Down The Plug Hole!

Angry retro biker sticking his tongue out.As reported by some European rider organisations, the Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations (FEMA) argues that, “Road users and motorcyclists in particular, have serious doubts about the objectiveness of the EU decision-making process and the actual motives and democratic values of our representatives.”

FEMA adds, “It would not be the first time the EU has been accused of not having its actual people’s interests as a priority.” and wonders, “how long it (we assume the European decision making process) can really afford to carry on operating like this.”

These accusations and further mutterings from FEMA concern the European Commission’s proposal to introduce mandatory Road Worthiness Testing (RWT) for motorcycles in all European member states. At this point in time there are 9 countries that do not have RWT aka MoT for motorcycles and scooters.

Just to be clear, our position at Right to Ride is and has always been that this is a national issue and should be left to Member States to decide, which is why we support the EU Council’s position (which is similar to the Northern Ireland Assembly’s position) to change the proposal into a Directive.

However we have also made it clear that we believe that roadworthiness testing is a valid means of ensuring that vehicles circulating on our roads are compliant from a technical and emissions perspective.


FEMA says that despite strong opposition from riders, the proposal is being dealt with the European Parliament’s representative committee (TRAN – Transport and Tourist) of MEPs, the Rapporteur Werner Kuhn, the MEP dealing with the proposal for the committee, “refused to meet with riders’ representatives.” According to FEMA “this calls into question the objectiveness and democracy of the decision-making process.”

FEMA continues that as the representative of the 40 million strong PTW community, it was excluded from a supposed ‘public’ hearing in January and only, “The views of professionals with a direct interest in the expansion of RWT, save one motorists organisation.”

FEMA through their national organisations’ membership represent directly approximately 180,000 riders with c.120,000 affiliated club members, state that “No other road users or truly independent road safety specialists were welcomed to voice their expertise and concern.” Adding that despite several requests, “MEP Kuhn hasn’t replied to FEMA.” Werner Kuhn is a German MEP and is in charge of the Road Worthiness Testing for the TRAN Committee, the TRAN Committee is chaired by UK MEP Brian Simpson.

FEMA comments that only one motoring organisation was invited to give its views at January’s Public Hearing and looking back at our own report of this meeting, this would appear to be the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile).

The FIA brings together leading national motoring organisations from 132 countries worldwide and is the governing body for world motor sport.

The FIA Region I office, based in Brussels, whose representative Laurianne Krid, Director of Policy attended and spoke at the TRAN Public Hearing, is a consumer body representing 106 Motoring and Touring Clubs and their 36 million members from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. FIA stated at the TRAN Public Hearing that they represent 8 million motorcyclists.

Right To Ride’s number of supporters, currently slightly more than 1,000, is certainly not as impressive as the FIA but it is more than the membership of some of FEMAs own national organisations.

We have on various occasions made our views very clear that FEMA does not represent us.

Writing To FEMA

In response to the previous press release that FEMA circulated, we wrote the following to the FEMA President :

“The first question I would ask is whether FEMA is fit for purpose, because inspite of a petition of 110,000 signatures, inspite of the fact that you as an organisation is being funded by the same Commission that is proposing road worthiness testing (through the project RIDERSCAN), you have clearly failed to make any impression at all.

With regards to the TRAN Committee, our previous experience with MEPs is to sit down and discuss the matter in conversations to ensure the best possible outcome – for example the Netherlands organisation MAG NL has their MEP Wim van de Camp on their side.

From our perspective in Northern Ireland, we don’t have a problem with RWT in fact we like it, because it ensures that un-roadworthy vehicles are kept off the road – whether for safety or environmental reasons. In Northern Ireland we have a system which is run by a government agency – so no private gain or profit and there is an annual failure rate of 7% which all considered is a substantial proportion of motorcycles/scooters and mopeds – all three categories are tested.

From our point of view, you as the President and Press Officer of FEMA need to consider that you do NOT represent all motorcyclists in Europe. What we believe needs to happen is to ensure that each country gets the best outcome and this can only happen through interaction and discussions with the TRAN Committee and the other participants”.

What Is The Actual Problem?

What is the actual problem between those individuals and bodies in the European decision making process?

In response to our queries, FEMA’s President Frederic Jeorge replied that they do meet the MEPs, interact and discuss, and have plenty of them (MEPs) on their side. However, evidently the FEMA representatives in Brussels are unable to have any impact within the TRAN committee or in this case with the rapporteur Werner Kuhn and Chairman Brian Simpson. Perhaps it is the case that FEMA left it too late and should have perhaps been in contact with these people months ago when the proposal was first introduced?

As per our previous article – RWT – Is it Toast? We considered what we believe to be the most likely outcome, which is that due to the vast difference of positions between the EP (i.e. Rapporteur Kuhn of the TRAN Committee) and the EU Council, we find it unlikely that this proposal will see the light of day in its present form, because the majority of the Member States don’t want it (RWT) as proposed by the Commission, nor do a significant proportion of MEPs.

Let’s hope somebody can enlighten us or get this alleged problem sorted before riders representative credibility swirls down the plug hole!

Read the FEMA press release in full and comment at Right To Ride EU – Click Here


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