EU Regulation False Hope

As the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) committee heads towards the scheduled vote on the 5th December regarding EU Regulations for motorcycles, we take a closer look at issues in the lead up to the vote.

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG UK) reported on November 23rd that “today sees the start of a new Impact Assessment into the EU Type Approval Regulation.” Stating that, “This has been demanded by the European Parliament following the incredible amount of work which has been done by every one of us who wrote to our MEPs or who rode in the protests of the 25th September.”

Regarding the scheduled vote in the IMCO committee, Paddy Tyson from MAG UK comments, “we have very good cause to believe it will be moved yet again, as there is no way the IA can be completed, a report prepared, and the Committee members have time to read it, before the 5th December”.

At Right To Ride, we make it our business to look in-depth at the issues, we always take a step back to look at the wider picture, to look at the background surrounding the issues before reporting factually and giving our opinion.

While we have every respect for MAG the organisation, is this information supplied by MAG’s Campaign Manager Paddy Tyson offering false hope to riders without an understanding of the technical contents of the proposal?

Paddy Tyson says this new Impact Assessment into the EU Type Approval Regulation will, “delay proceedings enough to set back the regulation till the Spring, at a Strasbourg meeting, which will be “MAG’s time to get out on the streets again.”

Looking In-depth

What is contained in this new Impact Assessment and is this positive for riders?

The Impact Assessment that Paddy Tyson mentions is not looking at the whole regulation proposal as submitted by the European Commission. The Impact Assessment will be looking at three compromise amendments which were submitted by MEPs to the IMCO Rapporteur, Mr van de Camp’s report.

To clarify, the European Commission has already had an Impact Assessment carried out and published on their proposed regulation.

Because these three amendments are substantive amendments to the proposal, the Chair of the IMCO committee, UK MEP Malcolm Harbour, has asked for an Impact Assessment specifically in relation to these three amendments.

These three amendments are:

  • Moving the ABS introduction date forward by a year.
  • Extending ABS cover to Powered Two Wheelers more than 50cc.
  • Earlier introduction of On Board Diagnostics II (OBD II)

The reason for the Impact Assessment on these amendments, is that none of these specific amendments have ever been costed.  So the European Parliament through the IMCO committee, as the responsible committee, is assessing the amendments for potential impacts to the regulation.

We have already highlighted our concerns about these amendments in our document (dated 15th July, 2011) Amateur Bike Build – Brussels Style – Regarding amendments 95 – 304 to the proposal for a Regulation on approval and market surveillance of two or three-wheel vehicles and quadricyclesClick Here pdf 759kb

ABS (Advanced Braking Systems)

What this would mean is that the introduction of the mandatory fitting of advanced brake systems would take place possibly by 2015 which is an earlier date than that proposed by the European Commission.

The original text from the commission was simple, either anti-lock or a combined brake system or both types of advanced braking systems, leaving the choice to manufacturers to be fitted to new two wheeled motorcycles from low performance e.g. 125cc to medium performance to high performance motorcycles.

The amended text which was submitted by MEPs covers mopeds (two and three wheel) but this amended text does not allow the manufacturers to choose what system to fit to the motorcycle they have developed.

The amended text basically says it is either an anti-lock brake system or an anti-lock brake system backed up by a combined brake system, but it appears that in this amended text, a combined brake system cannot be fitted on its own

The amendments to the proposal, in our opinion, restrict the choice of manufacturers to fit and develop a braking system that suits the motorcycle they are developing.

The chair of IMCO has previously stated that he remained unconvinced that ABS (Anti Lock Braking Systems) is effective in scooters – CBS (Combined Braking Systems) operates all the time and is a much greater safety benefit – and he stated that “we need technical advice and assessment”.

On Board Diagnostics II (OBD II)

Below are our previous thoughts on OBD, however regarding OBD, it should be remembered that the proposed regulation not only covers motorcycles but four wheeled vehicles or “mini cars” and quadricycles (quads).

OBD systems on motorcycles monitor malfunctions and provide information to the rider if there is a malfunction and as time goes by, electronic fuel management systems will become more widespread, so it is inevitable that OBD systems will too.

OBD II monitors not only complete failures but also deterioration of systems, components or separate technical units during vehicle life.

There have been concerns that riders will not be able to access the information contained/recorded in OBD systems and the tools required to “read” or reset the system. Or that OBD can be accessed during road side checks by enforcement agencies, which by implication could mean that the information may be used to prosecute a rider.

The Chair of IMCO has previously written that, “The intention of OBD is not to affect the motorcycle’s behaviour, but to provide the rider with information that there is a malfunction in the form of a warning light.”

ETRA the European Two Wheel Retailers’ Association has called for an exemption from On Board Diagnostic (OBD) for mopeds (L1B category). Arguing that the mandatory fitting of OBD on such small and affordable vehicles would considerably increase their production cost, hence also their selling cost.

However, with regards to OBD II in the impact assessment, we suspect this is (as it says) to do with the time scale of the introduction and when each category will have a requirement for OBD II to be introduced.


So are there any advantages for riders in this specific Impact Assessment?

Our view is: Not in the grand scheme of things. It would appear that the Impact Assessment on these three amendments (as amendments that would have an impact on the proposed regulation), is to determine the cost and any disadvantages to manufacturers and riders.

It would appear not to be the great hope of, “every delay is a minor victory” but a tidying up of amendments to get to the bottom of the issues and to better align with and take into account the progress in the Council and introduction dates.

Meanwhile we will have to wait to see the final list of amendments that have been accepted after the vote in the IMCO on the 5th December.

Information Procedures

At present the IMCO committee/Parliament and the Council of Ministers are striving towards a common position, an agreement on the proposal and the submitted amendments for a first reading in the European Parliament, which should occur early next year.

The vote on the amendments in the IMCO committee is scheduled for the 5th December and it is possible that the Impact Assessment (relating to the three amendments mentioned above) would not be completed before this vote.

However our understanding is that even if the Impact Assessment is not ready for the vote on the 5th December, work on the Impact Assessment (relating to the three amendments mentioned above) would continue and once concluded would be used in informal negotiations known as trilogues.

These informal meetings are attended by representatives of the European Parliament (rapporteur and, where appropriate, shadow rapporteurs), the Council (chair of the working party and/or Coreper – representatives of the governments of the Member States), and the Commission.

Therefore those amendments that have been accepted and which are subject to the Impact Assessment may or may not make it to the full European Parliament vote.

EU Process – Co-Decision – Ordinary Legislative Procedure “Step By Step” – Click Here

Motorcycle Working Group (MCWG)

Finally, the Commission’s Motorcycle Working Group (MCWG) will be meeting on December 14th to discuss the status of the proposed regulation on type-approval and market surveillance of L-category vehicles.

It will be looking at studies regarding – durability – powertrain tampering prevention and the introduction of new planned studies.

There will be an exchange of views on certain items within the scope of proposed delegated and implementing acts, in particular related to – Regulation on vehicle functional safety requirements (RVFSR) – Regulation on environmental and propulsion performance requirements (REPPR) – Regulation on vehicle construction requirements (RVCR) – Regulation on administrative requirements (RAR).

This meeting will be attended by all the stakeholders, including FEMA, FIM and Member States Government representatives.

Full details of Motorcycle Working Group (MCWG) – Click Here

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  1. IMCO Vote On Track

    The agenda for the IMCO meeting for 5th December can be found at the following website and highlights that the vote on the proposal amendments will take place between 15.30 and 16.40 – Central European Time (CET)

    Click Here

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