FEMA Newsletter

Click For FEMA WebsiteFEMA the Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations has published its latest newsletter.

The newsletter covers in brief some of the decisions taken in Brussels in 2012. It explains that FEMA and its member organisations are looking forward to the challenges of 2013 to which they are committed to continue and play an “active” role in the successful promotion of motorcycling in the European Union.

FEMA explains that, “The new European regulation on the approval of two-wheelers, which has recently been approved by the European Parliament and by the Council, is bringing safer and greener bikes to European customers as from 2016.”

As regards acceptable compromises regarding issues like vehicle tampering, the accessibility of repair and maintenance information and durability requirements for pollution control devices, while supporting the introduction of stricter emission limits, FEMA says that, “it reached acceptable compromises”, presumably for its member National Organisations .

FEMA says, “New on the Brussels agenda is the proposal of the European Commission to introduce periodic roadworthiness tests for all powered two-wheelers in Europe along with short testing intervals.”

The Federation states that, “it rejects this proposal as it is expensive and ineffective in terms of motorcycle safety.” The newsletter goes on to explain that, “EU member states have drafted significant changes to the Commission’s proposal for a regulation on periodic roadworthiness tests. Following their Council meeting they suggest to turn the regulation into a directive and, partly in response to the pressure of motorcyclists’ associations, to continue to leave it to the discretion of a member state to require periodic roadworthiness tests (RWT) for motorcycles.”

In reviewing the newsletter, the present General Secretary of FEMA, Aline Delhaye, highlights the events FEMA has organised and participated in to keep the issue of “friendly” road restraint systems (also referred as crash barriers) high on the political agenda:

Publication of an elaborated manual for road authorities

Launched a website to promote and inform about motorcycle friendly road restraint systems already available on the market.

FEMA also lauched “RIDERSCAN” at the FEMA organised European Motorcyclists Forum (EMF), the project which is co-funded by the European Commission which aims at gathering the existing knowledge on motorcycle safety in order to identify missing information and good practices, and provide guidance to national and European road authorities.

FEMA finally takes the opportunity to, “warmly thank you for your support and wish you all the very best for the end of the year’s celebrations and this coming New Year.” and toRide Safe.”

www.fema-online.eu

Right To Ride comments:

News from FEMA is always welcome as it is the only “recognised” organisation to represent road going motorcyclists in Europe in Brussels.

We would have liked to see more active participation by this organisation in the negotiations for the Type Approval proposal and our understanding from our meetings with various players in Brussels was that FEMA’s input was “weak”.

Whether FEMA or any other organisation has the right to claim victory for the outcome of these negotiations is really irrelevant because the proof will be in the pudding or rather, we’ll still need to see how this regulation is implemented and for example we still need to see what happens with the Delegated Acts, (e.g. what level of anti-tampering measures – if any – are implemented for the A2 category bikes).

FEMA in this respect is at a huge disadvantage because it does not have any technical experts present within the Motorcycle Working Group, to ensure that riders will get a good deal. What this means is that the manufacturers with the army of experts can negotiate the best deal for them and not necessarily for the motorcycling community. Perhaps it is time that the FEMA Committee considers hiring motorcycling experts rather than Public Relations gurus.

With regards to the Road Worthiness Testing proposal, in this case it was the decision of the Member States through the European Council to throw out many of the contentious parts of the proposal, which also comprised the exclusion of L3e and L4e motorcycles and sidecars (i.e. low, medium and high performance motorcycles) – but not mopeds or light quads.

At Right To Ride we have always stated that each country and organisation has the right to make their own decisions and in that respect we supported subsidiarity or rather, leaving the decision to Member States. With the most important amendment included by the Members States – which was changing the proposed regulation to a Directive, effectively this will allow each EU country to decide how they wish to implement this proposal.

In the case of the United Kingdom, we at Right To Ride have always stated that the MoT system here – although not perfect, works and ensures that unsafe motorcycles and mopeds are kept off our roads. In that respect we disagree with FEMA’s analysis and their reason to protest against Road Worthiness testing.

While we accept that the cases of vehicles with defects as the cause of accidents are few and far between, we would argue that in the UK (especially in Northern Ireland where the local government has an excellent road safety record) part of the reason is that this is due to riders ensuring that the bikes are presentable once a year when they go to have their bike MoTd.

We can quote our own study on Motorcycle Fatalities in Northern Ireland and highlight that around 12.2% of the bikes in the study had mechanical defects.

Simply, this is a national issue and not one that should have been spearheaded by a pan European organisation such as FEMA, especially in consideration of the fact that the evidence provided by FEMA was fundamentally flawed.

With regards to the RIDERSCAN project, we can only wish FEMA good luck with that and look forward to seeing the results in due course.

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