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Heads Up On EU Plans for Motorcycle Emissions…..

January 31, 2010

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=vehicle+exhaust&iid=3038077″ src=”d/1/2/b/Flooded_Motorbike_f07d.jpg?adImageId=9642599&imageId=3038077″ width=”380″ height=”269″ /]

Western-Super-Mare, England – The European Commission has made public its plans to clampdown on air pollution and climate warming emissions from motorcycles and scooters.

Speaking at the Association des Constructeurs Européens de Motocycles (ACEM) Annual Conference, held in Brussels last Thursday, Giacomo Mattino, a senior official in the EU Directorate for Enterprise and Industry, outlined proposals that will oblige motorcycle manufacturers to label new models with the amount of carbon dioxide they emit. This will be followed by legislation to limit other pollutants in motorcycle and scooter exhaust gases.

What does this mean? Motorcycle and scooters manufactures will have to label new models with details of their CO2 output using fuel consumption as a basis for that calculation. This will be followed by carbon caps limiting the CO2 output by engine size. Motorcycles and scooters currently lag 7 years behind cars in terms of emissions with new models having to meet Euro 3 standards. EU regulators are looking at curbing particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons even further by bringing forward proposals for Euro 4 and 5 standards to be introduced as early as 2015-16. This will effectively give motorcycles and scooters parity with cars.

What is the upside/downside for riders? With the CO2 information riders will, should they decide to, be able to choose a machine that best fulfil their needs based on mpg and CO2 outputs. If Euro 5 is achieved motorcycles and scooters will be among the least polluting carbon based fuel powered transport modes, achieving the same levels of emissions as hybrid cars. This will at last silence the anti’s allegations that our mode is a gross polluter.

Downsides! The price on machines will not doubt rise as manufactures seek to recover the costs of developing technology. It is extremely likely that a CO2 based road tax system will be introduced, as has recently happened in Spain. As is the case with cars in the UK bikes will be tax banded according to there CO2 emissions. This will certainly mean that larger engined machines will pay more, although smaller engines bikes may pay nothing.

Its is worth noting comment from Jacques Campagne, the Secretary General of ACEM. Up to this point ACEM had opposed the introduction of CO2 labelling on the basis that national governments could take advantage of the information in order to impose new taxes on buyers. However Campagne is reported as saying in Brussels that the industry would not oppose any new rules on labelling. To say the least a climb down.

Could it be that during all the bargaining and horse trading that surrounds European legislation ACEM has agreed to CO2 labelling and emission controls in exchange for financial assistance for an ailing industry. Not to mention that a faster tightening of Euro emission standards will have a controlling effect on motorcycle and scooter imports from the Far East, in particular China.

Oh and the back story. All this ‘sudden’ movement on emissions is part a new EU framework regulation for motorcycles and scooters to regulate emissions and the safety of motorcycles. The regulations on emissions will almost certainly include stringent anti-tampering measures. Anti-tampering measures cover the motorcycle power train i.e. engine, transmits drive shaft / belt drive / chain drive, differentials, the final drive,  the driven wheel tyre (radius) and of course the exhaust system. Not forgetting on-board diagnostic systems, access to repair and maintenance information and pan European standards for MoT type tests. In short legislation that will deny bikers the traditional right to fettle up and personalise their machines.

ACEM supports many of the anti-tampering proposals. Considering the huge profits manufactures and dealers make from after market modifications and shiny add-ons this seems bizarre. But then we can only guess what goes on behind those closed doors in the way of Euro Machiavellian deals!!

Not to worry the Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations (FEMA) is looking after our interests. Well err actually they are not. Hanging around the edge of meetings suggesting things like a test every time a new or modified part is fitted is not really looking after our rights is it. But building a caucus of MEP’s prepared to speak up for us and vote out parts of Directives we cannot support is. So why doesn’t FEMA do it. If you can’t get in on the horse trading get in on the politics and influence things there.

Make ACEM and the EU posse remember that the customer is always right, and we are the customers, it’s our democracy. It’s the industry fools who have peddled sports bikes for the last thirty years that have caused us to be burdened with totally excessive road safety legislation and un passable tests.

Oh and please Mr Industry don’t bleat out the usual excuse: ‘well you brought them’ we had to, you didn’t sell anything else.

© Back Roads Rider 2010

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Chris Hodder permalink
    January 31, 2010 1:09 am

    “Hanging around the edge of meetings suggesting things like a test every time a new or modified part is fitted is not really looking after our rights is it” – did you witness this or are you making suppositions? Which meetings are you talking about?

    Carping anonymously from the side lines again – hardly looking after our rights is it?

  2. Popeye & Olive Oyl permalink
    January 31, 2010 11:09 am

    The sad part about all this is that nobody out there seems to be interested. True, the BMF published a piece at the beginning of 2009 to encourage riders to contact their MEPs – including a draft letter to use. The only problem with the letter , is that there is no mention of emissions (which is at the heart of the whole discussion) and that’s what the EU (DG Enterprise) are using to beat us over the head with.

    They (EU Commission) tried the ABS brake tactic – but that didn’t work, because ACEM told them that they are introducing these system voluntarily to the motorcycle fleet and have signed the European Road Safety Charter to this effect.

    That didn’t work, then 74Kw bhp – that didn’t work, part of the evidence used was the EUs own commissioned paper that clearly identified that, “there is no scientific evidence that engine size is a major factor in motorcycle accidents; engine size does not emerge as a separate risk factor”.

