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The EU and Motorcycling - Home Truths

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Responding to an increasing number of enquiries over the forthcoming EU Type Approval regulations, the BMF have produced a comprehensive briefing document outlining the current position, explaining the EU process of government, detailing the measures under discussion and by listing a Reality Check, dispelling a few myths over what will and will not reach our home shores.

The document, ‘Briefing On The EU Type Approval Debate’ explains the all-important differences between the EU Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, and also explains the differences between EU Regulations and EU Directives, an understanding of which is crucial for lobbying to be effective say the BMF.

It points out that the regulation being debated proposes to add or change some requirements and bring all the legislation on motorcycle Type Approval together, voting on which will be on the 22nd November. It is these processes, along with unconnected unilateral measures proposed by other European governments, that have caused confusion say the BMF. 

While the BMF is supporting a forthcoming demonstration in Brussels against the unpopular requirements of anti-tampering contained in the Type Approval regulations, it says that it’s important to get the position clear, hence the briefing.


Anti-Tampering – Powers to make changes more difficult to the engine and drive train of motorcycles

Myth busting reality:

It will not be illegal to change components on a motorcycle

There will not be spot checks of motorcycles on the road

It will only apply to new motorcycles

ABS - Commission wants powers to specify minimum safety equipment for motorcycles including mandatory ABS on larger bikes or CBS on smaller bikes as well as Automatic Headlights On (AHO) on all bikes

Myth busting reality:

Original text excludes enduro and trail bikes

Off switch probably up to manufacturer discretion

AHO already on nearly all bikes sold in EU

On Board Diagnostics (OBD) - will be compulsory in two stages OBD 1 and 2

Myth busting reality:

Not an onboard tracking device – only shows component failure or component out of tolerance

Will not stop bike working

Emissions - Bring pollutant limits for bikes in line with cars in three stages over the next decade. Bikes must remain compliant for 50,000km (less for smaller bikes)

Myth busting reality:

Bikes release a much higher amount of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons than cars

Catalytic converters can be fitted to motorcycles and routinely are

Bikes over 7 years old will not be banned from entering town centres

Measures Outside of Type Approval

There is nothing in the proposed regulation on the wearing of compulsory high visibility clothing; town centre bans for old motorcycles; power limits or European wide MOTs. Some other EU countries have proposed such things, but not the EU and they are not being proposed in the UK either says the BMF.

The BMF have a long record of lobbying on EU matters and working through FEMA (Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations) and the FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme), as well as having discussions with the UK government, the BMF have made the case for British motorcycling.

BMF Government relations Executive Chris Hodder said: “This is about perspective. There are benefits in Type Approval where high quality standards for original equipment and performance are concerned and where barriers to trade are removed, but the BMF is vehemently opposed to any regulation restricting an individual's freedom to modify or improve their own motorcycle.”

BMF EU Type Approval Briefing document

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