DEKRA – a name you may have to become familiar with…

The Super-MoT for bikes is simply not needed.  That’s the conclusion reached by riders’ groups from across Europe. 

Recent analysis of the available evidence by MAG(UK) and other members of FEMA (the riders voice in Europe) has shown that less than 1% of bike crashes are directly caused by defects on the bike and that defects only contribute to around 5% of crashes – most of these defects are to do with tyres; problems that can arise at any time (blow-outs, under-inflation, damage from debris on the road, etc.), so an annual vehicle check isn’t going to solve the problem.

Why does the European Commission believe that so many bike crashes are due to defects on the bike and that a Super-MoT will reduce casualties?

Apparently due to its absurd reliance on one commercial provider of vehicle testing as a source of impartial advice on the value of RWT for bikes; the only data quoted by the Commission as justification to propose a more invasive and expensive MoT came from… DEKRA.

DEKRA carries out roadworthiness testing (what we think of as the MoT) through more than 400 locations in Germany and, it appears, would like to be doing so in a town near – well… everybody.

DEKRA is a global business specialising in testing, inspection and certification in the fields of safety, environment and health.  It operates throughout Europe and North America, also South Africa, India and China and appears to like the idea of creating an even bigger market to move in to.

The proposals appear to be designed to put pressure on small-bike businesses to stop doing MoT tests, not least by requiring the investment of large sums in new testing equipment that small business could not justify.  The Commission seems convinced that bike businesses who sell and repair bikes can’t be trusted to test them as well.

Earlier this week, representatives of the European Commission attended a swanky function hosted by DEKRA.  It’s an annual event where DEKRA gives its views on road safety to members of the EU road safety community.  Philp Vogt from FEMA was there to argue against the Super-MOT but did not get a good reaction (it looks like the FFMC’s ‘egg and flouring’ of DEKRA offices in France recently, hit a nerve).

EU Commissioner Siim Kallas gave a speech praising DEKRA’s work and the Commission’s achievements and used DEKRAs figures to justify the Commission’s proposal – he then left without allowing questions.   A German politician from DEKRA’s home then called for every country to copy Germany’s TuV test and to stop small businesses from carrying out both testing and repairs.

Towards the end, Philip was given the floor and explained to the audience that riders and many other citizens were not only angry about the costs but especially lacked any convincing justification of the benefits of more and harmonized RWT.  He also pointed-out several flaws in the evidence, eg; the ‘safest’ countries don’t want RWT – Sweden switched back to biennial testing since annual tests for motorcycles proved to be ineffective, the Netherlands is safest country for bikers even though there is no RWT for motorcycles.  It was uncomfortable for some to hear that DEKRA, the biggest inspection company in the world, might have an obvious interest in testing as many vehicles as often as possible.  Finally, Philip reminded the audience that not all of Europe is like Germany and that somebody living in Finland might have to ride 150 Kilometers on his 50cc Scooter in order to reach the next test house.

In the meantime, several national parliaments have rejected the proposals underlining the need for the UK to join other EU governments in opposing the RWT regulations as unnecessary.