Europe developments and where to now?

The European Parliament’s Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) voted in Brussels yesterday on its report on the proposed regulation and on a raft of tabled amendments.

About 35 IMCO members voted around 100 times on compromises, single amendments and blocs of amendments. We still haven’t got the breakdown of the voting, to see which amendments were accepted, but in the meantime;

In the view of IMCO, as from 2016 motorcycles will have to become cleaner and manufacturers must fit ABS, even for light motorcycles. As from 2014, measures to prevent power-train modifications (which are still to be developed) must be applied and users shall present their bikes for inspection when carrying out “substantial” modifications. The text is a little ambiguous, so for the UK there may be little change from the current MoT for certain changes.

Yesterday’s vote can be seen as a reference and recommendation for the final vote of the European Parliament, which is expected to be held by the beginning of 2012, probably March. We hope it is put back a little further, so that there is more time to organise a Euro wide demo. As soon as there is more information, we’ll let you know.

Before the vote was carried, IMCO chairman Malcolm Harbour made reference to an impact assessment which started on November 23rd, dealing with time-lines, emission limits, ABS and anti-tampering measures, and whose outcome is expected to influence Parliament’s final vote. This is why we still need to talk to all our MEPs as the process is changing all the time and those research results aren’t in yet.

Remember that the challenge to the Commission about the way the proposal was drafted in the first place, is still to be answered, which is yet another angle of attack we are pursuing through the Ombudsman’s office.

With regard to power-train modifications [Article 18] IMCO adopted a compromise in line with the European Commission’s logic and propounded by Wim van de Camp’s office, with ‘delegated acts’ laying down measures for manufacturers to prevent subsequent modifications by the user that may have adverse effects on safety or the environment.

Additionally IMCO added a new article 18a which requires that users seek inspection and approval “by the competent authorities” in case of substantial power-train modifications. It may well be that the ‘competent authority’ in the UK will mean the MoT. “A modification is deemed to be substantial when it renders the original type approval obsolete” or when it harms safety or the environment. Interesting terminology and until we see what ‘delegated acts’ include, it is hard to comment.

Aline Delhaye, General Secretary of FEMA says: “This regulation contains many good parts FEMA is in line with, like durability requirements and improved access to repair and maintenance information for the user. But if the current text of article 18 is finally adopted, it will mean that all the usual changes motorcyclists make for riding comfort, fuel efficiency, or simply to suit their riding style, will be illegal or will have to be checked and approved. This has not been a problem so far and there is no reason why it should become a problem tomorrow. FEMA will certainly keep on working on this regulation.”