    So they tried anti-tampering for safety reasons- which is already there for 50 cc mopeds – the EU asked for additional measures that could easily improve the legislation on anti-tampering, none where found and no improvement was thought needed to improve legislation that would restrict modification to motorcycles (but then the industry came up with a whole selection of anti-tampering proposals so that they could cash in on the new 3DLD changes)

    So then the EU commission focussed on emissions – and have started putting the screws on consumers (that’s us) to explain why they shouldn’t introduce a whole raft of restrictions to stop us from modifying the power train – (their excuse is because we might interfere with emissions and thus cause pollution). Well there’s a whole discussion apart from this about the fact that we don’t even know what the emissions of our bikes are – because the industry doesn’t want to invest to find out (and would rather that be left for mandatory MOTs on emissions – so that we pay).

    There is a 272 paged German study from a company called TUV that details all the anti-tampering issues with pretty tables and colours and they could only find that 0.4% of the bikes tested had evidence of tampering on the exhaust – that in real terms folks is what is known as the square root of F – all. So of the 33.2 million two wheeled vehicles in Europe, there is a potential problem which does not effect 99.6% of bikes. Now that is what I would call drastic action.

    I suppose you could compare it to terrorism – i.e. because of the actions of a minority, the civilised world is threatened and so, scrutinised, kept under surveillance and told to be afraid – very afraid. Maybe that’s the logic?

    If anybody thinks that avoiding the issue “I’ll do it anyway” – think again! To give you a taste of what could happen – in the US “violating this anti-tampering law opens you up to a fine of up to $10,000 per occurrence”.

    I agree that FEMA’s defence has been feeble and in the end will do more harm than good, not least because the guys at DG Enterprise (who are engineers) will wet themselves laughing when they read FEMA’s position paper. Apart from the reasons you mention above, the document they put up on behalf of the consumers (that’s us) is philosophical drivel in badly written English.

    MAG UK appear to have done absolutely nothing about the whole framework regulations issue – I guess they’re view is that “FEMA is dealing with it”…..

    We’re now at this stage and my feeling is that the only way the EU Commission will listen is if we repeat the multi-directive demos throughout Europe – and in 1996 – that’s when 25000 bikers descended on the EU commission in Brussels and scared the bejesus out of the politicians (and civil servants).

    The only tactic that worked then was a united front. But sadly – that’s not going to happen, because the people we’ve put in place to lead the charge are either too old, too lazy, too disinterested, too busy, too timid, too clever, (please tick whatever applies) to care or inspire.

    We could ask MCN to lead the charge, but they’re part of the problem, and infact when riders in the UK were asked to go to Brussels (with MCN/MAG/BMF handbagging each over the glory of who organised it and MCIA in the background with a hands off approach)) to protest against the 3rd Driving Licence Directive in 2005 – around 200 turned up – nobody came from other EU countries (except the Netherlands and Belgium) because FEMA didn’t want to upset the EU Commission or the industry then – and from where we’re sitting – nothing’s changed.

    Answers on a postcard…..

  3. Dave permalink
    February 1, 2010 9:15 am

    Quite obvious why the industry is supporting the anti-tamper measures, money. If it’s not possible to service or tinker with your bike at home you are forced to take it to a main dealer who can then charge you £50 an hour labour plus genuine parts… much like the car industry now. The reason there’s just a plastic box under the bonnet of most cars is to put people off doing it themselves – any reasonably competant spanner wielder can change oil and filters, or pads and discs for that matter. Take Audi for example, they wont allow any independant garages to have access to the diagnostic software they use when they plug a laptop into your A4, or whatever, and so if you want it done ‘properly’ you have to go to an approved Audi dealer. I bet Honda et al are rubbing their hands together at the thought of all those service parts and hours of labour they can charge for just getting the fairings off… And you wonder why the new VFR1200 is so complex? It’s all about money and it always will be.

  4. Viking permalink
    February 1, 2010 6:46 pm

    Big changes at the Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations (FEMA)

    Taken from Swedish Riders’ organisation SMC press release on their website – google translation needed for those who don’t speak Swedish!

    At FEMA’s annual meeting last weekend (30th January, 2010) there was major organizational changes. It was considered that too much time and resources were spent on internal issues rather than lobbying in Brussels. As a result, there was a change in the distribution of votes in which the smaller organizations have now more power. In addition, four individuals voted by all organizations were elected to a Board of Directors. They will lead efforts between FEMA’s Committee meetings and the purpose of the change is to streamline the work both within the office and the organization as a whole.

    The Board of Directors includes Morten Hansen, General Secretary, NMCU Norway (Communications), Theo Klossner, Chairman IGM Switzerland (Finance), Chris Hodder, Government Relations Executive, BMF UK (Lobbying) and Maria Nordqvist, International Secretary, SMC Sweden (Organisation Development).

    Most of these Directors are the best in the “business” of Riders’ Rights. So with change in the air, maybe now it would be a good thing to give them our support and best wishes.

    • backroadsrider permalink
      February 1, 2010 8:39 pm

      This is truly excellent news – many thanks for the post.

      As one of the BRR contributors who has worked with some of the names mentioned I look forward to FEMA’s return to lobbying the politicians and a move way from its usual euro comprises style. Coupled with the pressure building to make the European Parliament effective this could mean, medium term, we can actually head off some of the crap EU legislation.

      Just make it compulsory for FEMA people to leave their egos at the door!

  5. Big Bird permalink
    February 2, 2010 9:38 am

    Well if they don’t, we can always carp anonymously on the sidelines……..:-))


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