12 July 2012

MoT across Europe?

From Paddy Tyson.

I reported February that EU Periodic Technical Inspections (PTI) for motorcycles seemed to have faded away.

It is very rare indeed for over 18months to elapse between an EU public consultation closing and the subject to advance as a firm proposal from the Commission, so we felt able to contemplate that the Commission had gone off the idea, given that they were unable to provide any link between bike accidents and road worthiness testing.

Nine countries in Europe have no form of PTI (or MoT as we refer to it here) and yet there is no instance of increased injury due to unroadworthy bikes. The 9 countries are Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Malta, the Netherlands, and Portugal.

Given the problems the Commission is facing with its attempts to foist anti-tampering rules on us without any proof, we mistakenly thought they would at least attempt to produce some justification for a euro-wide PTI, but the power of the private PTI lobby is great and they stand to make a fortune as the majority of the total bike fleet (35 million) in Europe is over 4 years old, the age at which the Commission propose testing should commence.

In the UK we already have the MoT of course, so British riders won't be affected as profoundly as our European colleagues, but this new example of private industry lobby strength, is worrying. The full proposal is expected to be made public tomorrow, Friday 13th.

If you have a moment, there is a good account of developments here.

It's good to see that FEMA have adopted our EU Hands off slogan, which gives me an opportunity to say that T-shirts (in many sizes) are still available from http://www.euhandsoffbiking.co.uk/  for only £5. It seems they'll be as relevant next year as this!

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As for the Type Approval Regulation, we have, as you know, made great inroads.

- The Parliamentary vote has been postponed again until October 25th

- bikes over 47bhp have been exempted from anti-tampering (article 18);

- the onus is being placed on manufacturers to use best engineering practice to ensure we can't modify those bikes still included; the list of what aftermarket parts will be affected by article 52 will now be removed from the dreaded 'Delegated Acts' and written as 'implementing measures' which means they will therefore be seen by negotiators before the proposal becomes law;

- ABS will not now apply to all bikes from 50cc up as the Parliament had hoped, but only those above 125cc and even then, there may yet be the possibility of manufacturers fitting an isolating switch.

Which makes it all the more frustrating when everyone's favourite MEP, Bill Newton-Dunn of the East Midlands, takes it upon himself to continue to attack MAG at any opportunity and to continue to issue inaccurate and misleading information.

Given that he refuses to engage in any meaningful dialogue, it is amazing that he persistently says no-one informs him of what's going on and in the next breadth feels confident enough to attack MAG with misleading information.
His latest missive to constituents is that MAG now fully accepts the EU Parliament's position, a position which is certainly moving towards what we want (as you can see from the gains outlined above), but still has a way to go.

It's hardly that we've moved toward their position!!!

It was they of course, who wanted ABS on 50cc bikes and anti-modification rules that would even penalise bike shops for doing any work on riders' behalf.

I am told that the headquarters of "MAG", which is one of the UK motorcyclists member organisations which has been violently hostile to forthcoming EU law, that they now accept the European Parliament's position. I hope that their headquarters informed their members.

I have just come off the phone to his office in Brussels to ascertain exactly who told him and to ask why these ill-informed attacks on MAG persist.

No answer was forthcoming, but there was agreement that a jointly written statement of apology may be published in the future, though probably after the summer break...

Please remember that if you have the misfortune of Bill Newton Dunn being your Representative in Brussels, remain as polite as possible.

He has written of MAG members issuing death threats, yet when we offered to help him press charges, he said "Don't worry, I'm used to it", and failed to provide specifics.

MAG will not condone threatening behaviour and it won't help any lobby case, but we do understand the incredible frustration that you must feel if you live in the East Midlands. Please note, that BNDs attitude is not typical of MEPs and definitely not typical of the Liberal Democrats who, in other parts of the country are being very active on our behalf.

If you are proud to be associated with MAG regardless of what BND may profess, then you may wish to wear our logo on your chest - there are products to suit all tastes herehttp://www.conistonshop.com/index.php

Paddy Tyson Campaigns Coordinator Motorcycle Action Group - http://www.mag-uk.org

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