UK motorcycle anti-tampering laws to be discussed in Parliament today

Draconian anti-tampering laws are set to be discussed in parliament today, as MPs could make modifying your bike more difficult than before

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NEW legislation being discussed in parliament today could put an end to many of the most common motorcycle modifications currently used by bikers. The new anti-tampering laws are not in place yet though, but what does it mean if they do go through?

Given that these new laws could drastically remodel the motorcycle landscape in the UK, we’ve already given them quite a bit of airtime here on Visordown.com. If you’d like a full refresh on the details, head to this article, and this one. If not, stay tuned.

UK anti-tampering laws explained

The proposals could create new offences for ‘tampering with a system, part or component of a vehicle intended or adapted for use on the road’. That definition in itself seems totally open-ended. It makes even innocuous tasks, like swapping over to LED indicators, seem like you are falling foul of the legislation. In truth, that doesn’t seem to be the case, although with such open-ended and vague definitions being passed around, you can understand why people are starting to worry.

There will be offences created to deal with riders who render a system of their existing road legal motorcycle inoperative. So, things like catalytic convertor removal, removing the lights and using a daytime MoT (although that in itself is a grey area!), or unlinking the braking system on your Honda VFR. By the wording used in the proposal, these could all become outlawed.

The anti-tampering laws will also make it illegal for firms to advertise, supply, or install what is described as a ‘tampering product.’ It doesn’t take a market analyst to understand what that will do to many of the small and large aftermarket accessory companies in the UK and Europe, although fairly widespread decimation would be a good starting point.

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Why are the anti-tampering laws being discussed?

The main driver behind this piece of legislation is environmental impacts. The government isn’t looking to ban any and all modifications on any and all bikes. What they are looking to do is prevent riders from removing technology from their bike that increases the amount of pollution it produces.

The DfT confirmed that the anti-tampering laws were not intended to stop motorcycle customisation totally. Unless the modifications and adaptations negatively affect the environmental performance or speed of a motorcycle. That sounds fairly straightforward, but still, this is very open-ended wording that is ripe for misconstruing further down the line.

Even taking the scope of the legislation into account, there are still masses of modifications that take place on a daily basis that could become illegal in the future. That has a massive knock-on effect to the aftermarket parts industry and could effectively push people out of their jobs. We just hope that the consultation survey that has been running for a few weeks now has been effective in getting the message across to MPs.