Wading Through Molasses – MCWG

The European Commission’s Motorcycle Working Group (MCWG) met on Thursday the 14th December to discuss further the proposal for a Regulation (co-decision act) of Council and Parliament on type-approval and market surveillance of L-category vehicles.

This is the first meeting since the Committee of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) where MEPs voted on amendments on the 5th December.

The final IMCO report has yet to be published, however 17 amendments were withdrawn before the vote, because they had no place in the discussion, such as road side checks, training, PTI (periodical Technical Inspections) and others that were not strictly related to technical regulations.

There were also 9 compromise amendments including, the timetable, on-board diagnostic (OBD), anti-tampering, individual vehicle approval, classification and inclusion / exclusion of certain vehicle types, obligatory fitting of advanced brake systems.

Parallel to the political debate and agendas by various MEPs, the MCWG, has met regularly and it is this working group that is assisting in the implementation of the proposed regulation.

This working group is made up of the European Commission (DG Enterprise and Industry), member state government representatives; stakeholders including ACEM (the European Motorcycle Industry in Europe) as well as other relevant industry representatives; Non-Government Organisations including FEMA (Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations) and FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme).

Guidelines and Rules

It could be said that the proposed regulation will set out the guidelines or code for implementing the regulation, but sitting behind these “guidelines” are the rules or the delegated acts which will set out the technical content. These delegated acts are:

  • Regulation on environmental and propulsion performance requirements (REPPR);
  • Regulation on vehicle functional safety requirements (RVFSR);
  • Regulation on vehicle construction requirements (RVCR).
  • Regulation on administrative requirements (RAR)

The purpose of yesterday’s MCWG meeting was to exchange views on certain items within the scope of these proposed delegated and implementing acts, in particular items related to:

  • Braking, including anti-lock and combined braking systems
  • On steer-ability, cornering properties and turn-ability to address issues observed with extreme chopper style vehicles – mainly for national and individual approval purposes – introduced width of 6.0 m and 3.0 m slalom pitch under review
  • Display of rider skill, just as brake testing, therefore acceptable for type-approval testing.
  • Installation of tyres – all tyres have to be type-approved on component level – installation and clearance test on vehicle level – manufacturers may test for worst-case speed rated tyres (which are allowed to dynamically grow larger), so that once the vehicle is in-use, aftermarket tyres with a higher speed rating can be fitted by the vehicle owner
  • Manufacturer declaration requirements regarding endurance testing of functional safety critical systems, parts and equipment
  • Anti-tampering measures

TRL Studies

The MCWG agenda also included a review and presentation of studies by the TRL (Transport Research Laboratory) regarding – durability – powertrain tampering prevention and an introduction of new planned studies.

The TRL presentation to the MCWG regarding its tampering assessment sets out the aims of the study and terms of reference, which are:

  • Identify measures which can be implemented at type approval to reduce or prevent “harmful tampering” to the drivetrain of L-category vehicles
  • Harmful tampering has a “detrimental impact on safety and/or the environment”

But

  • Does NOT affect any other tampering/modification, i.e. those which have no effect on safety, environment or noise
  • Is not gathering data on the scale of tampering in the fleet. It is developing measures to help maintain the level of safety and environmental protection provided by type approval requirements

TRL states that their tampering test programme is now nearing completion at JRC (The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, providing independent scientific and technological support for EU policy-making) and is expected to be completed early 2012.

Commission – Motorcyclists’ Issues

In their presentation to the MCWG, the European Commission reports that they have issues with:

  • Mandatory fitting of advanced brake systems on motorcycles (although what issues they may have, was not identified in the presentation);
  • Suppression of Euro 3 environmental step and related timing issues.

Next Steps

The European Commission reports that further meetings will take place on the 19th and 20th December 2011 to review the IMCO amendments and that the next steps include Trilogue meetings, negotiations between European Parliament and Council with support of the Commission and a first reading, vote in European Parliament plenary meeting on 14th March 2012.

While this may seem like wading through molasses this is part of the process of implementing EU regulations and where the real difference will be made until MEPs get to vote in the EU Parliament.

MCWG meetings documentation – Click Here

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