The New EU Proposals and How They May Affect Bikers 30.09.11 /4 Comments
The last couple of weeks have seen a flurry of anti-EU legislation campaigns. The EU is currently looking at several safety and emission proposals which could affect many bikers if implemented in the coming years. Headed by groups like MAG and Right to Ride, scores of bikers have spoken up in demonstrations and online campaigns to show their disapproval. What is all the fuss about, exactly? Here we try to simply and clearly lay out the key proposals bikers are talking about and what they could mean.
Mandatory ABS on new motorcycles & scooters over 50cc
The commission’s stance is if advanced braking systems were compulsory on new bikes, this would reduce fatalities; they cite a study in Italy which predicts as many as 1500 lives could be saved annually if ABS were compulsory. To many bikers, this means loss of control. Opposed bikers say that whilst ABS is a crucial safety feature it should be used at the discretion of the rider and remain optional. They maintain that to do otherwise is unsafe because ABS on certain surfaces (such as gravel) would prove perilous.
Tighter emission limits and disabling computer chips
The EU commission are trying to reduce emissions across the board, they are suggesting much more stringent limits on motor-vehicles to be implemented in three stages over five years. Included in this proposal is the integration of a computer chip which can record breaches in emission limits. For bikers, this proposal seems wholly unfair. To impress upon bikes the same restrictions as cars is disproportionate; that small and lightweight vehicles should have the additional costs and impacts that larger and more polluting vehicles have doesn’t make sense. Bikes are far less polluting than larger vehicles, yet they are to be penalized in the same way. The commission’s response is that as bike numbers are growing their polluting power is increasing as well, thus the one rule for all policy applies.
Modification prevention of engine or transmission (including air-filter, sprockets and rear-tyre) and road-side inspections.
At the heart of this proposal by the EU is a desire to prevent bikers, novice or otherwise, to be able to modify their bikes as they see fit. This would stop inexperienced or learner riders from significantly changing their bikes above their level of skill, experience or qualification. Combined with this, the EU envision the ability to conduct road-side checks to enforce these strict new regulations. For bikers, the outrage is two-fold. Firstly, bikers are independent and individual by nature. They claim they should retain autonomy to modify their bikes for road and weather conditions as they see fit. Secondly, it makes matters even worse that is only bikes, not cars, which would be subject to these road-side checks. This singling out and being penalised differently from cars has the biker claiming unfair practices. Additional EU proposals also include new rules for non-type vehicles for road use and new power and speed limits on electric motorcycles.
Action groups, motorcycle manufacturers and bikers across the country have been feverishly lobbying Roads Minister Mike Penning, who is accepting comments during the consultation process which ends 28 October, 2011. According to Mr. Penning, “This is a chance for both motorcycle manufacturers and riders to have their say on this new EU Regulation.” For bikers across the country, the hope is that with clear and decisive action and communication, a stop to these proposals will be successful. If you’d like to tell your MEP your thoughts on any of these issues, you can contact him/her via www.writetothem.com.