Wheelies in Austria could net you a €10,000 fine thanks to new laws

Austria has criminalised wheelies, and those inclined to pick up the front wheel, among other things, could be fined €10,000 for doing so.


A new law in Austria has criminalised wheelies, and the penalty for performing one could be €10,000.

The British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF) reports that “the Austrian government is cracking down on wheelies, stoppies and other vehicle shenanigans [...] and your bike could be impounded for three days,” on top of the up to €10,000 fine.

Austria’s new crackdown on what the BMF describes as “boy racerish games,” is a part of a new amendment to the country’s Motor Vehicles Act. The amendment also outlaws backfiring, doughnuts, wheel-spinning and wheel locking, according to the BMF. 

Of course, all of these activities are potentially risky ones, but they can also be conducted safely. It seems like a bit of a clampdown on enjoyment by the Austrian government, who will no doubt be welcoming several hundreds and even thousands of international bikers when the Red Bull Ring hosts this year’s Austrian Grand Prix on 19-21 August. It could even be a replacement for the Finnish Grand Prix, which is rumoured to be nearing cancellation once again with some facilities still yet to be finished at the KymiRing.

Not only do these penalties seem harsh, but they also seem difficult to police. Sure, in a city - where realistically people should not be stoppie-ing and wheelie-ing anyway - it can be possible, but in the rural back roads and through the mountains, there would need to be an officer on every corner to enforce these rules. 

In the same way police are able to catch people out for speeding with mobile speed cameras here in Britain, it seems the Austrian police will be making similar plays with wheelies and stoppies. It is cynical to suggest, sure, and the BMF Chair, Jim Freeman, does note that The Austrian police are “very good at running roadside checkpoints,” but nonetheless such legislation creates an uneasy feeling.