The Finnish riders’ organisation SMOTO is the latest European riders group to come out against the European Commission’s proposal for the mandatory introduction of Road Worthiness Testing (RWT) for motorcycles.
On their own website SMOTO comment, “Studies have shown that the driver’s driving skills and driving behaviour explain the majority of motorcycle accidents. Roadworthiness testing does not affect the driver’s behaviour.”
In a separate document from SMOTO they quote the European MAIDS (Motorcycle Accident In-depth Study) 1999 to 2001 study, using the same figures to their advantage on accidents caused by vehicle defects, figures which we previously disputed.
A 1997 Australian study reviewed 167 motorcycle crashes which were all personal injury, but not fatal accidents. The study is reported as saying that the majority (motorcycles) were in good or excellent technical condition although 40 percent were between the technical condition of being poor – fair, including bearings, a quarter had under-inflated tyres, a smaller percentage with worn tyres, about a quarter had worn or loose Final Drive Chain and 15 percent had underperforming brakes.
SMOTO also mention the 1981 Hurt report from the USA, a Michigan Bureau of Investigation (2006) which reported a study of severe accidents accident elements (crash factor) and mentions mechanical problem on average 3.5 percent of the cases studied (three-year average).
SMOTO also mentions that other U.S. studies have highlighted the technical shortcomings of the accident element.
However SMOTO also argues that these studies do not include any mention of Finland, Sweden, Norway or Great Britain and the technical condition of the motorcycle accident factor.
Relevant and Robust Arguments
Our view at Right To Ride is that if reports are being sourced and used as evidence to make a point then to state, “SMOTO is confident that the Commission is aware of the state-of-the-art science on motorcycle safety. Thus, SMOTO is disappointed to see that the Commission has yet again worked towards introducing new regulation, regardless of the overwhelming scientific proof of its inefficiency.” you had better make sure that these are relevant and robust arguments.
However this may be us being pernickety and basing the standards of others on a par below ours
What SMOTO does offer is to move the concentration away from technical aspects and relate what they have working on for years to improve motorcycle safety. This involves rider training and developing legislation that is understandable and acceptable for motorcyclists.
SMOTO says, “We want to continue on this path since it effectively focuses on issues which improve motorcycle safety for real. Finnish riders do not want ineffective regulation and we do not want to pay for it!”
We are perplexed at how SMOTO have come to the conclusion on costs to motorcycles and a decline of motorcycle activities and for motorcycle businesses in which they state, “SMOTO sees that European economies are already too stressed by bureaucratic costs and discouraging regulation. New RWT would only add to this.” the basis of which seems to have informed FEMA’s position.
As this proposal is really at the start of the EU legislative process SMOTO are urging, “motorcycle interest groups as well as informed citizens to take steps towards rejecting the Commission’s proposal.”
As previously reported FEMA are running their own campaign as a cover for all European rider organisations and there is the independent protest organised by MAG Netherlands with public support from NMCU Norway and MAG Belgium.
To again clarify our position on Road Worthiness Testing and motorcyclist/rider organisations.
Our view is simply that these are different countries with different situations and require a different solution.
We have reported on the Commission’s proposal and stated that within the proposal the status quo for the UK remains, i.e. there will be no change to the frequency of MoT (aka RWT) for motorcyclists in this country, and from what we have read, the focus of this proposal is on cars.
In any event, we will continue to report the progress of this proposal and any effects it will have for UK riders.
Information and Links
FEMA source: Click Here
SMOTO source – via Google Translate: Click Here