11 November 2011

Feel like gettin' active? Here's a couple of things to keep the Eurocrats busy

Another forwarded communication. This is not simply another European pile of crap, once they get it passed, then manufacturers will build bikes to these standards and then the whole world is affected. Please read on. This is no time to be a NIMBY!

I'm sorry I do this before the weekend, and this is a long one, but if you can spare 5 minutes, please have a read. If nothing else you'll have something to talk about down the pub!

You may remember earlier activist mailings highlighting MAG member Jon Strong's fight with the European Commission (EC) which he took through the EU Ombudsman. Among Jon's complaints was that the Commission's Impact Assessment accompanying the Type Approval Regulation we are currently fighting, was, frankly, inadequate.

The EU Ombudsman agreed that the EC have a case to answer in respect of Jon's complaint. The EC were given until 30th September to respond to Jon's complaint as part of the process through which he can come to a decision. The Commission requested an extension of the time given to respond.  The extension was granted by the Ombudsman until 31st October. As of the 10th November the EU Ombudsman was still waiting for their response, which he expects soon.

As riders we need our elected representatives to ensure that the EC complies with its own founding laws. We should require our MEPs to point to the supporting evidence in the Impact Assessment or throw out unsubstantiated parts of the draft Regulation.  We should ask our MEPs why the EC has failed to respond to the Ombudsman on Jon's complaint; is it that it would be too embarrassing to admit that they had failed to present evidence to show the proportionality and thus legality of proposed measures before the IMCO committee vote on the 22nd Nov? Were they hoping the vote wouldn't be postponed again, as it just has, to Dec 5th?

In the European Union's founding treaties there is an important principle that any legislation proposed by the EC must be proportionate and must be demonstrably so. The principle of proportionality is considered so important that it is set out in Article 5 of the Treaty of the European Union. That is the treaty that Gordon Brown went to Lisbon to sign. It is not a provision that is buried deep in the Treaty or the accompanying 'Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union' which covers the administration of the EU.

Jon's complaint alleges that the Type Approval legislation fails to meet the legal requirements of proportionality for correctly drafted legislation as set out in the EU treaties Article 5 of the Treaty of the European Union and Protocol 2 Article 5. The grounds of his complaint in respect of Article 5 and the accompanying Protocol is that the detailed Impact Assessment that is required under Protocol 2 fails to provide the evidence required to demonstrate that two critical measures within the draft regulations are proportionate.

The Anti Tampering measures (Article 18) of the Regulation are covered by the Commission's Impact Assessment which states in Annex XVIII, that the EC needs to collect baseline data as to the impact of tampering on emissions and the level of tampering as a problem within motorcycling.

They admit they don't have the data yet, but in the same document say that 13% of the mopeds are tampered. The evidence available to them from TuV Nord is that across the whole fleet including larger motorcycles, only 5% are thought to be "tampered". They wish to impose the additional costs of Anti-tampering measures which may prevent us maintaining and repairing our own machines on 87% of law abiding moped riders and an even higher proportion of all riders. The EC claim this is proportionate!

Jon also found that the Automatic Head-lights On (AHO) measure is not mentioned at all in the Impact Assessment. There is no consideration of the effects on riders of older machines that don't switch their lights on or riders whose bulbs have blown in the event of a SMIDSY accident. There is no consideration as to whether failure to be illuminated would amount to contributory negligence on behalf of the rider in any of the member states and whether the measure creates a new duty of care TO BE seen for the rider, thus absolving the car driver in part for their failure to look. Again there is a lack of evidence as to the proportionality of the regulation.

SO WHAT TO DO NOW?

We need to write to our MEPs and ask them to uphold the same Treaty laws which grant them the power to take part in setting European wide legislation and not allow laws to be made that are disproportionate and seemingly not compliant with the Treaties.

I'll write a possible outline letter next week that you may wish to use, but in the meantime, any opportunity you get, please keep up the pressure on your MEP.

Committee stage votes don't often get postponed this many times, so we are getting through.

Every single MEP can vote when the Regulation goes before the whole Parliament (or Plenary Session) in the spring, so don't let your MEP fob you off by saying they aren't sitting on the IMCO committee. They have a responsibility to represent us. It's what they're paid for.

Maybe before that vote we'll have another opportunity to ride TOGETHER and show our feelings.

Kind regards

Paddy Tyson
Motorcycle Action Group
Campaigns Co-ordinator

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