30 October 2012

EU press release says MEPs and EU Council agree on Type Approval Regs

The EU Parliament has issued a press release saying they are happy they've now closed a deal on the Type Approval Regulation and seem pleased that they've got the EU Commission to promise it will have done a cost analysis in 4 years time.

Perhaps that'll be enough time to ensure they have gathered some evidence to justify the move...

Even though the European Ombudsman found that the Commission had a case to answer as it had failed to supply supporting evidence for the proposals on anti-tampering, and even though the UK Government felt it necessary to do its own impact assessments as the Commission's offerings weren't robust, the EU Parliamentarians have pressed on regardless.

Campaigning to date has certainly lessened the blow and now the anti-modification rules included in the regulation will only apply to bikes under 48hp (as opposed to all bikes as originally intended), but this is still a terrible day for 'project Europe'.

The Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee IMCO (who lead the parliament on this and who seem deaf to the needs of the consumers they are tasked to protect) have only to rubber stamp the agreement before it goes to the full EU Parliament, or Plenary Session, on 19th November 2012.

The technical detail is still to be finalised, but under the Lisbon Treaty the bureaucrats still have over a year to complete the 'delegated acts' which contain them.

So not only is much of the rationale for this regulation unsubstantiated, it won't even have been fully written before our Parliamentarians vote it into law.

As disappointing as this is, we should not be too downhearted, because all the letters we wrote and awareness we raised, did make a difference. Remember those early amendments for ABS on everything from 50cc up, or the desire to remove from sale all aftermarket parts which may improve performance or alter the power-train from standard?  They've now gone and riders who choose a bike over 48hp in future will still be able to modify it, for now.
But the precedent has been set, both curbing modifications and being prepared to pass legislation without any evidential base.

Our own Dept for Transport (responding in a letter to the (UK) Transport Select Committee) has just stated that they expect the compulsion of ABS on bikes over 125cc (through this EU legislation) to mean 70 fewer fatalities each year. That's almost an amazing 20% which doesn't match any of the studies that have been cited or indeed what the UK concluded in its own assessment of the proposal last year! But it should be easy to measure if they're right and all the research is wrong. Perhaps even they just can't be bothered fighting any more and would rather paint the legislation in a good light.

Motorcycling is a very small lobby, but it's only because we work together we even manage the representation we do and with every issue we address, the cumulative effect is that legislators are taking notice of motorcycling, especially in the UK.

You may already be aware of the advances being made to stave off the worst excesses of the new Road Worthiness Test (RWT) Regulation (reported last week)  and if we are completely successful, the UK will get to keep the MoT we have. Of course we are being aided in this by the car and caravan lobby as this RWT will affect them too, but that is a perfect example of why all riders should involve themselves with riders' rights, because sitting back and hoping someone else will preserve motorcycling will mean we never have a voice.

You can read the whole (short) EU press release on the

euhandsoffbiking

website, where you can also grab a t-shirt for £5 and help fund the continuing campaigns

--   Paddy Tyson  Campaigns Coordinator  Motorcycle Action Group  www.mag-uk.org  01926 844064  

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