Further to the meeting I’ve just had with Malcolm Harbour MEP, the chairman of the EU Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO), I now have a better idea of what we are looking at as the Type Approval and Market Surveillance Regulation moves through the EU legislative process. This is the one covering anti-tampering, ABS etc.
Because so much legislation is created within Europe, MEPs can’t reasonably debate all of it, so certain committees are tasked with the job in the early days and they then recommend things to the whole EU Parliament.
As there are so many different subjects, even the committee members often don’t know what they’re debating, so they in turn appoint what is called a Rapporteur, who does their best to study the topic in depth and then reports back their recommendations. See how this democracy works? Anyway, after the committee members have viewed the Rapporteurs ideas, they put in their own amendments and the whole committee vote on what amendments they are happy to see. We are lucky that it just happens the Rapporteur in this instance, actually rides a bike.
Whenever that has been done, the Council of Ministers and the EU Parliament get to see it, so those are other places that we can direct our lobbying.
As this is a ‘Framework Regulation’ once it’s passed it does not have to be transposed into Law in Individual Member States, as it will happen automatically.
The Rapporteur has reported back and amendments are on the table now and being discussed within IMCO. Like giving an opt out for special ‘one-off’ bike builders, (but only the British and the Finns want that) and also making ABS compulsory on mopeds too (Germans want that – or rather the German ABS industry wants that). Generally the British representatives are prepared to consider the switch option for ABS, but Malcolm Harbour for example, wants all of the onboard diagnostics thrown out too. We’ll see how the nogotiations go.
The good news is that every email and letter you’ve written has caused members of the committee to think and with MAGs equivilent organisations doing the same in Finland for example, we may realistically get some of the worst elements of this legislation under control. We’ve already upset the timetable, as the Parliament were due to vote on this in September and now IMCO won’t finally vote on their changes until 4th/5th or 6th Oct and it can’t go to Parliament before then.
However, it’s not just the Regulation from Europe that will be effecting us soon. The 10 very real European issues that we still need to draw attention to are:
- The Anti tampering Regulation: Specifically Article 18 which wants to stop all modifications to complete power train, from airbox to controlling the rear tyre profile.
- Compulsory ABS. If we can’t stop this, we must get a switch so that we have an option in difficult conditions where ABS doesn’t function well.
- Automatic headlights on- passing the blame for poor observation on to us.
- OBD. On Board Diagnostics so that easy roadside checks can be made of our emissions and so that constant readouts of engine performance can be obtained. Expensive, complicated and with the threat, rather like a tacho, of identifying past riding style…
- RMI. Repair and Maintenance Information. Rather than keeping it hidden and available for huge expense, there is a chance that manufacturers will be forced to provide ECU codes etc for a fee. What that fee is remains to be seen.
- The very worrying article 52: “If systems, components or seperate technical units on a list in a delegated act to this regulation, have a dual use, for vehicles intended exclusively for racing on roads and for vehicles intended for use on public roads, they may not be sold or offered for sale to consumers” So if your K&N filter can fit a CBR race bike and a CBR road bike, the best way to police that, is to make it illegal to sell the filter in Europe.The Delegated Acts are the most scary thing, as they are the lists and details drawn up by the unelected and we won’t get to see what they are including until after the Regulation has been passed!
- In solidarity with the French we need to be drawing attention to their recent government proposal to ban all bikes over 7 years old from an urban area and to make the wearing of day-glo/reflective clothing compulsory.
- Full sleeve day-glo clothing for riders and passengers has been proposed in the Irish Parliament too.
- All these issues lead to the same thing, that we must take the blame for the incompetence of other road users. And while the emergency stop has been removed as a compulsory element of the UK car driving test, we are jumping through hoops with ill-judged UK interpretations of EU licencing directives.
- Another EU licencing Directive is on its way (3DLD) to step the bike licencing system still further and the DfT and DSA still haven’t sorted the consultation process, even though it is meant to be in law by now and enacted January 2013.
I’d very much like you to put a mark in your diary on 25th September. This will be before the IMCO vote.
Plans are afoot for something very special which I’ll tell you about soon, but for now, please tell everyone you’ll be busy that day and if they ride a bike, ask them to come and help you.
Our MEPs will be preparing to rubber stamp another Regulation put before them. This time they may all just stop to read it.
Words by: Paddy Tyson