Shouting or Educating?

Over the weekend my BMF (British Motorcyclists Federation) members’ magazine – Motorcycle Rider – slipped through the letterbox. As soon as it was removed from its plastic wrapper I leafed through to the lobby section to read up on what the BMF’s political bod Chris Hodder was up to as regarding the EU Commission regulation proposal.

Given the importance of the issue there was no surprise to find four full pages covering the Regulation proposal.

The contents of the lobby section, are already published on the BMF website, including “The nuts and bolts of type approval” article which starts with: “Proposed changes to motorcycle type approval procedures have got a lot of attention from the press recently. But much of the debate has been based on false information and extreme interpretations. We set out to assess the facts.” and does just that.

Visit To Brussels

Chris Hodder reports on his visit to Brussels with the purpose of clarifying the motorcyclists’ position and to get to the bottom of type approval: “What’s proposed, when it will happen and how it will affect motorcyclists by meeting MEPs.”

Chris met, Malcolm Harbour MEP for the West Midlands and Chair of the IMCO committee (Internal Market and Consumer Protection) “in charge” of the EU Parliaments side of the regulation proposal.  He also met Bill Newton Dunn MEP Liberal Democrat for The East Midlands and member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group, who had approached the BMF for clarification. His reason was so that he could form a view after numerous complaining emails without specifics or being consistent or accurate. Finally, Chris met Catherine Stihler Labour MEP for Scotland and a member of the IMCO

The article sets out some of the BMF concerns and opinions which are, “Namely over ABS and sweeping anti-tampering proposals, there are positive things in this legislation that we should welcome, such as CO2 measurement, universal access to repair and maintenance information and standardised diagnostic systems (i.e.) warning lights for failed components).

“How Will It Affect Me?”

Finally there is a question and answer section “How Will It Affect Me?” This looks at how the proposal will affect different riders of different styles of motorcycles from the Classic Bike Enthusiast to the Custom Bike Builder through to the Sportsbike Enthusiast, Adventurer Bike Rider and Touring Rider.

Bike Dealers, Independent Workshops or Garages are also covered and picks up on access to manufacturers data repair and maintenance information, standardised on-board diagnostics which will mean a wider range of bikes can be serviced and repaired by non-franchised workshops. The BMF do point out that these bikes, “Will also be more complicated, but this is the current trend anyway with traction control and high-end ABS, for example.”

This is also the crux of the proposed regulation which is to catch up on technical advances and innovations and to make sure that what innovations the manufacturers are offering riders, either as part of what they think riders need or what riders are asking for.  This is in the context of the expectation that the next generation of motorcycles is technically capable, safe and of standardised conformity.

Don’t mistake the use of the word “conformity” as meaning a “Euro Spec” bike that is bland and universally the same from each manufacturer. In this context conformity means that each model of motorcycle produced e.g. every Honda Fireblade sitting in a dealer’s showroom will be the same as it comes out of the box on performance, emissions and basically will not fall apart, at least not until the warranty period is over – but there’s a whole different discussion.

Innovations and production of different types and styles from the manufacturers are not dead.

A Certain Trend

Anyway back to the BMF.  There is a certain “trend” on the Lobby pages with reference to lobbying MEPs, such as “Many MEPs are willing to help on this issue but if we want them to lobby on motorcycling’s behalf, we mustn’t muddy the water with spurious claims”.

“Confusion has arisen ……because there has been a lot of ill-informed scaremongering over these proposals (sometimes throwing in issues that have nothing to do with this legislation) that have only served to confuse the whole issue, including MEPs.” Proposed changes to motorcycle type approval procedures have got a lot of attention from the press recently, but much of the debate has been based on false information and extreme interpretations.”

At Right To Ride we have said previously and reiterate, “A big round of appreciative applause from Right To Ride for the BMF telling it like it is and following very close behind with what we have been writing for over two years.”

Finally and we couldn’t agree more with the BMF that, “The important thing to bear in mind is that this is the way the European Union does things. There’s no hidden agenda to curb motorcycling, it’s just that some politicians and some bureaucrats are so desperate to reduce motorcycle casualties that they come up with all sorts of odd ideas and it’s our job to put them right, not by shouting at them but by educating them.”

Trevor Baird @ Right To Ride

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