From Damnation To Purgatory

On the 28th February MEP Wim van de Camp, as Rapporteur, presented his report to The Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) and representatives of the European Commission regarding the EU Commission’s proposal for a regulation on type-approval and market surveillance of L (motorcycles) -category vehicles.

The committee meeting was broadcast live on the internet and unlike the previous meeting which was chaired by UK MEP Malcolm Harbour it did not probe into the issues and some committee members admitted they were standing in for colleagues, that they were not experts and had written statements to read in response to the report.

In fact the meeting was running late and one question that was asked at the end was refused a reply by the chair with the dismissive, we are too busy – move, onto the next item.

The whole affair for those passionate and concerned with the future of motorcycling was nothing short of bland.

Instead of being interspersed with searching questions and relevant comments, it was a grey suited affair of safety and environmental rhetoric.

But what of the report?

We found that the information provided by the Rapporteur was incomplete and piecemeal, furthermore it appears to have only taken into consideration a minority of views e.g. his comments about ABS (Advanced Braking Systems) and the “switch”; AHO (Automatic Headlight On) and the “switch” are in our opinion the views of those who have no technical experience.

It appears that their influence on the Rapporteur has unfortunately moved the discussion on ABS and AHO into an area of nonsense and seems more like an extract from Dante’s inferno – “You have escaped damnation and made it into Purgatory”

The Rapporteur’s position on anti-tampering goes beyond the scope of his remit – for the simple reason that the Commission has put this proposal on hold due to the study that is being conducted by Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) and will not have any conclusions until the end of 2011.

The Rapporteur’s position on mandatory OBD (On Board Diagnostics) suggests that not only did he not listen to the concerns of the industry but appears to have been influenced by his own constituency in the Netherlands by publicly admitting that he is against the introduction of a European wide Periodical Technical Inspection (PTI) which would be the most obvious substitute for mandatory OBD.  This is in our view a conflict of interest.

What we do not understand is that in spite of visits to manufacturers and taking part in the motorcycle workshop at the EU Parliament, he has taken positions that beggar belief.

What seemed apparent – to us at least – is that he has missed a fantastic opportunity to ensure the future of motorcycling.

It is our view that what was originally intended as the simplification of regulations to reduce bureaucracy has turned into a labyrinth of proposals, will have little or no safety benefit and will inevitably turn what should be a cost effective and efficient means of transport into the privilege of the select few due to the increase in cost that the consumer will be obliged to pay.

We can only hope that a full report which is to be submitted at a public hearing of the IMCO committee on the 22nd March 2011 – and will form the basis of the opinion of the IMCO committee about the European Commission’s proposals, will be more concise, less biased and factual.

To view the full response from Right To Ride – pdf 586kb – Click Here

Read the working document from Rapporteur: Wim van de Camp – pdf 152kb – Click Here

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