Progress for hopeful European motorcycle tourers - bikes loaded in vans are okay

Taking motorcycles in the back of a van into the EU has been cleared, the problem now sits with getting a third party to freight your bike out to meet you.

BMF freight van loading

Following Brexit, European motorcycle tours & freighting looked in doubt due to the complications from paperwork and customs headaches. Travelling into Europe on your bike is no problem, rather the issues arise when you seek to take/send over your motorcycle by van or trailer.

We covered this story earlier in the year as flaws were found in the customs agreements for motorcycle touring - bikes loaded in vans were to be treated as cargo rather than a vehicle, and were then subject to needlessly complicated customs regulations, and plunging EU tours into jeopardy. 

Fighting the corner of the bikers, the National Motorcyclists Council, led by Anna Zee, has announced some progress as they are seeking a solution & confirmations in what is allowed.

In a recent update, it was confirmed that hauling your motorcycle in the back of a van is okay - so long as you’re with the bike. That’s put down as ‘owner accompanied’ travel.

So, if you’re with a mate with two bikes in the van, provided both owners are there too it’s all gravy. Important to note here: it’s vital you have the original copies of your documents with you.

Problems still arise if you’re not with the bike, instead opting for a third-party shipping company to ‘freight’ your bike out to the EU - and following Brexit, all goods are subject to customs regulations. 

If your bike is not road registered (so for racing and/or exhibiting) you can go down the ATA Carnet route. If it is road registered… well, that’s where the NMC has got up to, claiming that the official answer varies depending on who they speak to and the day of the week (ie nobody has a scooby doo) citing the customs officials on the other side of the channel unwilling to offer a solution.

The NMC has suggested a single page document that could be obtained similar to an International Driving Permit, but it appears far more difficult to solve than initially anticipated.

Interestingly, as noted in the release: “In 2021 it is actually easier to ship a bike by sea or air to America or the Far East than to Europe – there are clearly recognised procedures for wider international destinations.”

Have a read of the full release for the full ins & outs on the BMF site, but in short: Bike(s) in the van with you - all good. Bike(s) shipped out to meet you there - problems.

Fancy an alternative European motorcycle tour? How about the NC500 - Honda CB500 tour

New Honda CBR500R, Honda CB500X & Honda CB500F Review 2022 | Honda CB500 Launch Ride Test 2022