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Going retro??

February 28, 2011


Peterhead, Scotland – It’s going retro time, again! 

Going retro, it is a consequence of recession. People feel unsure of the future and cling to the comfort blanket of the past. Well that is the theory, but does that hold up for motorcycling.

Surely, the current interest in things retro biking wise is more to do with style than comfort blankets. We have the fashionistas parading in biking leathers, the London posse buying mid 20th century Urals and manufactures in general searching the design archive to come up with something with a retro bent.

On the other hand, this retro thing could be to do with individuality after all biking is supposed to be about that. In a parc full of wind slipping faired super bikes and machinery that looks like it was developed at the “skunk works” to avoid radar detention turning up on a retro styled bike is nothing if not a statement of individuality.

Which brings us to the European Union (EU) and individuality.

Despite what the UK popular press may say, it is all a Eurocrats fault that we may get double summertime and it is all a Eurocrats fault you cannot buy a “proper” light bulb, there are some good things about the EU. Like sixty-six years of peace and being able to ride around twenty-seven countries without too much worry about the borders, stuff like that.

However, it is where the EU and individuality meet that causes concern. It is all well and good being hot and talking the talk on human rights and the rights of the individual, but when you scrutinise what happens in practice it seems that the EU does not walk the walk. I am of course talking the current EU Commission proposals on motorcycles. If you ride a trike, choose to use a motorcycle and sidecar, build your own motorcycle or modify your motorcycle your rights as individual are under attack.

The EU does blanket legislation, harmonisation, very well after all that is why it was formed. The problem with harmonisation, it often rollers the individual into the road of the masses. So in the rush to harmonise EU motorcycling please do not forget the individuals. Please Mr UK EU Representative do not forget to take all the derogations that will protect the UK riders who like to “fettle the metal” in some drafty back garden shed or ride with a “chair”. Please do not take too much notice of the “industry”, as you did with the testing and licensing.

Remember “they” the “industry” are more interested in plates or origin than originality!

Speed – I’m confused. Secretary of State for Transport, Phillip Hammond, says he want to raise the UK motorway speed limit  to 80mph,from the current 70mph saying: “safety might no longer be the sole consideration in judging how fast cars can go” and that “gains to the economy from shorter journey times should also be taken into account”. WoW you got my vote Phil. That’s a cosy two fingers straight up the EU Draft Report on Road Safety. Nice!

Meantime UK papers are reporting that the Department for Transport (DfT) is looking for ways to prevent motorists wasting fuel and is considering implementing strict new speed limits reductions.

Hey what about a compromise, leave the speed limits exactly where they are.

Ride safe and within limits!

© Back Roads Rider 2011

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 28, 2011 9:19 pm

    Over at Right To Ride EU we have been scouring the latest European Commission proposals and had picked up issues regarding sidecars.

    This involved, reduced production for SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises) and even what looked like a suggested whole type vehicle type approval.

    This looked like, that even “normal” riders would be affected on fitting a sidecar onto their motorcycles.

    With our inquisitive minds and direct questions to (and answers from) the European Commission, it would appear that the status quo remains for riders who wish to fit a sidecar to their motorcycle and for manufactures that produce sidecars either for sale or for fitting to their customer’s pre registered motorcycle!

    However, riders may be affected due to the motorcycle and sidecar being produced as a whole vehicle.

    Space is short here for all the technical blah blah, but sidecar could have got lost in “blanket legislation, harmonisation” so individualism is under attack.

    You may not understand the technical blah blah, but we are sure you would like the opportunity to be able to read what is going on, to have the opportunity to be well informed if you choose to do so.

    Maybe not about sidecars but about the text in the latest working document regarding the proposals:

    “Anti-tampering measures

    Your rapporteur “Super Wim”observes that within the motorcycle community a well established culture of modification exists, to improve the performance of their vehicles. Preventing this will disadvantage many qualified riders.

    It should therefore be left to the discretion of Member States to deal with this kind of modifications.

    However, your rapporteur “Super Wim” calls for a tough line of action against tampering aimed at illegally increasing the maximum vehicle speed at the cost of pollutant emissions, fuel consumption and safety. This often concerns low costs mopeds, scooters and quads which are mostly used by younger people.

    “Super Wim” says that the technical measures aimed at reducing tampering should be accompanied by regular random spot checks by public enforcement authorities.”

    Whether you agree or not with certain proposals, do you trust the EU to look after your interests? Do you trust “Mr UK EU Representative? Do you really think that all the derogations will protect the UK riders who like to “fettle the metal” in a drafty back garden shed?

    Who do you trust to look after your interests?


  1. El Camino – The Road

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