Sunday June 24th 2012 should be a date for your diary. MAG is organising another day of action, similar to the one we held last September when over 40,000 riders took to the streets to highlight a raft of new legislation coming from Europe.
Things have moved on since then and the campaigning work has been frantic, limiting some of the worst legislative excesses and spreading awareness among Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) as well as the bike press. This time we have the support especially of Motorcycle Monthly, 100% Biker and of BIKE magazine.
June 24th aims to concentrate the action this time, with one large demo in each of the 12 regions of the country represented by MEPs.
SO WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
It’s never easy to explain detailed legislation in just a few words but in essence:
The EU Type Approval and Market Surveillance Regulation is consolidating loads of pre-existing Euro legislation, while at the same time extending its reach and placing more control in the hands of bureaucrats.
- It aims to stop owners and bike shops carrying out modifications to motorcycle power-trains, from the airbox down to and including the radius of the rear tyre.
- It aims to prohibit the fitting of any engine re-mapping device
- It admits that there is no evidence to say there is a problem caused by modifications, or what size that ‘problem’ may be.
- It aims to make ABS compulsory on every machine from 50cc up, adding hugely to the purchase price of cheap commuters, which is against the wishes of manufacturers too, who believe combined braking is often better suited
- It aims to limit the availability of aftermarket parts that may alter performance
- The technical substance of exactly what is included will be written after the legislation has become law in what are called Delegated Acts!
- The European Ombudsman has found the Commission has a case to answer that the legislation has been drafted in breach of European Treaties (evidence must exist to justify a new law)
- Other procedures seem to be at odds with democratic accountability
- Campaigning has many forms, and a good campaign works behind the scenes with politicians and civil servants and involves a lot of meetings and letter writing, but also occasionally requires a visual demonstration of the strength of feeling that exists about the issue.
- Talking and letter writing continues, but keeping the subject in the public eye is essential. An important EU Parliamentary vote on the subject was timetabled for March, then moved to April, July and now 10th September after the summer break (though this may be postponed again as we continue to pressure politicians)
- Not all the MEPs are engaging as they aren’t yet convinced bikers matter, this day of action may show them just how many voters are concerned.
- A united day of action will show that the motorcycle industry and the concerns of riders should be taken seriously by politicians
- The public needs to see that someone is prepared to stand against unnecessary EU meddling
WHERE AND HOW TO GET INVOLVED
- 24th June 2012 will involve 12 major demonstrations, to coincide with the 12 EU Parliamentary Constituencies that exist in the UK
- Action will take place on main routes, mostly on Motorways
- Start time will be 13.00 hours
- The idea is to create a spectacle and let people see us, so blocking the roads will be self-defeating. Instead we’ll leave the outside lane free, which is also important for emergency services
- Rides will be various lengths but probably average about 40 miles and last an hour
- A sedate 40mph and a well regimented ride will demonstrate how we can structure ourselves as bikers and make it clear that should we need to, we could inconvenience the country at a later date.
- Some areas, like the South East, will have smaller meeting points in the morning, so that riders can gather and make their way to the main start point
- Yet again we will have some politicians ride with us, highlighting the legitimacy of our case.
START AND FINISH POINTS
- There are great logistics involved when so many bikes gather, some of the start and finish points haven’t been finalised and some of the runs may just involve riders dispersing.
- Different parts of the country have different opportunities, so in the West Midlands for example, there will be 3 start points but 1 central finish point, but in the South West there’ll be 1 start point but 2 finish points.
- To keep up to date, visit facebook EU Hands off Biking, or see the constantly changing map here. Detail of every run will be provided by MAG and details of all the early morning feeder runs will also be listed on facebook.