills for a bit of muddy R&R. It’s how a lot of us blow off steam: escape into nature, away from the rat race.
In many countries of the world, there are many dirt trails that are legal to ride your powered two-wheeler on. In the UK, they’re called green lanes - ancient byways that escaped being turned into proper roads but which are still public rights of way for vehicular traffic, often to the annoyance of walkers or horse riders.
However, Italy is about to formalise a law that will restrict what vehicles can use paths through forests and across fields. The ruling states that paths less than 2.5m in width cannot be used by motor vehicles. The law isn’t specifically aimed at motorcycles - mountain bikes, ATVs, quads and cars are all banned. Even electric vehicles are banned, indicating that the ban has nothing to do with noise pollution.
Quite naturally, there is strong opposition to the ruling. Adventure bikes are extremely popular in Italy, models such as BMW’s R1250 GS and Honda’s Africa Twin regularly topping sales charts. And, don’t forget, Ducati have just released the DesertX and MV Agusta the Lucky Explorer: imagine how home sales of those new models could be affected if owners can’t ride them anywhere!
It’s not clear why the ruling has been brought in. The National Association of Cycle/Motorcycles Accessories (ANCMA) and the Italian Motorcycle Federation (FMI) have argued the rule is short-sighted and too general, bringing economic harm to certain regions.
There will always be those idiots who make excessive noise and cause damage when riding off-road but was that happening to a larger degree in Italy than elsewhere?
All we know is that, if Italy can do it, what’s to stop the bleating bleeding hearts in other countries from putting even more pressure on governments to do the same and those lily-livered governments caving in, spoiling the fun for everyone other than walkers?