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Compulsory ABS and Anti-Modification proposals from the European Union

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A series of measures that threaten riders’ freedom to make informed choices, potentially putting riders in harms way and threatening the right to free-movement, have been proposed by the European Commission (the body of appointed civil servants that shapes motorcycle policy).

A committee of elected Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) is currently considering these proposals and has already started to consider recommendations in advance of a critical vote on 4th May 2011.

You can help make a difference to the outcome of that vote by asking your elected MEPs not to support the most controversial recommendations and biggest threats to rider choice, including:

Compulsory Advanced Braking Systems (ABS) ABS does not work well on loose surfaces.The costs of fitting, maintenance and repair have not been properly assessed. ‘Anti-Tampering’ measures (restricting riders’ choice of air filters, engine management systems, internal parts, exhausts, sprockets, tyres, etc.) The riders’ ability to make modifications to suit their own situation is to be regulated.NB: enforcement through a new Europe-wide super-MoT is being proposed separately.

Compulsory Automatic Headlights-On (AHO) Headlights can camouflage and confuse as well as draw attention. All new cars are to be fitted with permanent lighting which will cause more confusion. Road-side Spot-checks targeting riders Riders are to be detained for random checks of emissions and modifications.It is unacceptable to deny freedom of movement in this way.

You must act quickly.

Below are details of how you can make a difference by getting your elected MEP to support MAG’s campaign against further restriction of riders’ choices…

The committee of MEPs that is responsible for negotiating the proposals is known as the Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee ‘IMCO’.

The MEP who represents the IMCO committee in negotiations over the Commission’s proposals (known as the ‘Rapporteur’) is Wim VAN DER CAMP, a biking MEP from the Netherlands who is generally considered bike-friendly.

MAG(UK) is opposed to some of Mr Van Der Camp’s key recommendations to the IMCO committee:

1. Mandatory ABS
The Commission’s internal Impact Assessment admits that the data on the effectiveness and costs of compulsory ABS is weak.
MAG opposes the removal of choice in principle.
Where riders choose bikes with ABS the rider must be able to turn the system off when riding on loose surfaces such as gravel.

2. Mandatory Automatic Headlight-On
The Commission’s internal Impact Assessment admits that the data on the effectiveness of AHO is also weak.
MAG is opposed in principle to removing control over vehicle lighting from the rider who is best placed to judge whether using a headlamp in daylight conditions might put them at risk through blending in to a bright background or confusing other road users.  Environmental and road safety objectives are not well served by permanent lighting.

3. Tough-line on ‘Anti-Tampering’
The Commission’s internal Impact Assessment admits that the data on the effectiveness of Anti-Tampering is also weak. The perceived problem is said to be that young riders should be prevented from tuning low-power bikes beyond the performance limits allowed by their driving licence.  This is an issue about enforcement of licencing, the ability of qualified riders to de-restrict or otherwise tune their vehicle should not removed.
MAG does not accept that individual riders’ modifications to the drive train will lead to significantly worse emissions, fuel consumption and safety across the total population of motorcycles. Riders must retain the ability to make modifications to suit their own situation as well as maintain and repair their vehicles.

4. Regular random spot-checks at road side
MAG believes that targeting motorcycle riders for random detention at the road-side is an unacceptable restriction on their rights of free-movement.

MAG(UK) asks for a more rider-friendly stance in some of the other recommendations to the IMCO committee:

5. Mandatory On-Board Diagnostic equipment
OBD equipment to monitor emissions performance should not be designed to interfere with the stability or capability of two-wheeled vehicles or to monitor the movements of individuals. MAG proposes that the operation of OBD equipment should preclude limp - home/disable modes triggered by emissions and that there should be safeguards on the extent of data-logging permitted.

6. Small-series and Individual Vehicle Approvals
The ability of new entrants to the motorcycle market should not be restricted by the reduction of the present upper limit of 200 vehicles for small-scale production exemption from the proposed regulations. The ability of individuals to import or build individual vehicles should not be further restricted.  The proposals in Article 42 and elsewhere are far more draconian than the present system for member states to approval individual vehicles.

MAG(UK) supports Mr Van Der Camp’s other recommendations to the IMCO committee, including the proposals for:

* Future Emissions limits
* Durability of new vehicles
* Eco-labelling to demonstrate real-world fuel-consumption and CO2 emission benefits
* Access to Repair and Maintenance Information by independent repairers and individuals

How to contact and persuade your elected Members of the European Parliament.

The European Parliament is the elected body representing your interests in the European Union.  You have a right to seek their support on issues that matter to you. The background information about issues such as
compulsory ABS, and ‘Anti-Tampering’ given above should help you to start a reasoned discussion with any MEP. The UK is divided into twelve electoral regions made up of the nations and regions of the UK. Each region has between three and ten MEPs and each MEP in a region represents each person living there.  The number of MEPs per region is :Eastern - 7, East Midlands - 5, London - 8, North East - 3, North West - 8, South East - 10, South West - 6, West Midlands - 6, Yorkshire and Humber - 6, Wales - 4, Scotland - 6, Northern Ireland - 3.

Riders are urged to contact ALL of the MEPs who represent their constituency as soon as possible and ask them to support MAG’s objectives.

In particular, if you are a supporter of the political party an MEP belongs to, it may help to make this clear and to discuss how you believe the values and objectives the party stands for would be well-served by support for our positions on mandatory ABS, restrictions on modifications, etc.

To find out who your MEPs are, go to

Riders living in GREATER LONDON, the EAST MIDLANDS, SOUTH WEST, WEST MIDLANDS or SCOTLAND have a particular opportunity to help raise support among some of their MEPs who sit on ‘IMCO’, the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee that is handling the Type Approval proposals within the European Parliament.

Three MEPs representing UK constituencies are listed as ‘members’ of the IMCO, including the Chairman.  Another five MEPs representing UK constituencies are listed as ‘substitutes’ who stand in for members of the IMCO if they can’t attend the committee from time to time.

Riders living in the WEST MIDLANDS constituency (Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire) are urged to contact:

Malcolm HARBOUR (Conservative Party) - Email:
[email protected]

Malcolm Harbour is the CHAIRMAN of the IMCO committee.  He has a professional background as a consultant in the automotive industry and holds a degree in mechanical engineering.  He will have a good a grasp of the technical issues (NB: these Commission proposals for future regulation of motorcycle design and construction are similar to the way that Type-Approval has worked in the automotive for some years).

Riders living in the SOUTH WEST constituency (Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire and the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar) are urged to contact:

Trevor Colman (United Kingdom Independence Party) - a member of the IMCO committee.
Email: [email protected]

Ashley Fox (Conservative Party) - a substitute member of the IMCO committee.
Email: [email protected]

Riders living in SCOTLAND are urged to contact:

Catherine STIHLER (Labour Party) - a MEMBER of the IMCO committee.
Email: [email protected]

Ian HUDGHTON (Scottish National Party) - a SUBSTITUTE member of the IMCO committee.
Email: [email protected]

George LYON (Liberal Democrats Party) - a SUBSTITUTE member of the IMCO committee.
Email: [email protected]

Riders living in the EAST MIDLANDS constituency (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire) are urged to contact:

Emma McCLARKIN (Conservative Party) - a SUBSTITUTE member of the IMCO.
Email: [email protected]

Riders living in LONDON are urged to contact:
Claude MORAES (Labour Party) - a SUBSTITUTE member of the IMCO.
Email: [email protected]

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