Mopeds recognised as a solution for the kids
Back in October 2019, the Bundestag – Germany’s federal parliament – passed a draft law amending their Road Traffic Act allowing the federal states to decide for themselves about the reduction of the minimum age for driving mopeds for their area.
In the past, when asked whether the law governing the age at which someone could ride a moped in the UK would be lowered, my reply was always that I could never see an MP here with the balls to do that. It seems however than in Germany they do have such a vision – and the balls – as well as understanding that powered two-wheelers are a solution to transport problems. For example the lack of public transport in rural areas, especially in the east, is one reason as to why the AM15 licence concept has been passed.
A trial of the scheme began back in 2013, aimed at helping younger people in areas with a poorer infrastructure. A result of the recent law change means that in states which decide to lower the age from 16, then 15 year olds should find it easier to attend schools, colleges, universities as well as begin apprenticeships and work.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out in Germany. As many know, France and Italy already allow 14 year olds to ride mopeds, and in Spain it’s 15. How many states in Germany allow the age drop will be the first thing to watch with those covering rural areas likely to be the first.
The new law could also see a welcome boost in both moped and motorcycle/scooter sales in Germany too. With more people learning to ride and developing road sense they will likely appreciate the benefits of two-wheels for longer, as well as have a better idea of how vulnerable riders can be too.
The other question is whether other countries – the UK included of course – decide to follow suit. On the one hand, passing such a law technically awards a Government points for looking out for their youth, passing a law to give them more opportunity, and at the same time not costing the taxpayer any money by way of fixing, replacing or building new public transport and related infrastructure. On the negative side, let’s hope we don’t see a rise in casualties on the road as a result of this.
Overall though, this can only be good for those of us who ride, whatever we ride. More riders with us gives us more presence and power on the roads, and hopefully those that cover the miles on two-wheels will also go on to be better car drivers too. Fingers crossed…
** ScooterNova is an independent scooter magazine published bi-monthly. Edition 17 was published on 21 December 2019 and covers Jan/Feb 2020.
For more details visit the main website, and to order the magazine or subscribe and have it delivered to your door anywhere in the world, visit the online shop here.