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13-09-2011 Guidance for the Dft Consultation Document.

MAG's Campaign Manager, Paddy Tyson, offers guidance for the DfT consultation document:

"We said we would offer some guidance on the consultation paper on the proposed EU Anti-Tampering and Market Surveillance Regulation that the Dept for Transport released on the 5th September, so here it is. 

First, please note it is NOT a public consultation into the Regulation itself, rather the Impact Assessment (IA) that the DfT have just completed into the Regulation, because they, like us, had little faith in the EU Commission's IA.

As such, question I (which is in 13 parts) is something that you will only be able to answer if you have read the UK Impact Assessment thoroughly, or are financially or statistically minded. It's 86 pages of stats and analysis.

Responses to Questions ii, iii and iv however, are still welcomed by the DfT and my advice and explanation on answering these, is as follows:

Question ii.

Whether the proposed vehicle categories are appropriate.

Proposed categories for motorcycles are L3 (sub group A1, A2, A3). These A categories appear designed to link to rider licensing changes due to take effect in Jan 2013 under the 3rd Driving Licence Directive. 3DLD. This would make policing easy, as REGISTERING bikes in those categories would easily tally with licence ENTITLEMENT and ensure easy assessment, by police, of entitlement to ride.

We have so far failed to ascertain whether Anti-Tampering will vary by Type Approval category. Currently mopeds have full AT. The TRL report which may be released in the next 2 weeks may clarify whether different levels of AT will be employed for different subsets of L3 classification. The reason I mention the British TRL (Transport Research Laboratory), is because they won the EU contract to look at Anti Tampering methodology. You may remember the competition they launched a few months ago, offering a £500 reward for anyone who could think of anything..

If there is a desire to link vehicle registration to new licensing categories, riders will not be able to de-restrict a bike they bought for one licence category when they graduate to another, even though their experience has increased and they may prefer to stick to a lighter bike they already own. Also riders who choose smaller capacity machines may be unjustly penalised if Anti-Tampering measures are more restrictive on ‘lower’ categories of machine.

Question iii.

Whether you foresee any unintended consequences of adopting this Regulation.

If this question continued ... ‘in it’s present form’ it would be easier to answer, since the 305 amendments currently under discussion introduce quite a lot of variables. In essence however, I would say some unintended consequences are:

  • Article 17 which discusses the prohibition of defeat devices would outlaw and criminalise any number of personal alterations, for example a dirt bike rider who wished to isolate his ABS temporarily.
  • Severe limit on consumer choice, through categorisation (as outlined above) through expense incurred by smaller volume component manufacturers achieving product TA (or acceptance under Delegated acts registration) and through mandatory ABS without a switch option.
  • Extra financial burdens on consumers, especially through ABS replacement components, but also genuine equip exhausts etc. The DfT Impact Assessment puts ABS costings at up to £345 onto the RRP of a new machine, but ACEM, the manufacturers assoc are using figures 3 times that.
  • There will be, as there currently is, the increased possibility of scrapping a perfectly good machine that suffers from an expensive auxiliary component failure.
  • The safety concerns of OBD-2 where on-board diagnostics can cut engine power if a failed emissions sensor is identified.
  • The extremely undemocratic ‘Delegated Acts’ element of the Regulation, where specific technical requirements of as yet unidentified components, will be established by un-elected, unaccountable bureaucrats.
  • The transfer of liability from driver to rider in SMIDSY accidents. Headlight compulsion will shift onus to unconfirmed conspicuity arguments and away from driver responsibility to look for bikes and other road users. This will be especially poignant for classic bike users whose power generation may not be capable. Please note, this is not retrospective legislation, but drivers may feel they only have to look for lights however.
  • Stopping the creation of one-offs and home-builds. As things stand the UK Government is now backing MAG’s position on this and is aiming to retain the system of Single Vehicle Approval as currently established in the UK.

Question iv.

Other Comments and information I would recommend mentioning some or all of the issues below:

We support the Government’s position on SVA and the maintenance of the current UK system. The whole issue of delegated acts and their democratic deficit; we need to see what components will be affected by Anti Tampering and who exactly is deciding/accountable.

The very worrying Annex 2 (item 12) : List of requirements for purposes of TA, within which is a list of ‘functional safety requirements’. The one of concern is the attempt to measure/control ‘steerability, cornering properties and turn ability’. The Commission wish to define what these are, but I think we all realise that a Harley and a Gixxer don’t have quite the same handling characteristics, so to try and measure/ define these within the Delegated Acts is insane.

There are of course many more issues with various levels of confusion, but the DfT do want to start hearing from you, as they have meetings scheduled with their opposite numbers in Europe and want to know, for example, that their ideas on Single Vehicle Approval have your support.

Closing date for the consultation is 28th October and you can find it here- but remember, it's not 'live' online, you have to download it.

www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/dft-2011-26

I hope that some of the above will be of some use.

It should also be noted that MAG (through member Jon Strong) has taken the Commission to task over various issues, not least the quality of their IA and a Case is being answered currently (case number 0875/2011/jf).

Annex 18 of the Type Approval Regulation even states that they haven’t actually got the research/data to back up what they are proposing and under EU law they are not permitted to present the Regulation until they have evidence to justify what they are proposing, but they hope they'll find some soon."

Words: Paddy Tyson, Campain Manager.

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