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Demise of the Machines??

December 10, 2010


Southwold, England – Bit of a surprise that the American Motorcyclist Association has made outgoing California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger its Motorcyclist of the Year.

But then perhaps not that surprising as the American Motorcyclist Association’s (AMA) Motorcyclist of the Year can be a person who has had an extremely positive or profoundly negative influence on motorcycling. In Governor Schwarzenegger’s case it is the latter. For despite Arnie never missing a photo opportunity when a motorcycle is involved he went ahead and signed into law Senate Bill 435. The Bill which states that motorcycle exhausts, used in California on or after January 1 2013, must display a label certifying that the system meets US federal sound limits applies to both original equipment and after market exhaust systems. OMG is this the end of the custom performance pipe as we know it.

Can’t say I’m a fan of loud exhausts but there’s a fundamental here, Arnies singling out motorcycles as the legislation will not apply to cars and trucks. Thus the AMA CEO Rob Dingman’s comment: “Gov. Schwarzenegger signed a piece of legislation that has rocked the motorcycling world, and will impact motorcyclists in other states as well for years to come” seems more than appropriate. It may environmentally worthy but it just isn’t fair.

Over on this side of ‘the pond’ we have our own little “Bill 435” In our case its called Article 18 of the EU framework regulation(s) on motorcycle anti-tampering/modification measures, emissions and noise. This states that: “L-category vehicles (motorcycles) shall be equipped with designated measures to prevent tampering of a vehicle’s power train” i.e. no ‘fiddling’ with the engine management system, the exhaust, the transmission, the chain drive, the sprockets and the tyres. So it could be bye-bye to all those ‘race cans’ and all those other little performance enhancing ‘bits’ we have come to know and love.

We are told that the EU Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry (DG Enterprise) are undertaking a study of Article 18 which will look at positive modifications versus tampering. But they would say that wouldn’t they. Mean time unless some leverage or alternatives are suggested by our side in the run up to the first legislative stage, i.e. discussing in committee in EU speak comitology, we will get shafted. It’s quite possible for the comitology process to simple approve Article 18 as it stands with no reference or need for it to pass through the EU Parliament.

Houston……beep!……we have a problem…….beep!

Some interesting motorcycling “facts”:-

According to Government figures released in the past few days motorcyclists are exceeding speed limits. 50% of motorcycles went above the limit on motorways, dual carriageways and 30mph limit roads in Britain in 2009.

There were 114,900 new motorcycles registered in 2009 – the lowest annual number since records began in 2001.

According to Driving Standard Agency (DSA) figures in the 16 months leading up to the introduction of the “new” EU motorcycle test in April 2009, 130,498 people took the old test, a rate of 8156 a month.

In the 18 months following the introduction of the new test, only 73,508 people completed the test, 4083 a month that’s almost half the earlier rate.

Enjoy your winter riding!

© Back Roads Rider 2010

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  1. El Camino – The Road

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