RWT – Is it Toast?

rwt_toast_cover-250The RWT (Road Worthiness Testing) procedures are probably as interesting as dried toast, but as motorcyclists we need to keep on top of these procedures so that we know what our future is.

The Commission’s proposal if implemented would create enormous change across Europe and for different reasons, governments, consumer organisations and politicians have opposing views about the proposal.

The Commission’s proposal started the ball rolling, followed by the response from the EU Council, the latest point in the procedures are the amendments from the TRAN (Transport and Tourism) Committee’s rapporteurs as well as the opinion of the IMCO (Internal Market and Consumer Protection) Committee.

State of Play

This is where we are at the moment. Having trawled through the documentation, read all the opinions, discussed the issues with various stakeholders etc, we at Right To Ride are of the view that this proposal will most probably fall in the second reading in Parliament.

The decision to kill this proposal will be not due to the ability of lobbying nor petitions, nor protest rides, it will simply be a matter of national governments not wanting to spend enormous sums of money to implement such a regulation.

In these uncertain times of economic woe, the last thing the Member States need is to spend millions of Euros or Pounds on changing a system which in the case of the UK, the government here would argue that it does not require changing.

The European Council has made its decision which was to throw out parts of the Commission’s proposal and turn the document into not quite, but almost a toothless tiger.

Changing the proposal into a Directive means that Member states would have significant leeway to decide how they could implement it. The exclusion of motorcycles in some countries, or tractors and trailers in others is a cost factor.

Equally in the case of separating the RWT test inspection from repairers and mechanics (which for example would mean the end of MoTs by independent mechanics who also carry out repairs in Great Britain), this would mean huge economic loss for the repair and maintenance sector.

The Federation of Small Businesses not only highlights this important factor, but also mention other consequences that would affect the UK such as the changes proposed for trailers and tractors.

For pdf – 267kb – Click Here

Right To Ride’s Point of View

As we have repeatedly commented in the past, it ain’t over until the fat lady sings, but we have considered all the evidence and for now at least, this is our point of view.

Unfortunately the TRAN Committee ignored the wishes of the Council and has aligned itself with the Commission by agreeing that the proposal should be a regulation.

With a regulation, you would expect Member States to have next to no room for manoeuvre which means whatever is agreed, e.g. the Rapporteur Kuhn’s proposals for 4.2.2 and separate MoT inspections from repair shops, would become the standard.

But crucially we expect that the Council will never accept these changes, regardless of what the parliament decides, as they have already changed the draft law into a Directive.

In those circumstances, we can’t see how there could be any compromise in a trialogue as the positions are just so far apart.

In which case the file would go to a second reading, and Mr Kuhn would need a qualified majority this time to get his radical amendments back in, which would be very unlikely.

Conclusions

Since the introduction of the proposal for a regulation on Road Worthiness Testing from the European Commission in July 2013 we have heard from:

The European Council (Member States) who want the regulation changed to a directive and has removed mandatory testing for motorcycles from their report.

The Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee opinion and suggested amendments, which focuses on single market matters.

The opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) which endorses and supports the Commission’s initiative and the Committee fully agrees on the need to include motorcycles. However, they say that the proposed test frequency (4-2-1) is excessive for these vehicles, which have a very low annual mileage. The Committee therefore proposes a reduced frequency (4-2-2) (Right To Ride – first test at 4 years and then every 2 years thereafter).

The TRAN (Transport and Tourism) Committee draft report and included amendments has left L category vehicles in the proposal – that includes mopeds, scooters motorcycles, sidecar combinations and trikes, however it has amended the frequency to 4-2-2 for PTWs and cars.

The draft report has left the proposal as a Regulation (not a Directive as proposed by the EU Council), what this means is that ALL member states would have to comply to the regulation.

What is highlighted is that for countries which already have Road Worthiness Testing and stricter testing for example the UK, 3-1-1 (first test at 3 years and then every 1 year thereafter) would have to comply to extend the time between RWT – less testing for motorcycles.

Also if the regulation was accepted and voted on by the European Parliament, then there would have to be a separation of those who test motorcycles and those that repair motorcycles then that would have a huge impact in England, Scotland and Wales where riders can take their bikes for a service, MoT preparation, MoT repair and testing. In Northern Ireland – this separation is already the case (the inspections are carried out by a government agency) so it wouldn’t affect us.

The Rapporteurs will present these draft reports in the next TRAN Committee meeting on the 19th March 2013, any other amendments may be submitted by 27th March 2013, a vote in the TRAN Committee on 29th or 30th March 2013, which would be the recommended position for the European Parliament to vote on 2nd July 2013.

However as previously mentioned, there is such a vast difference of position from all parties that for a vote in Parliament to go through on a First Reading (with prior agreement in any Trialogue meetings from all these parties to establish a common position) would seem highly unlikely.

You may wish to write to your MEPs with your own opinion and thoughts, however you can use any of the information we have picked out here and in previous articles.

What we don’t offer is a standardised or suggested letter for you to use.

What we do offer is information so that you can make your mind up!

Information

For full information on the TRAN Committee draft reports and IMCO Opinion view our document – Road Worthiness Testing – Is it Toast?- pdf – 650kb – Click Here

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