Laws for motorcycle riders, introduced by the Italian parliament in August, are proving too severe, according to the national union of local and city police. The laws allow the police to confiscate a motorcycle under certain conditions such as: if two people are caught riding a low powered (50cc) motorcycle; when motorcyclists are riding without a helmet or with one that is not correctly strapped on; if they are carrying a large object or animal which is not in a cage; if they are driving using only one hand, or smoking or talking on a cell phone. The owner of a confiscated motorcycle has 30 days in which to appeal for the return of the vehicle, after which it is sold at auction and the money used to pay the police expenses for moving and storing the cycle.

The measures are so unpopular that in one case a group of youths stoned local police who were attempting to confiscate a motorcycle.

Up to now 40 motorcycles have been confiscated in Milan, 42 in Palermo, 100 in Rome and 600 in Naples, where the city authorities hope that the law will not be altered since it is proving to be a valuable weapon in the fight against bag-snatching.