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13-02-2011 Motorcycles face tough regulations in Europe


MAG is not convinced that there should be any reason to make ABS compulsory, as motorcycles and cars have very different behavioural characteristics. This is not to say that there are no safety benefits in certain situations, but rather that riders should be able to make a choice, dependant on their specific needs or the terrain over which they are riding. To this end, if there is compulsion, MAG advocates a switch, so that, on low grip surfaces, such as unmetalled roads, the system can be switched off.

Despite the fact that powered two wheelers are made in smaller volumes than cars, this (hopefully switchable) technology will be required and there is concern that this will significantly increase the price of each motorcycle. Europe’s motorcycle industry association, ACEM, has presented its view of the matter in a bid to reduce the impact on an industry that is already suffering a major downturn in business.

Sales in 2010 were 25% lower than in 2008. The proposals may also have the result that certain categories of motorcycle used primarily for off-road riding will not be allowed to be used on-road in the future. ACEM is one of several organisations trying to persuade the European authorities to see sense and not burden this category of road user with unnecessary and costly requirements. Powered two wheelers have a lower environmental impact than cars, cause vastly less congestion and have minimal effect on road wear. Their use should be encouraged as an alternative to the car for those wishing to use personal transport in Europe's crowded cities, rather than being penalised.

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