Today is a sad day for scooterists who live in Milan, and for any tourists who might want to ride through the city. As part of the ever-tightening Europe-wide ULEZ/anti-pollution measures, Milan has banned all pre-Euro 1 vehicles from riding (or driving) into or around the city during peak times of the week (07:30 am-19:30 pm) from today.
If you think back to Euro Lambretta 2017 in Italy, many of you rode through Milan as part of the trip. I know dozens of you posed for photos on the scooter statue (pictured above) near to the former gates of the Innocenti factory. From today you can still ride to the factory but can no longer ride your vintage Lambretta (or Vespa) in the city itself. Times are changing rapidly for lovers of classic vehicles.
- Euro 1 for motorcycles came into force on the 17th of June 1999
- Euro 2 in 2005
- Euro 3 in 2007
- Euro 4 in 2017
- Euro 5 arrives in 2020
As part of Euro 5 we ‘look forward to’ new motorcycles having to perform under the WMCT – World Motorcycle Test Cycle. They’ll also be subjected to tightening of the CO, HC and NOx limits, as well as a reduction in the PM – (Particulate Matter) limit. It also means a more advanced OBD2 – On-Board Diagnostics system will be required to enable a bike to self diagnose and self-correct issues to make sure emissions standards are met and maintained for the lifetime of the vehicle.
We spoke to local Milan scooterist, Mauro Zeta from Officina Supersprint. He told us that the rules are very confusing but it allows residents of Milan to register a non-complaint historic vehicle with the authorities using the plate number, chassis number etc. They are then allowed to drive the vehicle in the city on just 25 days of the year. Before driving within the city they have to ask for permission. If they own more than one vehicle (like many of us own a few scooters) they can still only ride them into the city on 25 days in total, rather than per scooter. The city is covered by numerous cameras and fines issued automatically.
Non-residents are allowed to enter on just five days a year with advance permission (although it’s unclear if overseas visitors would be allowed). Either way, I recently received a letter of impending prosecution from a visit to Milan last November. I’d inadvertently driven a hire car into Zone C without knowing there was a congestion charge in operation (it would have been handy if the hire company had told me about it, rather than charging me €45 for administration costs for the letter they sent out afterwards).
A quarter of a million machines
Milan currently has 156,736 motorcycles and scooters, as well as 93,400 mopeds on its roads, many of those will spend the majority of their time parked up from today.
Milan is a heavily congested city. Restricting the use of many of the four-wheeled vehicles overnight will undoubtedly improve movement around the city at peak times and of course, reduce pollution.
Two wheels better
We all know that two wheels are the best way to travel and a ban on the use of culturally significant older vehicles is another nail in the coffin for personal transport and freedom of choice. Even with a fantastic, modern public transport system in operation, you’re still limited as to where and when you can travel. Being able to park at, or close to work, the shops or even your favourite cafe or bar is becoming less and less of an option throughout Europe.
Milan motorcycles and moped bans
- February 25th 2019 two strokes pre-Euro 1 banned
- October 1st 2024, two-stroke Euro 2, four-stroke pre0 Euro 1
- October 1st 2025 two-stroke Euro 3, four-stroke Euro 2
- October 1st 2028 four-stroke Euro 4
- 2030 two-stroke Euro 4
New products always in development…