Road Worthiness Testing – EU Wide

On the 14th October 2011 the Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations (FEMA) reports that representatives of the Federation delivered the bulk of 110,000 signatures from citizens across Europe opposing EU Commission plans to make Periodical Technical Inspections (PTI) mandatory for motorcycles.

According to FEMA, “The petition was widely circulated and signed by riders in the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Ireland, Norway and Denmark when FEMA launched its campaign “No Periodical Technical Inspections for Motorcycles” in November 2010.”

FEMAs campaign started in reaction to a public consultation held online between July and September 2010, when the European Commission asked citizens for their opinion on the extension of PTI to motorcycles across Europe.

The purpose of the EU consultation was also to seek views on possible new policies regarding present arrangements on PTI and Roadside inspections, which included encouraging bilateral agreements between Member States on the quality of testing, mutual recognition of PTI and exchange of information and imposing through EU legislation a standard EU-wide system for PTI.

According to FEMA, in countries where PTI is not mandatory for motorcycles, riders immediately called their associations to react.

FEMA argues that, “An extension of PTI will not improve road safety, and only represents an unjustified additional financial burden on motorcyclists. There is no conclusive evidence of a positive impact on safety. Technical failures only account for 0.3% of motorcycle accidents, and only a fraction could be avoided by bi-annual inspection schemes”.

A Small Number

This 0.3% of motorcycle accidents appears in the FEMA Position Statement – On Periodical Technical Inspections / Road Worthiness – September 2010 – pdf – Click Here where the document states  “Technical failures only account for 0.3% of all primary accident contributing factors”

“A total of 3 cases (0.3 %) of vehicle failures, which were to blame as “primary accident contributing factor”, are reported (Maids 2009: 29).

MAIDS: Motorcycle Accidents In Depth Study – www.maids-study.eu

FEMA has based the 0.3% on the MAIDS report (although that figure refers to all vehicle failures including cars).

If you actually go and look at the statistics (page 31 of MAIDS report, 2009 version) you find that technical failures were 1.6%. Also the figures include countries such as Italy, Spain and Germany that have PTI.

What must be remembered is that the percentages of figures in the MAIDS report  concerns the study of a total of 921 motorcycle and moped accidents during the period 1999-2000 in five sampling areas located in France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and Italy.

Twice A Year

With regards to the comment by FEMA about the frequency of PTI being “bi-annual” this is misleading.

We were unable to find any Commission document (proposal, consultation etc) to suggest that the frequency of PTI would be twice a year.

What we suspect is that this mistake has come from a CITA document (AUTOFORE – Study on the Future Options for Roadworthiness Enforcement in the European Union – pdf – Click Here  “The introduction of bi-annual technical motor vehicle inspections for motorcycles with insurance marks could lead to 24 fewer deaths in accidents (…)”. Later in the same document, there is a list of countries and frequencies in which PTI is carried out, typically 3/1/1 or 5/2/2 with variations in between (see page 45). It would appear that CITA’s preference is 2/2/2 (i.e. every two years). The conclusion of the CITA document is written in very poor English (see page 47), thus we assume that our non-native English speaking colleagues at FEMA have perpetuated this faux pas based on the CITA author’s mistake.) which however highlights that CITA’s preferred option for the frequency of PTI is every two years.

Perhaps lost in translation was the word “Biennial” which means (an event) lasting for two years or occurring every two years.

However this comment has caused quite a stir amongst some motorcyclists who now think that they will have to have an inspection every six months!

Data

CITA (International Motor Vehicle Inspection Committee) states that “The accident analysis data in particular show major discrepancies between the groups of motorcyclists. A high amount of 64.9% – 84.3% of light motorcycles examined after an accident were defective, some of which with severe defects. However, even in the motorcycles which require licensing and which were examined, accident analysts found severe defects in 55.2% of cases. The percentage of accident-relevant faults in motorcycles is therefore accordingly high. The accident analysts classified 13% of defects found after accidents as accident-relevant for motorbikes and 30% for light motorcycles”.

They also point out that age matters, i.e. the older the vehicle, the more likely there are defects.

However there are some assumptions and dubious extrapolation of data.

AUTOFORE – Study on the Future Options for Roadworthiness Enforcement in the European Union – pdf – (pages 21 and 22) – Click Here

You could argue that CITA has a vested interest because it represents the testing authorities, equally you could argue that FEMA has a vested interest because it represents its members – especially those that do not want the introduction of PTI.

Alternative

The alternative to PTI according to FEMA, in its Position Statement On Periodical Technical Inspections / Road Worthiness Testing  – September 2010 – pdf – Click Here document, is that the manufacturers should extend warranties and cover the cost of defects and emissions.

