FEMA Newsletter

Click For FEMA WebsiteFEMA the Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations has published its latest newsletter.

The newsletter covers in brief some of  the decisions taken in Brussels in 2012. It explains that FEMA and its member organisations are looking forward to the challenges of 2013 to which they are committed to continue  and play an “active” role in the successful promotion of motorcycling in the European Union.

FEMA explains that, “The new European regulation on the approval of two-wheelers, which has recently been approved by the European Parliament and by the Council, is bringing safer and greener bikes to European customers as from 2016.”

As regards acceptable compromises regarding issues like vehicle tampering, the accessibility of repair and maintenance information and durability requirements for pollution control devices, while supporting the introduction of stricter emission limits, FEMA says that, “it reached acceptable compromises”, presumably for its member National Organisations .

FEMA says, “New on the Brussels agenda is the proposal of the European Commission to introduce periodic roadworthiness tests for all powered two-wheelers in Europe along with short testing intervals.”

The Federation states that, “it rejects this proposal as it is expensive and ineffective in terms of motorcycle safety.” The newsletter goes on to explain that, “EU member states have drafted significant changes to the Commission’s proposal for a regulation on periodic roadworthiness tests. Following their Council meeting they suggest to turn the regulation into a directive and, partly in response to the pressure of motorcyclists’ associations, to continue to leave it to the discretion of a member state to require periodic roadworthiness tests (RWT) for motorcycles.”

In reviewing the newsletter, the present General Secretary of FEMA, Aline Delhaye, highlights the events FEMA has organised and participated in to keep the issue of “friendly” road restraint systems (also referred as crash barriers) high on the political agenda:

Publication of an elaborated manual for road authorities

Launched a website to promote and inform about motorcycle friendly road restraint systems already available on the market.

FEMA also lauched “RIDERSCAN” at the FEMA organised European Motorcyclists Forum (EMF), the project which is co-funded by the European Commission which aims at gathering the existing knowledge on motorcycle safety in order to identify missing information and good practices, and provide guidance to national and European road authorities.

FEMA finally takes the opportunity to, “warmly thank you for your support and wish you all the very best for the end of the year’s celebrations and this coming New Year.” and toRide Safe.”

www.fema-online.eu

Right To Ride comments:

News from FEMA is always welcome as it is the only “recognised” organisation to represent road going motorcyclists in Europe in Brussels.

We would have liked to see more active participation by this organisation in the negotiations for the Type Approval proposal and our understanding from our meetings with various players in Brussels was that FEMA’s input was “weak”.

Whether FEMA or any other organisation has the right to claim victory for the outcome of these negotiations is really irrelevant because the proof will be in the pudding or rather, we’ll still need to see how this regulation is implemented and for example we still need to see what happens with the Delegated Acts, (e.g. what level of anti-tampering measures – if any – are implemented for the A2 category bikes).

FEMA in this respect is at a huge disadvantage because it does not have any technical experts present within the Motorcycle Working Group, to ensure that riders will get a good deal.  What this means is that the manufacturers with the army of experts can negotiate the best deal for them and not necessarily for the motorcycling community.  Perhaps it is time that the FEMA Committee considers hiring motorcycling experts rather than Public Relations gurus.

With regards to the Road Worthiness Testing proposal, in this case it was the decision of the Member States through the European Council to throw out many of the contentious parts of the proposal, which also comprised the exclusion of L3e and L4e motorcycles and sidecars (i.e. low, medium and high performance motorcycles) – but not mopeds or light quads.

At Right To Ride we have always stated that each country and organisation has the right to make their own decisions and in that respect we supported subsidiarity or rather,  leaving the decision to Member States.   With the most important amendment included by the Members States – which was changing the proposed regulation to a Directive, effectively this will allow each EU country to decide how they wish to implement this proposal.

In the case of the United Kingdom, we at Right To Ride have always stated that the MoT system here – although not perfect, works and ensures that unsafe motorcycles and mopeds are kept off our roads.  In that respect we disagree with FEMA’s analysis and  their reason to  protest against Road Worthiness testing.

While we accept that the  cases of vehicles with defects as the cause of accidents are few and far between, we would argue that in the UK (especially in Northern Ireland where the local government has an excellent road safety record) part of the reason is that this is due to riders ensuring that the bikes are presentable once a year when they go to have their bike MoTd.

We can quote our own study on Motorcycle Fatalities in Northern Ireland and highlight that around 12.2% of the bikes in the study had mechanical defects.

Simply, this is a national issue and not one that should have been spearheaded by a pan European organisation such as FEMA, especially in consideration of the fact that the evidence provided by FEMA was fundamentally flawed.

With regards to the RIDERSCAN project, we can only wish FEMA good luck with that and look forward to seeing the results in due course.

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  1. Elaine Hardy PhD says:

    The Riderscan project has launched a survey through the FEMA website. It is always useful to understand what riders wants and needs are, however in this case the survey falls short of what appears to be the aims and objectives.

    The introduction of the survey states “This RIDERSCAN survey aims at collecting information about the motorcycling community around Europe in order to have a better overview of similarities and differences in terms of riding and attitudes, and better identify the safety needs of the motorcycling community”.

    I passed this around some colleagues who are expert analysts. The general opinion was that It is not the best questionnaire in history – important questions are missing and some questions are misleading. It is not done professionally, it is far from being scientific.

    With regards to the questionnaire, there are some pretty obvious mistakes e.g. the question regarding age which commences at 1900 and ends in 2012. I suspect there are not too many people around aged 113 who can still ride a powered two wheeler.

    Equally, the choice of countries (and continents) doesn’t match with the question about languages and in consideration of the introduction, the “survey aims at collecting information about the motorcycling community around Europe” there is no logic for the inclusion of other continents and countries outside Europe.

    It seems that a lot of the questions were thrown together without much thought and it is also very apparent that the questionnaire was not shown to a professional analyst. In essence, it is amateurish.

    The term Powered two Wheeler (PTW) does not have an explanation of what that means. This distinction (motorcycle/scooter/moped) is very important, because a moped is highly unlikely to have the technology of a motorcycle and consequently the responses to the questions on page 6 (riding habits) would be completely flawed, e.g. I don’t know of any moped that would have “cruise control”. Not only is there no separation of type of PTW, but there is no distinction of style or engine size.

    There are quite a few questions that could be asked about mopeds compared to motorcycles and I suspect that because the questionnaire will not be focussing on these types of riders, that information will be missing. The dissemination appears to be limited to the FEMA website and a couple of their organisations which have members that own predominantly high powered motorcycles. What this means is that the outcome of the survey will most likely be skewed in favour of high powered motorcycles.

    In some of the questions, the answer requires an explanation – e.g. Other (specify) but it doesn’t allow any space to give an explanation, thus the response will be flawed.

    Also in the case of “what is your family situation (household)”. The recognised definitions i.e. Married, Divorced, Separated, Widow/er are completely excluded and Single requires a bizarre choice of with or without children!

    The multiple choice questions do not allow for “I don’t know” and so on…

    It is very apparent that it was not put together by a person with an understanding of social research and accordingly some of the questions are seriously flawed with the consequence that the responses and outcome will be skewed and ultimately meaningless. My personal opinion is that it reflects badly on the “partners” and more importantly on D.G. MOVE Road Safety because the project was funded by them.

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