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The Biking Doomsday Clock…

January 12, 2012

Selby, England – Has just moved 60 seconds closer to midnight.

Something else to worry about then?

As if things were not bad enough with the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (BAS), concerned over prospect that nuclear weapons could be used in regional conflicts in the Middle East, north-east Asia and south Asia, moving their Doomsday Clock to 11.55pm. Only five minutes away from global Armageddon.

Not to mention 12/12/12 when according to the Mayan calendar we are all err doomed. Unless of course you happen to be up a magnetic mountain in Utah or hanging by the Great Pyramid. Frankly I blame Jose Arguelles and his book “The Mayan Factor” for this one. Maybe it was just to simple to figure out that the rock that the Mayans etched their calendar on to was just that bit to small to include anything passed 2012.

I digress. The Biking Doomsday Clock? It’s actually a symbolic measure of the threats to motorcycling and not, as some of the naysayers would have it, an old Teasmaid that was found in a charity shop.

Actually the Clock is now stuck at 11.47pm but its has been back as far as 11.35pm, when the UK Labour Government introduced its National Motorcycle Strategy in 2005. It did of course lurch forward to 11.53pm in 1972 when crash helmets became compulsory in the UK, well it was either the helmet thing or someone dropped it.

You are no doubt agog to know why the secretive organisation, the Bikers  Research Foundation  (BRF), who maintain the Biking Doomsday Clock have decided to bung on 60 seconds and take us nearer to motorcycle meltdown.

According to the official communiqué, leaked to BRR from BRF HQ,  BRF members are gravely concerned about the effects that the EU Framework Regulation(s) will have on motorcycling. With the latest news from Brussels seeming to indicate that extreme “Chopper”  style motorcycles with long forks, stretched frames, high handle bars etc could be banned via  type approval regulations.

Then we have the announcement from the French Ministry of the Interior that the wearing of hi-viz clothing will be compulsory for motorcyclists in France from January 2013. Add in the anticipated downside effects of the 3rd Driving Licence Directive, to be implemented in 2013, and little wonder its bi-polar medication all round time down at the BRF.

If it all seems like a bad dream perhaps that’s because it is.

Still chins up. Spring will soon be here and we can all once again hit the highways and byways of merry England leaving the uninitiated defeatists floundering in our slipstreams.

Have fun. Ride safe

© Back Roads Rider 2012

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 13, 2012 12:47 pm

    Eh, it’ll doubtless all come out in the wash. Although I am feeling a bit like Arnie in Predator, yelling “RUN! GET TO THUH TEST CENTUH!” at everyone who mentions wanting to get a license maybe, probably, at some point.

    6 days and counting until publication of our 3DLD implementation is a full year late. I may wear a little party hat.

  2. Back Roads Rider permalink*
    January 13, 2012 11:29 pm

    According to the UK’s largest circulation motorcycle paper its going to be as follows:-

    Details of a new motorcycle licencing regime to be implemented next year have been confirmed by the Driving Standards Agency.

    The new rules will limit all riders under 19 to 125cc machines and under-21s to 47bhp.

    Those aged 17-19 will only be able to gain a licence for a machine up to 125cc and 15bhp by taking a test on a bike of similar spec.

    At 19 they can qualify for a bike up to 47bhp by doing another test or undertaking additional training. This must be done on a machine over 395cc and between 33bhp and 47bhp.

    They then face a further two-year wait – and yet another test or further training – before they can qualify to ride a bike of any power.

    Alternatively, people over 24 can take a single Direct Access test to immediately qualify for bikes of any power. This test must be taken on a machine of at least 595cc and 54bhp.

    Each step-up in power will involve a further test or training. A DSA release said: ‘The feasibility of the training option is currently being looked into; a final decision is yet to be made.’

    The new regime is due to be implemented from January 19 next year.

    It means 17-year-olds will face three exams or training sessions over a minimum of four years before the can ride an unlimited bike.

  3. Dave permalink
    January 16, 2012 8:52 am

    Or wait until you’re 24, do direct access and ride whatever power bike you want. Because at 24 you’re so much more responsible and capable than you are at 21, or 23 for that matter.

    It’s interesting that when you look at the casualty stats the main peaks for riders are 16 – 19 years of age on 125cc and 40-45 years of age on 600cc+ machines. How is 3DLD tackling those issues? Oh, it isn’t. 3DLD is also the reason we ‘need’ anti-tamper measures to ensure those on restricted licences don’t just tune their bikes to get around the law.

    Nice to see Brussels adding more legislation to the books rather than just reworking the original directive. Ace.

  4. January 16, 2012 11:23 am

    Mmm, that went out to ATBs last week. It’s still not final though – it’ll need at least a Statutory Instrument, and there are still some unanswered questions – based on the ATB version, not MCN’s Chinese-whispers interpretation of it:

    Why are we still allowing people to ride around solo on L plates? It’s only a matter of time before Little Dead Johnny’s parents sick an ambulance chaser on the Crown for letting him out there without a valid 3DLD license.

    Why are we giving people “direct access” to A2 at 19 (strongly implied by the ATB version)? There’s no provision for that in 2006/126/EC. If we do, then it essentially makes the new A1 as pointless as the current one. But if we don’t, then (essentially) nobody will be eligible to sit the new A2 until 2015 at the earliest. Everyone from 17 – 23 will be limited to 125s – I can’t see that doing the already staggering bike industry much good.

    New A2 test bikes will need to be at least 25kW, but will they also have to be no more than 35kW (again, implied by the ATB document)? If so, training schools will have to run two fleets of bikes, rather than just 40kW+ 600cc+ machines suitable for both tests. How on earth are they supposed to fund that? But if the same bike can be used for both tests, what the chuff is the point of doing the same test on the same bike twice in order to get two different categories of license?

    The DfT need to get their finger out, stop “looking into” it, and publish our interpretation so that riding schools can work out how to deal with it. They’ve had over half a decade to ponder these issues, and it’s been nearly 2 years since they closed the consultation on it. Why are they still humming and hawing?

  5. Boris permalink
    January 21, 2012 7:01 pm

    Orrrrrrrrr…..The A2 category has put the Commission in the poo with the UNECE WP1 (road safety), the reason is that while everyone is plowing ahead with the implementation of this category as part of the new 3DLD – they forgot to inform the rest of the world. Now the Ruskies are hot under the collar and have pointed out to the rest of the UNECE WP1 that outside the EU, this category doesn’t exist and therefore cannot be recognised. So everybody else in the WP1, gasped and cried – oh shit, they’re right! There is I believe a flurry of phone calls, meetings and correspondence on going between the WP1 officials and the Commission.

    Imagine the rider with his A2 licence (that’s of course if he gets through border control) beetling along the boulevard of St. Petersburgh and is stopped by the local plod. As Russia does not recognise this category (which would also mean that he/she would not be covered bby insurance), does the rider 1) go to jail and not collect £200; 2) have his bike confiscated and get a beating for answering …but but but – I have a valid EU licence…. 3)will he simply disappear and end up in a gulag. (My sincere apologies to Mr Putin and his wonderful democratic country and law enforcement agencies – this is just in case he reads this and puts out a Russian equivalent to a fatwa on me – though I am using a pseudonym).

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