Wrong Proposal At The Wrong Time

bmworangesmallRecently the UK MEP Brian Simpson (Chairman of the Transport And Tourism Committee), astounded motorcyclists with his comment at the end of a discussion about the Road Worthiness Testing (RWT) proposal (which his committee is tasked to examine on behalf of the European parliament) that he was astounded that 12 member states do not have testing for motorcycles and more importantly, that they are the “biggest death carrier on our roads.”

In our opinion it was pretty clear from the way he said it, that he was making a defiant statement. That may not be politically correct, but we would bet the flood of emails and statements he received prior to the meeting encouraged by certain rider’s organisations, would have seriously irritated him.

As motorcycle organisations have relied more and more on Facebook and the rest of social media to influence riders with their opinions, the type of rhetoric – the strident and shrill comments, which he no doubt received before and after his statement, is not the best way to influence a politician in order to put a coherent position across.

Comments such as “I cannot believe” from the representative of FEMA on Facebook, who also reported that neither Mr Simpson nor Mr Kuhn (TRAN Committee Rapporteur) replied to FEMA prior to the recent committee meeting, have not made the slightest difference to the situation. The sooner that rider organisations realise that Facebook is not an extension of lobbying, the better off we’ll all be. Mr Simpson was making a point against member states that do not have MoT (RWT) for motorcycles.

So what! – if Mr Simpson has an opinion and uses that to influence the debate and to make a point, then grown up lobbying needs to step in to intelligently challenge his point of view. For example it appears that Mr Simpson is a steam train enthusiast, so if anybody could have offered Mr Simpson a chance to be on the footplate of the Flying Scotsman we might have got his attention – whatever it takes!

Norway

noorwegentegenapk_020413smallMeanwhile Mr Simpson might want to add to his astonishment, a letter sent by the government of Norway. Norway is not a member of the European Union but through the European Economic Area (EAA) Agreement has implemented the present directive and the new proposal would be relevant for this country.

This is outlined in a letter from the Norwegian Minister for Transport to the German MEP Werner Kuhn who is Rapporteur in charge of the file for the TRAN Committee and thus the European Parliament.

The letter, which has been reproduced by the Dutch rider’s organisation MAG Netherlands also outlines the opposition to the plan for motorcycles to have mandatory RWT (‘MOT’). This position of the Norwegian Transport Ministry is reported as being mainly due to the influence of NMCU (Norsk Motorcykkel Union, the riders’ organisation in Norway. NB: Norway does not have RWT for motorcycles.

With regards to motor cycles, the minister Marit Arnstad writes, “I can however, not support the proposal to include new categories of vehicles in the periodic test regime:

As to the suggested incorporation of two wheelers, I believe that the link between accidents and technical failure should be further scrutinized. National statistics concerning accidents involving two-wheelers, indicate that technical failure as a (contributing) cause of accidents is modest. According to these statistics, other risk factors are the main causes of accidents. In addition, two-wheelers are often used on a seasonable basis due to climate conditions. On this basis, the proposal to include two and three – wheelers in the periodic testing regime, seems not to be proportionate.”

The minister also adds concerns on the addition of certain tractors and light trailers and suggestions to enhance the independency of RWT/MoT inspectors and economic operators involved in roadworthiness testing activities, to keep repairs and testing separate.

These are concerns already mirrored by the UK Government as well as here in Northern Ireland along with the cost of implementing these proposals.

As we in the UK already have MoT/RWT testing for motorcycles (Powered Two Wheelers) our concerns are not about the mandatory introduction of RWT for our bikes, but in the content of what is to be tested and the frequency of testing, even though the proposal promises minimum standards.

Parallel Universe

However we do support other rider organisations who present a sane and rational approach in challenging the European Commission’s proposal and the Tran Committee’s position, which appears to have a majority of the committee in favour of pushing through mandatory testing for motorcycles.

This may not be the case, perhaps a politician can tell us otherwise!

What interests us is that the Commission and the TRAN Committee appear to live in a parallel universe. Countries throughout Europe are struggling to keep afloat economically. These proposals will require enormous investment and cost.

It is fascinating that the Commission and TRAN Committee have both ignored the Council of Ministers, which has made quite a significant number of changes to the original proposal.

Surely a letter from the Norwegian Minister of Transport (Norway is not a country to shy away from road safety issues, nor is NMCU) should sound the alarm that from where we are sitting, it seems that it’s just the wrong proposal at the wrong time.

Information

MAG Netherland Report & Norwegian Ministry Letter – Click Here

NMCU – Click Here

Brian Simpson MEP at Tran Committee – You Tube – Click Here

Leave Comments on Right To Ride EU – Click Here

 

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