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It’s Competition Time!!

April 9, 2011


Whitstable, England – And now….

Another interesting episode in the soap opera of European Union (EU) motorcycle legislation.

Yes folks its EU Framework Regulation on motorcycle anti-tampering modification measures, emissions and noise checks time again.

You may recall that they boys and girls at the European Commission are currently attempting to bring forth legislation that will prevent us from modifying, i.e. tampering, with our motorcycles and scooters. Such legislation currently applies to motorcycles and scooters under 125cc but if the Commission has its way it will apply, as new models appear, to all motorcycles and scooters sold in the EU.

Just to make it clear we are talking motorcycles and scooters fitted with anti tampering devices that prevent modifications to the power train systems and other components which if modified would affect the safety, the emissions and the noise produced by the bike or scooter concerned.

The interesting twist here is that when the Commission embarked on its anti tampering journey it failed to grasp what the difference between harmless and harmful tampering was. Oh dear cried the Commission will Mrs Biker bolting on a Petrosneezeich exhaust system be as harmful as Mr Biker attaching a Borbin Cosy Seat, we need to know.

Enter the UK Transport Research Laboratory aka TRL who won a contact from the Commission in December 2010 to find out what is and what is not harmless or harmful bike mods wise. So with mucho stakeholder consultation, input from type-approval and enforcement authorities, internet and literature study and experimental testing eventually TRL will come up with a list of the most and least harmful modifications. Thus allowing the Commission to draft crafty legislation requiring the motorcycle and scooter manufactures to produce products that cannot be modified in the most harmful ways, i.e. make it go faster,  produce throat gagging pollution and sound like a Lancaster bomber taking off on full chat.

Interesting twist number two. Hold the thought that the  Commission currently does not know “officially” exactly what is and what is not a harmful or come to that a harmless motorcycle modification. It seems surprising then that the Commission, assisted by TRL, has announced that it is holding a competition to develop solutions for tampering prevention measures on motorcycles and scooters

Yes in a bizarre ,even dadaesque, move the Commission is asking  schools, colleges, universities and rider associations across Europe to participate in a competition to develop solutions for tampering on motorcycles and scooters. The aim of the competition is to: “ identify effective solutions to tampering events to protect the environment and the safety of road users, including the riders and passengers”.

Get It? For a 500 Euro prize we are being asked to come up with solutions to prevent ourselves modifying our motorcycles and scooters. Not only that but as the Commission does not know what, if any, modifications are harmful we seem to have a case of the cart being put firmly before the horse.

Perhaps the Federation of European Motorcycle Associations (FEMA) could enter the competition on our behalf. Having made a pretty convincing fist of shooting its self in the foot over the EU Framework Regulations FEMA might as well as finish the job by inviting us all to a firing squad, giving us each a gun and inviting one and all to shoot themselves!

There’s one small hope. The competition was announced on April 1st. Please, please, please let this be an EU joke.

Bet it’s not!

Ride safe and un tampered.

© Back Roads Rider 2011

6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 9, 2011 10:28 pm

    F**k the EU and their rules. I will break them at every turn and modify my bikes as I see fit! Should they take them from me in the future I will leave the EU for lands that allow me to live free.

  2. Grahame Greene permalink
    April 10, 2011 8:26 am

    From my cold dead hand, said Moses…

    I intend to do has the Man from Havana did and send them plans for a vacuum cleaner. I bet you I’ll win.

    Interesting that FEMA is silent about this competition, is this because nobody told them about it?

    Or……. is it because they are too busy schmoozing with the Commission’s road safety people on their “Away Day”

    Meanwhile enter ETRA the dealers’ association known mainly for their lobbying for bicycle dealers. They’ve finally worked out that it might be a good thing to have somebody to lobby on behalf of motorcycle dealers as well. Their new champion, Filippo Marino – recycled from FEMA (ex-campaign’s manager) has taken on the challenge to join the foray as ETRA’s contribution to the Brussels “motorcycle community”.

    So while everybody’s having fun in Brussels, we can spend our time enjoying what’s left of our little world of motorcycling.

    After all, we have our biker mate Wim van de Camp on our side to defend us bikers, Wim is considered by many (including our friends in FEMA) as the biker “expert”. He’s the one that favours tough measures to stop tampering, compulsory ABS as soon as possible and compulsory OBD.

    Oh and by the way, he’s FEMA’s patron at the next MEP ride where he will be promoting Zero motorcycles – that’s the US company that has set up their European production in Mr van de Camp’s constituency in the Netherlands (with financial help from the Dutch government).

    The arabs have a well honed method of protest when they disagree with politicians and bureaucrats – they throw shoes! In middle eastern culture, it is deeply insulting, yet it is simple, effective and gets the message across.

    So rather than the useless “F*ck the EU, bring a bag of shoes!

  3. April 10, 2011 9:45 am

    I’m with Mr Fox on that one. The only thing that should be, is that modifications are legal (noise emmissions etc.) and safe (there are some pretty crap mods I’ve seen where the modifier is the one that needs to be certified. Actually. What about that as a compromise…we could have, like an annual test thing to ensure the safety and road worthyness. We could call catchy..ah..”MOT” (cool name, thank you).

    So maybe MOT after three years OR if after a modification, to certify it. There you go. Compromise. EU gets safe bikes, bikers get mods albeit at an additional charge (but I can live with that).

    • Kawa gpz1100 permalink
      April 11, 2011 8:18 am

      and I’m with John on this one – why not MoT? Even the Commission thinks it’s a goer and has said repeatedly that enforcement (through roadside checks and PTI(MoT) is a viable option. So what’s the problem?

      Well FEMA and their “champion” Wim van de Camp don’t want that solution.

      Their campaign “We don’t want no stinkin” PTI” (this is inspite of the fact that the Commission hasn’t yet put forward their proposal on EU wide PTI (Periodical Technical Inspection aka Road Worthiness Testing aka MoT) seems to have scuppered this option.

      How about f**k off FEMA?


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