This and that…
Pwllheli, Wales – Back from a few days away and I saw motorcyclists out riding today…
That’s the first sign of spring in England – forget the swallows returning from their wintering grounds in Namibia and South Africa!
In Brussels the white heat of motorcycle politics continues. The good old IMCO Committee has thrown out the findings of the much talked up, by the riders groups, impact assessment into the cost effectiveness of the mandatory fitting of Anti-Lock Braking Systems (ABS) to new scooters and motorcycles, from 51cc to 125cc (A1 category vehicles). Yes its official if you bolt on a load of extra gear to a scooter its going to cost more to buy and maintain but don’t worry as we are doing a “Nelson”.
As IMCO had already voted to mandate ABS on A1 vehicles it’s not really surprising that the impact assessment has been binned, after all European Union (EU) politics is nothing if not contradictory. Embarrassing to IMCO? Possible as UK-based consultancy London Economics, who produced the assessment, also concluded that the costs of installing On Board Diagnostics and speeding up the timetable for the introduction of emission limits outweighed the benefits.
Next up an impact assessment into the impact that all these assessments are having on EU tax payers pockets. Err dream on!
Still its all keeping “the bikers friend” IMCO Rapporteur Wim van de Camp busy as he shuttles around trying to find a compromise between the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. With the European Commission acting as advisor this dialogue is known in Euro speak as a trilogue discussion. AKA trying to paper up the cracks in what has become dodge and unwanted legislation which, if BBR’s Brussels contacts are correct, may well end up in the Euro bin when we finally get to the European Parliament Plenary. Still its all made for a nice “get em out on the streets” campaign by the riders “rights” groups.
From the white heat of Brussels to the sausage sizzle of Westminster. Last week saw another holding of the annual Motorcycle Lobby Day at the Houses of Parliament. It would be an easy matter to criticise this event with under fifty riders meeting their Members of Parliament (MPs) and less than thirty MPs attending a reception organised by the All Party Parliamentary Motorcycle Group.
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport Mike “the bike” Penning graced proceedings with his presence offering the “usual” comments on the importance of motorcycling and an undertaking to bring the motorcycle test review to a constructive conclusion. This is apparently Penning speak for introducing both the requirements of the Third Driving Licence Directive and a revised fully on road test in January 2013.
According to BRR’s reception attendee there was considerable chat in the margins concerning the European Type Approval Regulations. UK MP’s have little if any influence in Brussels but it seems that Penning is making efforts to mitigate the EU Commission proposals.
As I said “easy to criticise” but I won’t in fact do so. Well done to The Rider’s Are Voters (RAV) partners who organised the event. As the press hand out stated: “UK Government needs to do more to maximise the opportunities that motorcycling can bring to transport policy, environmental policy, the economy and business.” Its just a pity that only 4% of MP’s turned up to listen to that message.
Now the good news. It seems that UK Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) legend Neil F Liversidge is intent on rejoining the riders rights action. His return as a MAG Director has been flagged up. Former MAG National Chairman Neil has been out in cold for too long. Ousted by the MAG “old guard” in 2002 Neil is considered by some an arrogant twat. In reality he has brain that can remember the tiniest detail, an ability to think up counter arguments instantly and as Chairman of MAG was constantly thinking of ways to improve MAG and the riders political “lot”.
The “Withnail and I” of the UK motorcycle lobby Nich Brown, MAG General Secretary, and Paddy Tyson, MAG Campaigns Manager, better watch out Neil is about! What will Uncle Monty think?
Enjoy your early spring riding.
© Back Roads Rider 2012