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The end is near or is it ??

July 17, 2011

 

Nairn, Scotland – I’ve been a bit depressed lately….

Perhaps I have been over listening to Leonard Cohen tracks or watching just that bit to much of Wallander. That last one could explain why I keep getting this strange feeling of angst and the urge to strip off and plunge naked into the surf when beach walking.

Reading all the stuff about the European Union (EU) Commissions Proposals for Framework Regulation(s) on the Approval and Market Surveillance of  Two – or Three-wheel Vehicles and Quadricycles can’t have helped gloom wise.

If the info coming out of the Federation of European Motorcycle Associations (FEMA) and the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) is to be believed the end of biking as we know and love it is near.

A brief resume of what’s coming, according to MAG UK that is, reads something like:

Anti tampering Regulation: Article 18 stops all modifications to the complete power train.

Compulsory anti lock brakes or advanced braking systems.

Automatic Headlights On (AHO) mandatory on ALL motorcycles sold in the EU.

On Board Diagnostics (OBD) to make it easy to enforce roadside checks for emissions etc.

Repair and Maintenance Information (RMI). Made available to riders, but for a fee.

Article 52: “If systems, components or separate technical units on a list in a delegated act to this regulation, have a dual use, for vehicles intended exclusively for racing on roads and for vehicles intended for use on public roads, they may not be sold or offered for sale to consumers”

Delegated Acts – Allow the EU Commissions unelected expert panels to draw up the details of the Regulations which will then automatically become law in EU countries.

Scary stuff. But hang on a moment what’s the issue here. Is that we don’t like the proposed EU Regulations themselves or we don’t like the way they are being inflicted upon us? Or is it this “riders rights” thing?

Who is complaining? Well in the UK it’s presumably the 17,000 people who make up the combined individual membership of the Motorcycle Action Group and the British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF). That leaves one million one hundred and eighty-three thousand UK riders, based on the UK industry figure of 1.2million active riders in the UK, who really don’t seem particularly bothered.

Complaining but that’s what pressure groups do. Thus if the BMF, MAG and FEMA said wow great stuff from the EU there would be little point in them existing. Element of self-interest and job security there then.

What about the generation thing. Let’s be frank most of the people involved in the “riders rights” movement in the UK won’t be seeing forty-five or even fifty again. I won’t say they are passed it but it’s heading that way. They are getting old, they don’t like change. Meaning? Well the coming generation of scooterists and motorcyclists will been brought up on technology. The cars they will drive will packed with it, an expectation then that motorcycles and scooters should be the same. So what right have today’s “riders rights” posse got to deny future riders technologies that would make them safer not to mention of course saving the motorcycle from becoming an anachronistic form of transport.

So what happens next in Brussels? Well Rapporteur Wim van de Camp spends the EU Parliament summer break horse trading down the current 298 amendments, tabled by Members of European Parliament (MEP) on the Regulations, to a manageable number i.e. twenty or less. As a self-styled  “ambassador” of EU motorcycling Wim will bung in a compromise amendment to keep the bikers happy. Then on 5th – 6th October 2011 the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) will vote and approve the amendments. Later that month the EU Parliament will vote them through and we get everything some of us don’t want and most things the rest don’t care about.

And the consequence? Well a percentage of the 17,000 go up the pub/café/club etc, complain and moan about bikers being the underclass etc etc, ride around on a demo and go home. Repeat!

Ride, ride, ride the end is near. Well it probably isn’t but ride anyway.

© Back Roads Rider 2011

 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Elaine permalink
    July 17, 2011 9:30 pm

    What you and indeed – they (BMF/MAG/FEMA – have failed to mention is that the changes which will be introduced including mandatory ABS, AHO, OBD, presumably anti-tampering measures for certain categories and so forth is simply this. The legislation which will make all this stuff mandatory will ensure two things.

    The Chinese market in the EU will be severely restricted (which is the fundamental reason for the regulations in the first place) and the price of new motorcycles, scooters and mopeds will skyrocket, such that the motorcycle industry will follow the car industry – those that cannot afford new motorcycles, scooters and mopeds, (especially the young novice rider – which is effectively what the Commission purports to be targetting) will end up riding second hand models for a much longer period of time – which will ultimately defeat the purpose of the new regulations in terms of environment and safety. Of course there is the other aspect which is that the motorcycle industry will struggle, with greater limits of makes and models on offer.

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