There are two possible outcomes to this: the consumer (us) will end up paying for the cost of extending warranties or the manufacturers will go out of business. Also, there will have to be a cut-off point when the warranty will expire.

Then what?

With regards to measuring emissions FEMA also states in the same document that it “Considers the manufacturer of a vehicle as the main party responsible for the level of emissions the vehicle is producing. If the vehicle fails to comply with standardised emission limits after a certain mileage, the user must not be held liable for the costs arising from repair. If legislators require periodical checks of the emission level, this burden must not be put on the consumer either.”

Bigger Picture

However we are equally aware that within the Commission’s proposals for the approval and market surveillance of 2 and 3 wheel vehicles and quadricycles, there are other issues relating to emissions, durability and on board diagnostics. In our response to the DfT’s consultation on these proposals, we disagreed with FEMA and argued that the MoT (or PTI) is more effective in terms of cost and reliability.

While we understand that riders in other countries may wish to fight for their “freedom of choice, in the real world, we  believe that PTI for motorcycles will be introduced across Europe, not least because the UNECE WP29 in Geneva is already discussing world-wide periodical technical inspections for all vehicles including motorcycles and mopeds and considering an international PTI certificate.

In the grand scale of things, it will be difficult to convince representatives from countries throughout the world that PTI is not a good idea.

National Provisions

A delegation of FEMA members from FFMC France, MAG Netherlands and NMCU Norway handed over the petition to Mrs. Marit Ruuda at the seat of the Commission in Brussels, who received it on the behalf of Commissioner for Transport Siim Kallas.

Representing FEMA member organisations, the FEMA President Gerard Livett delivered along with the petition, a letter for European Commissioner for Transport Siim Kallas, asking him to listen to the voice of the motorcycling community,: “Motorcyclists across Europe are worried that a future project will introduce a harmonized system with compulsory periodical inspections for powered two-wheelers, since it would bring an end to national provisions, which in most cases have proved satisfactory, cost-effective, and adapted to the reality of powered two-wheeler practice.”

In principle we agree with FEMA, that PTI schemes for motorcycles should be left to the discretion of national governments, for example in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK we have PTI (which is known as the MoT) in place.  In Northern Ireland the annual fee is £22.00.

However, the Commission has stated its intent on possible new policies to extend PTI to 2 wheeled vehicles (mopeds, scooters and motorcycles) across Europe through a harmonised system, we have no knowledge nor it would appear does anybody else, of what the Commission aims to propose and whether it would bring changes, or as FEMA have stated, an end to our own national provisions.

The Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations

14th October 2011

110,000 motorcyclists say no to mandatory inspections

Press release — Today in Brussels representatives of the Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations (FEMA) delivered the bulk of 110,000 signatures from citizens across Europe opposing plans of the European Commission’s to make periodical inspections (PTI) mandatory for motorcycles.

The petition was widely circulated and signed by riders in the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Ireland, Norway and Denmark when FEMA launched its campaign “No To Mandatory Inspections” in November 2010.

The campaign started in reaction to a public consultation held online from July to September 2010, where the European Commission asked citizens for their opinion on the extension of PTI to motorcycles. In countries where PTI is not mandatory for motorcycles riders immediately called their associations to react.

PTI, or mandatory roadworthiness testing, only applies to powered two-wheelers in some countries in the European Union.

FEMA argues that an extension of PTI will not improve road safety, and only represents an unjustified additional financial burden on motorcyclists. There is no conclusive evidence of a positive impact on safety. Technical failures only account for 0.3% of motorcycle accidents, and only a fraction could be avoided by bi-annual inspection schemes.

Countries that enforce inspections do not display better safety results, therefore PTI schemes for motorcycles should be left to the discretion of national governments.

FEMA General Secretary Aline Delhaye says, “The Commission is barking at the wrong tree: there is no need for harmonisation of inspections for motorcycles. It looks like a good idea but it’s not, it  only means more expenses for users, for no safety benefit. The European Union should instead focus on the real issues if it wants to improve safety: training, driver behaviour and infrastructure; as proposed by the European Parliament last week.”

Original Source – Click Here

Information

Right To Ride comments to EU Consultation- September 2010  – pdf 273kb – Click Here

FEMA Position Statement – On Periodical Technical Inspections / Road Worthiness – September 2010 – pdf  Click Here

FEMA position paper on road worthiness testing and periodical technical inspection – February 2008 – pdf – Click Here

CITA is a not-for-profit association and represents all types of organisations and stakeholders who share a common interest in exchanging information, developing best practices and draft international standards in the field of road vehicle inspection have their own information on accident analysis data.

For the UK listed as Full Members are the Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency (Northern Ireland) and Vehicle & Operator Services Agency – VOSA (Great Britain) and  Affiliated Association Members Retail Motor Industry Federation (GB).

www.cita-vehicleinspection.org

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