The change requires that those who rent a motorcycle in Greece must have a separate motorcycle license from their home countries. Previously, an ordinary driver's license was sufficient to get you on the back of a bike in Greece. Technically, even a 50 cc motorbike falls under this requirement.
The reason for the crackdown? Foreign visitors have been injuring themselves at an increasing rate as alcohol and inexperience combine to take their toll. Already burdened with one of the highest road accident rates in the EU, this measure is meant not only to protect tourists from themselves but also to improve Greece's road safety reputation.
Many EU nations have always required separate licensing for motorcycles, which is true in the United States as well. British reports indicate that British citizens believe that they are being singled out under the new policy, but would-be riders from the United States should also be aware that this requirement will apply to them.
Organized Tours by Motorcycle in GreeceNot sure if you want to do it all on your own? A number of companies in Greece offer motocycle tours of Greece and the Greek islands. One of these is Greenways Motorcycle Tours based on the island of Crete. Wolfgang at Greenways points out that riders do need a Class A license which they have possessed for at least one year in order to rent from Greenways, and with that, they also need to have an International Driving Permit. He also recommends reservations well in advance; despite the recent economic slowdown, his excursions have been busier than usual, due to repeat clients and also because of more women seeking out motorcycle adventure trips. "They're asking for smaller bikes, so we've extended our fleet in the 200-230 cc group," Wolfgang says.
Greenways operates year-round, with the busiest periods usually in the spring and fall months. "But this year (2009) we had a very busy August." He also adds that all riders need to wear helmets or risk a minimum 100 Euro fine from the Greek traffic officers.
Motorcycle Events in GreeceThe Harley Davidson Club in Greece maintains a list of rallies and events on their website. In 2010, they sponsored a rally, the "SuperRally" in Patras, Greece during May 20-24, 2010. Here's a video (in Greek) from the SuperRally in Greece. Will it happen again? Probably not. Note that the English language version of the page is not working, and no events have been posted recently on the Greek pages.
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