IMCO Vote On Track?

The vote in the Committee of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) regarding EU Regulations for motorcycles, (aka the approval and market surveillance of two- or three-wheel vehicles and quadricycles) is on track for this Monday 5th December.

The vote will cover over 300 amendments that have been submitted by MEPs to the Europe Commission’s proposal, which seeks to simplify the current legal framework and to establish new administrative and technical requirements, for example on environmental and safety aspects and market surveillance.

Some of the amendments submitted by MEPs in our opinion, have turned a “technically neutral” proposal to technical incompetence, especially regarding what is Anti-tampering and which motorcycles are considered necessary to have anti tampering measures fitted by the motorcycle industry.  Thus making it “illegal” for owners to tamper with the ‘Powertrain’( as outlined in Article 18 of the Europe Commissions proposal), the components and systems of a vehicle that generate power and deliver it to the road surface.

At present anti-tampering measures already apply to mopeds in terms of power output and speed and Article 18 is where these anti-tampering measures should stay.  Although in our conversations with the Commission representative, he said that the Commission would like these measures to extend to L1 and L2 PTWs, (but want to exclude L3: 35Kw or more, which is what full licence motorcyclists would ride).

However the title of Article 18 says, “Measures regarding modifications to the powertrain of vehicles” and contains the text, “L-category vehicles shall be equipped with designated measures to prevent tampering of a vehicle’s powertrain.

Sticking out like a sore thumb is the difference between “modifications” legal and positive and “tampering” illegal and negative, covering all L-category vehicles (which includes all motorcycle categories),  in this respect, Article 18 is ambiguous and is the source of frustration and angst amongst riders because of its lack of clarity!

Article Snippets

With no justification or explanation what is a modification or a substantial modification or reasoning behind these amendments, Ms Westphal has introduced not only added extra cost to motorcyclists by requiring the motorcycle to be inspected and approved by the competent authority.

Our understanding of this amendment is that any modifications to the powertrain must be inspected and approved by the competent authority in any member state.

Surely her aim would not be to include aftermarket parts that already comply with type approval, are designed to replace, enhance and improve original parts

We consider these amendments are unnecessary, because they are offering a solution to a problem that does not exist for the majority of motorcyclists. It puts a financial a burden on motorcyclists, has no justification on grounds of safety or environmental matters and is detrimental to motorcyclists who positively modify their motorcycles.  What it does suggest is that the Commission has more knowledge about motorcycles than those MEPs who are deciding on the future of motorcycling.

We also consider these amendments unnecessary and any support to be driven by individual MEPs and especially their European Groups of political parties – all in the name of restricting motorcycle in the misbelieve of adding safety – safety – safety – have not looked at the real world of motorcycling.

Although at this late stage in the run up to the vote, we have contacted each of the seven political groups in the European Parliament asking them for their opinion regarding the proposal, especially surrounding the issue of anti-tampering and how this would or not affect motorcyclists from the custom of modifying their motorcycles.

We have now contacted the Rapporteur and Shadow Rapporteurs who we have not been in contact with in the IMCO committee, although earlier, we did receive an email from Mr van de Camp who was somewhat annoyed with our comments.

Although they are not UK MEPs they will have an effect on motorcycling in the UK and like it or not, at present we are citizens of Europe.  If you really feel the need to write to somebody about your concerns, we believe that these are the people you should be contacting.

We assume that the Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations (FEMA), who represent national motorcycle organisations, has been lobbying hard within Brussels.

We have written to FEMA in the spirit of getting facts and asked for information and FEMA’s opinion on the proposal.

We leave the last word to Wim van de Camp from his text in his report to the IMCO committee in February 2011

“Your rapporteur observes that within the motorcycle community, a well established culture of modification exists, to improve the performance of their vehicles. Preventing this will disadvantage many qualified riders. It should therefore be left to the discretion of Member States to deal with this kind of modifications”.

Let’s see if Mr van de Camp is true to his word!

Read the full article on Right To Ride EU – Click Here

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