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Closer to home…

December 18, 2011


New Romney, England – We are a bit preoccupied at the moment…

It seems that hardly a day goes by without a horror story concerning the implications of the European Commission’s (EC) proposal’s for motorcycle regulation surfacing in the UK motorcycle press or on social media sites.

So avid has the search for a new angle become that this week Motorcycle News, the UK’s largest circulation motorcycle paper, decided to attack MEP Malcolm Harbour chair of the European Parliament Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO).

For new readers IMCO is the Committee dealing with the EC’s motorcycle regulation proposals. Harbour of course being one of the few people in the sorry mess of the current motorcycle regulation saga who has attempted to filter out some of more bizarre ideas that the EC and IMCO members have tried to inflict upon us. In short he is one of the few friends we have and does not deserve to be criticised for his efforts.

Mean time none of the issues that existed before the EC regulations thing blew into town have gone away. Here are just four that are likely to give UK bikers and scooterists grief in the not so distant future.

E10 petrol. Arriving at a petrol station near you soon. We are talking the fact that the amount of ethanol in UK petrol will  rise to 10% by volume (E10) from its current 5% (E5). Ethanol is corrosive increasing the level above 5% can damage engines, corrode metal fuel tanks and cause the rubber hoses and seals in fuel systems to break down. Still the UK Department for Transport (DfT) reckon only 700,000 vehicles in the UK parc won’t like running on it. Two years ago they reckoned a third of the 28.6 million cars on UK roads would have issues. Don’t you just love Government stats.

Toll roads. Interesting one this. You may have noticed that the DfT have published their list of  items, legislation wise, that will be cut out as part of its response to the Governments  “Red Tape Challenge”. Unsurprisingly all the legislation relating to, congestion charging, workplace parking charges and toll charging remains in place.

Parking charges. A significant victory in recent days but with a sting in the tail. The folk over at the Westminster No To Bike Parking Tax (NTBPT) campaign are still fighting it out over bike and scooter parking charges being levied by London’s Westminster City Council (WCC). The sneaks at  WCC upped the anti by attempting to bring in evening and weekend charges too. Handily thwarted this week when a High Court judge granted the campaigners a judicial review into the legality of the parking plans consultation. Apparently WCC Council Leader Colin Barrow appeared a bit deflated when he announced that WCC have decided to shelve the introduction of the charges until after the 2012 Olympics.

While in the next door London Borough of Camden the Council is considering introducing evening and weekend parking charges, presumable to cash in on all the people who will attempt to park for free if WCC start to charge.

The Sting? According to the Camden local media: “Motorcyclists parking in Camden are not guaranteed an escape from new fees either. The Town Hall says it will examine whether – just like in Westminster – people should pay to park motorbikes for the first time”. Ouch!!

Insurance certificates. “Red Tape Challenge” again. The DfT intends to bring forward legislation that will mean insurance companies will no longer issue insurance certificates and vehicle owners will not need to posses them. It’s all going to be on a database that an authorised persons can check i.e. the police, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency etc. Actually a good idea particular for motorcyclists and scooterists. One less bit of paper to carrier or if you don’t carry it no need to visit a police station if asked to prove if you are insured. Except. Well will the insurance companies pass on the money saved from not producing and sending all the paper to customers by reducing premiums. And what about those of us who ride abroad. We will still need a hard copy certificate to prove to those nice European police officers that we are insured. No international database you see. So will we be charged for a certificate, I’m betting yes. Surely that’s a not a Red Tape  Challenge but a Red Tape charge!

I take the opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2012.

May the jingle of Santa’s bells herald the fulfilment of your biking dreams and grant you safe passage on the road to biking nirvana.


© Back Roads Rider 2011

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Teapot permalink
    December 18, 2011 2:10 pm

    Thanks for cheering me up…

    Oh well, Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year everybody.

    Hope Santa remembers to bring me the Ducati this year.

  2. Dave permalink
    December 20, 2011 8:48 am

    Wouldn’t worry about the insurance certificate thing, a number of companies have only been sending out pdf’s anyway. If you need it you just print it off, otherwise it just sits on your hard drive somewhere. The main problem is when they ‘forget’ to update your details on to the MIB and then you get pulled over. Or you can’t get a tax disc on line.

  3. December 21, 2011 3:09 pm

    Ah, no worries there: another announcement is that you can buy VED without evidence of insurance. Fairly sensible, since your VED and insurance may run out on the same day and you may be between MID entries at the point where you try and tax.

    Then again, isn’t one of the justifications for VED that it acts as a check that you have insurance? With the MID picking up that duty, and even the saner Greenies decrying emissions based VED as being regressive, punishing ownership rather than use, and encouraging the scrapping of old vehicles and the (far more polluting) creation of new ones, then what exactly is the purpose of VED now? It hasn’t been “road tax” for half a decade or more.

    If you don’t buy VED but don’t insure then Continuous Insurance Stazi will catch you, and I’ll try not to segue into my rant about the egregious pointlessness of that particular piece of paper shuffling. Suffice to say, if you’re minded to drive/ride without insurance, then completing a SORN online isn’t going to faze you one iota, and nor is it going to help Plod to catch you since the vehicle would be caught by the all-knowing MID anyway. Remember, it’s perfectly legal to drive a vehicle without VED under some circumstances but (almost) never legal to drive it without insurance.

    Other announcements are that we’re doing away with the paper counterpart to the license, which is fine except that it’ll further stuff up anyone who passed a test on an A2 bike. After the two year restriction period on the A license expires, the next copy shows the From: date of the unrestricted A category, essentially wiping 2 years of experience away overnight. If there’s no record of that in the counterpart, then you’d better hope you haven’t lost your original pass certificate. Alternatively, you can just “lose” your photocard when renewing, and “find” it again as necessary, in another example of the DfT and DVLA implementing something that punishes the honest and rewards the sly.

    Eh, I’d go on, but I have to go and deal with the DVLA sending me a “no tax, no SORN” blackmail letter a month after sending a new SORN acknowledgement for the same vehicle. It’s a non-stop cavalcade of hilarity and no mistake.


  1. El Camino – The Road

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