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Analyse This!!!

December 27, 2010


Bridport, England – The gladiators enter the arena acknowledging the cheering crowd who are eager for action. They posture, they pose, they touch swords in mutual respect. A trumpet sounds the fight is on. How will it end? Will the Emperor grant a request for the munerarius and stop the fight or will the crowd demand the pollice verso, the down turned thumb……

Pity European politics are not as exciting, but then perhaps again they are even if the outcomes are not so cut and dried and the cold steel is replaced with the sharp-edged tongue.

Just kidding! We certainly have not got the sharp edge tongue bit yet, more the silver-tongued eloquence of the seasoned European political campaigner as demonstrated by MEP Malcolm Harbour as he chairs the European Parliament Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO).

If you hadn’t already guessed the European Union (EU) Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry (DG Enterprise) framework regulations on motorcycle anti-tampering, modification measures, emissions and noise checks, as adopted by the European Commission, have hit the European Parliament committee stage. The bit where the civil servants collided with the democratic loop, in this case IMCO.

So what’s going on? It’s up to IMCO to pick through the bones of the 14 proposals of the “Approval and market surveillance of two or three-wheel vehicles and quadricycles” legislation and decide what’s in and what’s out. Before moving on to approving it with any amendments and passing it on to the European Parliament.

On one side we have Malcolm Harbour and around 27 IMCO Committee members on the other Giacomo Mattino from the Automotive Unit DG enterprise and somewhere in the middle Wim van de Camp the IMCO Rapporteur charged with sorting out a good ole compromise.

Any action in Committee then? Well Mr Mattino, who assured us that he is a motorcyclist, went to considerable lengths to emphasise the amount of consultation that has gone on. Of course he didn’t mention the figures which actually are; consultation responses from companies, associations and public authorities 41 and from EU citizens 16.

Mr Habour questioned Mr Mattino over the accident stats relating to mandatory ABS and upon Mr Mattino’s apparent confusion over the merits of advanced braking systems, antilock brake systems and combined braking systems. He also made a somewhat worrying statement in relating the fact that EU legislation on the type approval of after market car parts had actually improved the market for parts so he expected this would apply in relation to the anti tampering proposals for motorcycles and scooters.

Mr van de Camp, also stating that he is a motorcyclist and is thus aware of the ‘problems’, made a statement on scooter safety and anti tampering which appears to mean he intends to ensure that the euro scooter boys days of fun are over.  i.e. It’s not a good time to buy shares in Italian after market scooter exhaust companies.

So what’s really going on?  It seems that both in public and private Harbour is unhappy with the ABS issue. He has asked Mattino to go away and come back with more evidence of the effectiveness of ABS in reducing accidents. He is perhaps unhappy with Mattino’s benefit to cost ratios. After all this is mandatory legislation that IMCO are being asked to endorse. News reaching BRR from a number of sources also indicates that Harbour is confused over the Federation of European Motorcycle Associations (FEMA) position on ABS and has asked them to sort it out. IMCO is to meet with FEMA in February.

The horse trading has started it remains unclear whether the ‘riders rights’ horse has been to the right training stables.

Watch this space.

Have fun. Ride Safe.

© Back Roads Rider 2010

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jack the Lad permalink
    January 12, 2011 7:05 pm

    Looks like the Muppets of Brussels have changed their position on the framework regulations. It seems like they spoke to an adult and have revisited their previous position about the ABS switch and other issues. It is still seriously lacking in technical detail, but at least it is less damaging than the previous crap they put out.

    Although, the bit on AHO still gives the impression that somebody hasn’t really done their homework.

    See here…..


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