Hoping For No Surprises

bikeeyeshandsTomorrow – 30th May 2013 – sees the TRAN (Transport and Tourism) Committee of MEPs vote on a raft amendments on the Road Worthiness Testing (RWT) which will then reflect the opinion of the European Parliament – however we are hoping for no surprises in the vote as regards motorcycles.

The meeting and vote are available to watch via the European Parliaments webstream.

After his recent comment that motorcycles are “Death Carriers” Brian Simpson, the UK MEP and Chairman of the TRAN (Transport and Tourism) Committee, responsible for the EU parliament to scrutinise the proposal to regulate Road Worthiness testing, has written about protecting vulnerable road users on his blog.

The vulnerable road users in question are motorcyclists that are according to Mr Simpson, particularly at risk.

He states, “Since 2009, the overall number of road deaths has gone down steadily but fatality rates for Powered Two Wheel (PTW) riders are not declining as quickly as those of car occupants.”

“Whilst we can’t control the weather, we can try to find ways to build safer road infrastructure and tackle the technical faults in PTWs that lead to accidents. And this is why the European Commission has recently put forward proposals that aim to reduce accidents caused by technical faults in PTWs. This won’t have an impact on motorcyclists in the UK, as the Department for Transport has already established MOTs for motorcycles but it will mean the introduction of roadworthiness testing in other EU countries. I do not oppose this best practice, already well-established in the UK, being implemented across the EU via these roadworthiness proposals.”

“A motorcycle rider relies on their vehicle being in good condition, and technical failures in motorcycles can have much more severe consequences than for a car. It makes sense that these vehicles be regularly checked by well-trained professionals who can identify any potential issues and deal with them before they pose a threat.”

So perhaps some back pedalling from the motorcycles are “Death Carriers” statement and forgetful in this report of his attendance, participation and photographic opportunities beside motorcycle racers who have been carried along by “Death Carriers” at speeds that defy death, including Giacomo Agostini (15 times FIM World Champion) at the 2011 ROSA Conference in Brussels. ROSA developed an innovative European Handbook on Best Practices in Safety For Motorcyclists and perhaps so innovative you have never heard of it.

TRAN Committee

Anyway as previously reported amendments have been submitted for the TRAN Committee vote which include the removal of motorcycles from the European Commissions proposal which would be in line with the Council of Ministers (member states governments) position.

As others have reported, namely the Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations (FEMA) and we previously mentioned the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) committee of MEPs, in a close vote, voted for amendments in their opinion submitted  to the TRAN committee to exclude motorcycles from the proposal.

Although this is good news these amendments included in the IMCO opinion have to be voted on.

The IMCO opinion also includes other important amendments to the proposal that would affect riders.

IMCO Opinion

Presented by IMCO Chairman and UK MEP Malcolm Harbour, Mr Harbour says in the justification of the report, “He would like to draw attention to the uncertainties highlighted by the European Parliament’s Impact Assessment Unitthat: “thebasic assumption that better and more frequent technical inspections would lead to fewer defects in vehicles seems not to be supported by evidence at all.”.

As regards exemptions the report says, “Your Rapporteur (Mr Harbour) welcomes the exemption for ’historic vehicles’. However he considers the definition is too prescriptive and recommends instead providing a basic age requirement. Further more he proposes to maintain Member States’ discretion to exempt vehicles from the Regulation in line with currentpractice.”

So down to the specific amendments that will have an effect on motorcycling and general effect on RWT in the UK.

The first is to change the proposal from a regulation to a directive, the justification being, “A regulation is the wrong type of legal act for this purpose. The purpose of this act, namely to reduce to a minimum the number of road accidents by means of periodic roadworthiness testing, can also be achieved by means of a legal instrument which effects national law less radically. The hypothesis on which the proposal is based is of dubious validity. As the doubts  surrounding it cannot be eliminated, a directive is preferable as being the more proportionate instrument.”

A second amendment with the change of one word from “should apply” to “could” removes motorcycles from the proposal and leaves any introduction of RWT in countries that do not test motorcycles the options to retain their status que.

Amendment five deletes text proposed by the Commission:

(7) Solid investigation results show that 8% of the accidents involving motorcycles are caused or linked to technical defects. Motorcycle riders are the group of road users with the highest safety risk, with rising trend in the number of fatalities. Moped drivers are overrepresented in the number of fatalities, with more than 1,400 drivers killed on the roads in 2008. The scope of vehicles to be tested shall therefore be extended to the highest risk group of road users, the powered two-or three-wheel vehicles.

The justification for this deletion, which we applaud, is, “In accordance with the subsidiarity and proportionality principles, it should be left to the discretion of the Member States  whether to extend roadworthiness tests to two-and three-wheel motor vehicles. Furthermore, the EU accident statistics for two- and three-wheel vehicles do not correlate with earlier studies.”

Amendment 16 again reiterates the change to a directive and that the directive is based on minimum requirements.

“This Directive establishes a regime of periodic roadworthiness tests of vehicles carried out on the basis of minimum technical standards and requirements with the aim of ensuring a high level of road safety and environmental protection.”

The justification for this amendment is, “A Directive sets common minimum standards for periodic roadworthiness tests, but at the same time takes into account the differences between Member States. Higher technical standards and requirements are allowed.”

Amendment 18 makes it clear about motorcycles, which deletes the text proposed by the Commission, “– two-or three-wheel vehicles – vehicle categories L1e, L2e, L3e, L4e, L5e, L6e and L7e,”

The justification is, “In accordance with the subsidiarity and proportionality principles, it should be left to the discretion of the Member States whether to extend roadworthiness tests to two-and three-wheel motor vehicles. Furthermore, the EU accident statistics for two- and three-wheel vehicles do not correlate with earlier studies.”

