MOTORCYCLES UNDER EU SCRUTINY - NEW TYPE APPROVAL THREATENS POWER RESTRICTIONS
March 5 2009.


A new and potentially draconian EU type approval regulation framework, up until now only applying to cars and commercial vehicles, is being considered for motorcycles warn the British Motorcyclists Federation.

With EU elections approaching in May, the BMF is asking motorcyclists to lobby their MEP candidates to ensure that the framework receives proper informed scrutiny and to support the BMF's response to the consultation document, the 'Framework Regulation of the European Parliament on Type-Approval of Two and Three wheel Motor Vehicles and Quadricycles' (see note below).

The new framework regulations not only: 'concern the setting of new emission limits, together with the introduction of durability limits, CO2 measurement, fuel consumption measurement, evaporative emissions limits, a new test procedure for mopeds and new limits for quadricycles', but the consultation document also states that 'two and three-wheelers show a generally worse road accident data than other vehicles', and raises the question of maximum power outputs.

In its response to the curbing of power outputs to 74 KW (100bhp), the BMF points out that as France is the only member state who has implemented such a power limit and has not received a road safety benefit from it, its wider adoption is not justified. Supporting the BMF's view, the UK Transport Research Laboratory's own assessment is that there is no safety benefit in imposing power limits, a fact also borne out by the EU funded Motorcycle Accidents In Depth Study (MAIDS) of 2004.

On emission levels, the BMF says that while it sees no reason why emission limit values for motorcycles should not be equivalent to Euro 5 for cars, the plan to use different methods of measurement to those applying to cars will only cause confusion and make sensible comparisons unnecessarily difficult.

In considering the mandatory fitting of Advanced Braking Systems (ABS) to all machines, the BMF says that while a strong supporter of improved rider safety, because there is no general agreement as to what constitutes an ABS system, the benefits of ABS, especially on lower cost motorcycles where the cost to users could be prohibitive, have not been proven. The industry is already rolling out suitable ABS on motorcycles say the BMF so making a particular system mandatory at this stage would be a retrograde step.

Proposed controls on modifications to motorcycles (anti-tampering measures) are an anathema to many motorcyclists say the BMF and while currently the existing legislation applies to smaller machines, proposals for restrictions on power outputs, engine control units, fuel systems etc., is a cause for legitimate concern that could well be rolled out to larger machines say the BMF.

Commenting, the BMF's Government relations Executive Chris Hodder said: "This consultation is really applying the lessons from the car world to motorcycles. As cars get cleaner, motorcycles will have to follow suit, as cars get safer, the legislators look for ways of improving motorcycle safety. While we accept that the solutions aren't easy, vigilance and proper scrutiny is key if we are to avoid ill-informed legislation."

As EU elections are due in May, the BMF is now encouraging motorcyclists to lobby their MEP on these issues. Draft letters can be found at:

http://www.bmf.co.uk/pages/bmf_main_pages.php?main_page_id=778  

and MEP addresses at: http://www.europarl.org.uk/uk_meps/MembersMain.htm 

The full consultation document is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/automotive/mcwg_meetings/27_02_2009/index.htm  



Note: EU Directive 2002/24/EC (implemented in May 2003), established a harmonized framework for the European type-approval vehicle of mopeds, motorcycles, tricycles and quadricycles, but since then, a new framework Directive for cars, trucks, buses and trailers has been implemented which, say the Commission, should be extended to two and three-wheeled vehicles.

Further, the Commission states that two and three-wheelers show a generally worse road accident data than other vehicles and now 'wishes to prepare a revision of the legislation on the type approval of two and three-wheelers as well as new measures on safety and pollutant emissions to be proposed in mid-2009.'