European Bandwagon Moves Against
Issued 30th March, 2006
The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) has
condemned the latest EU decision on motorcycle licensing which has
shown the bureaucrats in their true colours.
MAG says, "This is total war!"
The EU has rammed through the Directive in a way that shows contempt
for motorcyclist's views.
They want bikes off the road.
The safety bureaucrats have become target obsessed, setting accident
reduction targets using
statistics that are baloney.
They have totally lost a sense of balance between riders’ reasonable
expectations for mobility and the prevention of accidents.
To real enthusiasts who would clear any hurdle to get a licence it
might seem inconceivable that
legislation would really stop anyone getting on two wheels but past
experience proves otherwise.
The trouble is that the safety bureaucrats know that not all riders
are enthusiasts, they know that many people will be put off by a
draconian training regime, so that is what they have concocted. This
isn't rocket science but it is effective. The 1981 Transport Act in
the UK sent bike sales into freefall and these people know that and
want to produce the same effect across Europe.
Many riders who already have licenses might question why they should
care. MAG cares because MAG always takes the long view. MAG defends
motorcycling and recognises that the licence directive is just one
weapon in the safety bureaucrat's armoury that is designed to stop
young people taking up motorcycling. There is no limit to the
zealots’ appetite for accident reduction, they are pursuing a 50%
reduction in road accident fatalities by 2010 and they see
motorcyclists as an obstacle to achieving that.
European Commission Vice President Jacques Barrot recently stated,
“We have 6% more deaths since the year 2000 caused by motorbikes. We
have to take very targeted action there.”
His biased statement conflicts with research which indicates that
the primary blame for accidents with motorcycles and other vehicles
lies with the other vehicle driver at least 40% of the time. Given
that it is MAG's opinion that the emphasis should be on other
vehicle drivers yet the directive does not address car drivers via
the licensing "regime" for these vehicles.
MAG suspects that the extremists in the road safety lobby cannot be
appeased on the basis of accident reduction alone, they have to be
philosophically and politically defeated. We have to be more
determined to preserve biking than they are to destroy it.
MAG defends the right to ride motorcycles and we will protect for
that right forever.
We are now engaged in a game of survival of the most determined and
the European Commission is going to learn how determined MAG is.
Notes for Editors:
The motorcycle part of the
directive will mean that:
• The minimum age for riding bikes over 125cc/11kW but less than
35kW rises from 17 to 19.
• The minimum age for riding bikes
of over 35kW rises to 21.
• For Progressive Access there will
be rigid two-year steps between categories A1 (Light
Motorcycle), A2 (less than 35kW Motorcycle) and A
• Riders will be required to take
either a minimum number of hours of training or a practical
motorcycle test to progress from each category.
• For Direct Access where riders
can train and test to qualify for over 35kW motorcycles the
minimum age will rise from 21 to 24. With a possible derogation
upwards on age from 24 by member states, (To be confirmed)
• Minimum Test Vehicle
specifications will not be democratically decided and may
include minimum engine capacities of 600cc for category A2 and
800cc for category A.
This flexibility empowers
individual European countries to introduce age requirements
which really makes a mockery of the whole concept of a European
harmonized motorcycle licence without evidence for safety
benefits and at this stage are due to be implemented by 2012.
Details of full licensing regime
from the European Commission Directorate General for Energy and
Review MAG’s report on the
MAG reiterates its call for the
motorcycle part of the directive to receive a full Second
Reading in the European Parliament complete with a Conciliation
Committee being convened with the view to deleting the
motorcycling proposals from the directive and working to address
the real issues of motorcycle safety.
Director Of Public Affairs
The UK's Leading Riders' Rights Organisation
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