More applause from Right To Ride on this as amendments continue, “2. This Directive shall not apply to:” “– two-or three-wheel vehicles – vehicle categories L1e, L2e, L3e, L4e, L5e, L6e and L7e,” and deletes terminology in the proposal, “(5) ‘two- or three-wheel vehicles’ means any power-driven vehicle on two wheels with or without sidecar, tricycles and quadricycles.” If the terminology is not there then the vehicles cannot be included in the proposal, happy days!

Amendment 29 relieves any worries on RWT being used to test vehicle for type approval, “(9) “Roadworthiness test ” means an inspection, in accordance with Annex II and Annex III of this Regulation, to ensure that a vehicle is safe to be used on public roads and complies with required environmental characteristics;” The justification is, “The Commission’s definition creates legal uncertainty because it restates — in a general definition — the requirement to test according to type-approval criteria in general, whereas the relevant type approval criteria (for the purposes of safety and emissions testing) are already specified in the Annexes to this Regulation . Without this Amendment, any vehicle component which is type-approved could be singled out for safety testing, and vehicles might be unnecessarily failed as a result.”

Amendment 32  deletes the text proposed by the Commission that “– Vehicles of categories L1e, L2e, L3e,L4e, L5e, L6e and L7e: four years after the date on which the vehicle was first registered, then two years and thereafter annually;” the justification being which is the same as previously is, “In accordance with the subsidiarity and proportionality principles, it should be left to the discretion of the Member States whether to extend roadworthiness tests to two- and three-wheel motor vehicles. Furthermore, the EU accident statistics for two- and three-wheel vehicles do not correlate with earlier studies.” So for the UK the choice to extend/change the current requirements from three years and then every year would remain with the government.

Amendment 40 introduces, “In order to facilitate the re-registration of motor vehicles across the Union, this amendments introduces a system for the mutual recognition of roadworthiness certificates between Member States, with effect from the date of application of this Regulation.”

No Surprises Please

What we have heard on the backchat grapevine is that the Rapporteur – German MEP Werner Kuhne – in charge of the RWT file for the TRAN Committee – was discussing to accept amendments as regards motorcycling – to leave the option of introducing RWT for motorcycles down to Member State Governments.

This would mean that the UK would be able to retain its MoT in its present form however we believe Kuhne has put in a compromise that RWT testing for motorcycles would be reviewed in four years time.

However as always things are never simple in the EU procedures, if these amendments and others are accepted as the European Parliament position then they will be so diverse from the European Commission original proposal that to get through parliament there may be compromises and changes as all sides try to move towards a First Reading (Vote) in parliament, this is scheduled to happen in July.

In this case procedures move to perhaps a second or third reading if negotiations and trilogue meetings to find a common position do not work out.

As we have continually said, while these procedures are in place and we are part of the EU we will work to the best of our ability within all the procedures.

But for now, here is hoping for no surprises in the vote.


Schedule of webstream for 30th May 2013 – 09:00 / 12:30 (08:00 / 11:30 UK Time)  – Click Here

TRAN Committee Agenda – pdf – Click Here

View our previous reports on RWT – Click Here

Committee of MEPs responsable Transport and Tourism (TRAN)

TRAN Committee Amenments – pdf – Click Here

Environment, Public Health and Food Safety “ENVI) – The committee decided not to give an opinion.

Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE)Opinion published – pdf document

Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO)Opinion published – pdf document

European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) consultative body of the European Union – Opinion Published – Word Document

Brian Simpson UK MEP on Vulnerable Road Users – Click Here

ROSA Conference Brussels – Summary – pdf -2.62mb – Click Here

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  1. A lot of good lobbying work by Dutch riders organisation MAG Netherlands getting their MEPs public support – Click Here

  2. Here we go on testing stations.

    From what we are reading this amendment was voted through, “(10) Roadworthiness testing is a sovereign activity and as such should be done by the Member State, or by a public body entrusted with the task by the State or by bodies or establishments designated and directly supervised by the State, including duly authorised private bodies. In particular, where establishments designated as vehicle testing centres also perform motor vehicle repairs, Member States shall make every effort to ensure the objectivity and high quality of the vehicle testing.”

    And this was rejected, “(10) Roadworthiness testing is a sovereign activity and should therefore be done by the Member States or by entrusted bodies under their supervision. Member States should remain responsible for roadworthiness testing in any cases even if
    the national system allows for authorisation of private bodies. ”

    Making the purpose of this amendment clearer was its justification, “There should be a formal separation between test centres and motor vehicle repair shops, in order to avoid any conflicts of interest.”

    So looks like at this stage that GB can keep calm and carry on!

  3. No Surprises

    Looks like this text was deleted, “……this regime should apply to categories of vehicles as defined in Directive 2002/24/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 March 2002 relating to the type-approval of two or three-wheel motor vehicles…”

    With the justification, “Given the controversy over the impact which motorcycles in a poor state of repair have on accident rates, it would be disproportionate for two- and three-wheel vehicles to be made subject to compulsory periodic roadworthiness testing…..”

    But an amemdment was accepted that says, “Member States might introduce national requirements concerning roadworthiness tests for ………… relating to the type-approval of two
    or three-wheel motor vehicles …….”

    So at the moment it looks like thoseEU countries without a motorcycle RWT/MoT retain their status quo as do those with RWT/MoT.

    However we need to look in-depth as regards testing and repairs – repair shops also completeing RWT/MoT as is the case in GB at present.

    AND onwards to the European Council/Parliament/Commission reaching a common position – they do not all agree!

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