Washington Post

On the 15th July “The Washington Post” published an article entitled – “Britain’s continental drift away from the European Union” on its website

The article states that, “Proposed new pan-European rules would forbid motorcycle owners from doctoring bikes themselves, outraging tens of thousands of British bikers and becoming the latest symbol here of continental authority run amok.”

Strangely or not, the focus of the article is on UK MP Steve Baker who is described as, “a dashing English engineer” who is “fed up with the long hand of the European Union in British life.”

The article explains that Europe, “had gone too far by interfering with his pride and joy: the retrofitted KTM 950 motorcycle he rides on the country lanes of Buckinghamshire.” and that the proposed pan-European rules are, “outraging tens of thousands of British bikers and becoming the latest symbol here of continental authority run amok.”

Apparently according to “The Washington Post”, “Baker is also the wrong biker to mess with.”

The thrust of the article is based on the proposed EU motorcycle regulation, but as the title of the article suggests, it really concerns the debate about the UK leaving the European Union.

But MP Steve Baker should know what the European Commission’s proposal actually means for motorcyclists in the UK.

As Chairman of Associate Parliamentary Motorcycle Group he has been briefed on the regulation and is therefore fully aware that there is nothing within the proposal that would forbid motorcycle owners from “doctoring” their bikes.

He will also be aware that the “proposal” has gone through many changes and amendments.

At this point in time, any measures will only apply to mopeds and bikes up to 125cc to prevent young riders from tampering with certain parts of the power train such as the exhaust or air filter.

It is unclear, in spite of having the information available why Mr Baker persists in misinforming not only his constituents in the UK, but a world famous newspaper – The Washington Post, the same newspaper responsible for bringing to light the Watergate scandal.

What is apparent from his website www.stevebaker.info is Steve Baker’s anti EU stance and a position on the proposed regulation that emulates the briefings of the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG UK). Over the last year or so, the vitriolic call to arms by this organisation to fight the EU, has followed the same logic as the MP Steve Baker, in fact MAG has proudly associated itself with him as he has with MAG.

We had written to Steve Baker previously and received a courteous “thank you” reply but no mention of what he thought of our briefing on the proposed regulation.

“The Washington Post”

We wrote the following to the “The Washington Post”:

“The article suggests that motorcyclists in the UK will not be allowed to modify their motorcycles due to an EU Commission proposal which aims to reduce the bureaucracy of the technical regulations relating to the motorcycle industry – from 13 to 4 regulations.

The European parliament has in turn produced a report and a series of amendments to this proposal.

Over the last few weeks, this has been the basis for meetings between the Commission, the Council (which represents the Member States) and the representatives of the parliament.

The final version of this proposal will most probably be voted on in the EU parliament in October.

To state that this proposal aims to ban bikers from modifying their motorcycles is just not true. Part of the proposal was to introduce measures to prevent illegal modifications i.e. anti-tampering on motorcycles that are already restricted such as mopeds and 125cc bikes.

There was also a possibility of extending this to <47bhp bikes, but it seems that this category (A2) will be excluded.

These were specific to parts such as the exhaust, air filter etc and nothing to do with the chassis or parts of the motorcycle that are not related to power and emissions.

What we have witnessed in the UK is hysteria and hype by a motorcycle organisation with the support of certain anti-EU politicians.

Ultimately when the proposal is put to parliament after the summer break, we can all take stock of what the final document contains, but we know for a fact that there is absolutely nothing in that proposal that suggests that bikers will be unable to modify their motorcycles.

This has been a very interesting exercise in selling snake oil.

This article has been incredibly biased and misleading – I’m surprised that the Washington Post didn’t do their homework. But then again, nor did Steve Baker”.

Washington Post Article – Click Here

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