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Wheeler Dealers….

April 16, 2011


Rye, England – We have a new kid on the block, or in this case the hectare, of European motorcycle lobbying.

Welcome to the European Twowheel Retailers’ Association (ETRA). Who? Up top this point ETRA has mainly represented the interests of European cycle dealers with seven European Union national dealer associations in membership.

Now a new re-energised ETRA is to burst forth to take on the European governmental institutions and defend the interests of Europe’s 37,000 motorcycle dealers.

With a reckoned 85% of legalisation that affects either the products they sell or the operation of their businesses coming from  the European Union (EU) institutions its surprising that the dealers have not taken action before, or is it that they are dissatisfied with  the current set up?

ETRA has obviously tapped into the dealer chatter, particular  from the independents,  that is saying its time we were better represented at the seat of European government. Meantime the back room talk in Brussels is that ETRA’s involvement in the motorcycle and scooter lobby is no bad thing.

Will ETRA’s involvement in the lobby be of benefit to riders? Early days. ETRA needs to build a power base, develop its membership and its position on issues. Its published position on the EU Framework Regulation on motorcycle anti-tampering/modification measures, emissions and noise checks closely shadows that of the Association des Constructeurs Européens de Motocycles (ACEM). A cynic might say: “no surprises there then”.

It seems we are heading towards having four main players in Brussels, others may not agree with this analysis. The Association des Constructeurs Européens de Motocycles (ACEM), the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM), the European Twowheel Retailers’ Association (ETRA) and the Federation of European Motorcycle Associations (FEMA). All consistently adopt similar public positions on EU motorcycle issues. Two seem to, on occasion, swap staff. One, ACEM, has the power to influence EU civil servants and politicians. All spend much time in public talking of co-operation and consensus, while in private self-interest rules.

Yet in the past ten years the only people to “suffer” from the EU legislation are the riders, the end users. We fund the research. We fund the EU Parliament. We pay the civil servants. We pay, one way or another, for ACEM, FEMA, FIM and soon ETRA. We pay for the, sometimes completely barmy EU road safety campaigns. We end up with more and more difficult competence tests, vehicle checks, restrictions to modifications, new licensing groups etc etc etc, we little by little, bit by bit are having our riding freedoms restricted.

One could draw the conclusion that the people in Brussels who say they are looking after our interests are instead looking after their own, or are simple not up to the job or OMG are incompetent.

Perhaps then it is time for an EU wide member based motorcycle organisation. Be honest it couldn’t be any worse than what we have now. Could it?

Worth a thought!

I much enjoyed this snippet from FEMA’s latest PR effort on the EU anti tampering gig:-

“Furthermore FEMA is concerned about the scope of action that might be delegated to the Commission”

Ahh yes I think they may have latched on to something there. Is that a light at the end of the tunnel err no its the EU Commission TGV heading our way.

Ride safe, ride like you mean it!

© Back Roads Rider 2011

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jack Company permalink
    April 16, 2011 6:43 pm

    There are more doors opening and shutting in Brussels than in a Bangkok whore house. The PR manager for ACEM was FEMA’s General Secretary, who allegedly left because of his position on the 3DLD. FEMA’s General Secretary was the PR manager for ACEM who allegedly left because of differences of opinion with the ACEM General Secretary. The new ETRA PR chappie was the Campaign’s Manager for FEMA. Oh both he and the incumbent president of FEMA applied for the job of FEMA General Secretary (unsuccessfully).

    It appears that in the tiny world of motorcycling in Brussels it’s same ole, same ole. Dishing the dirt on personalities may not be “cricket”, but it may explain why we are in the situation we find ourselves in.

    An EU wide member based organisation sounds great, but who will be the people at the coal face? Who will be the employee to do the job? In the end, it’s a bit like choosing a bride in a remote village of upper Kakistan – it’s the same gene pool with all the problems of interbreeding.

    Mystic Mickie predicts that the EC proposals for the regulations will be overwhelmingly accepted by EU parliament, because, as somebody pointed out – what MEP would vote against safety and emission control?

    Will a superhero step forward wearing his underpants over his trousers and save us from the dire situation that motorcycling finds itself in? Unlikely, because even if somebody did come forward, the chances of surviving the infighting and political bullshit that dominates riders’ organisation would ensure his failure.


  1. El Camino – The Road

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