Road Worthiness Testing – What We Face!

10th September 2010

AUTOFORE – Study on the Future Options for Roadworthiness Enforcement in the European Union – 2007 – pdf 901kb – Click Here 

The Study is also available to view on a website with links to annexes and dataClick Here 

The study was carried out by an international consortium led by CITA and made up of research bodies associated with a number of CITA members, academic institutions and independent consultants. It was steered by a committee of the sponsors, the partners and a large number of CITA members and included the European Commission, who awarded the AUTOFORE consortium a grant of €300,000 towards the cost.

CITA – The International Motor Vehicle Inspection Committee – represents public and private sector organisations throughout the world that share a common goal of developing and sharing best practice in the vehicle roadworthiness inspections. CITA members in Europe are representative of government authorities and all of the main private organisations within the enlarged European Union with responsibilities for mandatory vehicle inspection.

CITA took the role of leading the project with a determination for it to be strategic, open minded and innovative; and with a clear objective that its conclusions and recommendations should have widespread acceptance and buy-in.

The list of membership of CITA is not just confined to Europe but is global wide, listed on the CITA website as full members are our own Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency (Northern Ireland).

Reproduced below from page 37 – 6.4.3 – of the report is the section regarding motorcycles.

Extension of Directive 96/96/EC to two-wheeled motor vehicles – Page 37 –6.4.3

A full economic analysis could not be undertaken on the inspection of two-wheeled motor vehicles because of the shortage of data. But two-wheeled motor vehicle riders are more vulnerable than other classes of motor vehicle users and two-wheeled motor vehicles involved in accidents have a relatively high number of defects.

The view of the study is that, although there is insufficient data for the cost/benefit analysis, the inspection of motorcycles and mopeds is justified.

In some parts of Europe motorcycles and mopeds are frequently used as a normal means of transport, especially by young people or the lower social classes. The bikes are smaller, less expensive and are generally kept longer.

Consequently, the benefits of inspecting twowheeled motor vehicles are likely to be greater in these countries. Periodic inspection of motorcycles is already mandatory in at least 14 of the EU-27 countries. It has recently been introduced in Italy and is under consideration in France. Mopeds are less widely inspected but some countries, such as UK, have inspected them for many years. Periodic inspection of mopeds has recently been started in Spain.

The recently introduced exhaust gas legislation, which will be tightened further over the coming years, and widespread concern about excess noise, add justification for the inspection of two-wheeled motor vehicles. Emission tests for motorcycles have recently been introduced in Germany. Noise tests have been in place for some time.

Mopeds are performance limited by law in order to allow them to be used with less stringent driver licence requirements. A limited, but representative, investigation in the Netherlands found that a very high percentage of the mopeds had been tampered with to increase their performance. Experience in Spain has shown that a high number of vehicles presented for inspection have been modified. Tampering is likely to result in reduced safety and significant increases in exhaust emissions.

It is likely that some of the modifications made to increase performance will be reversed just before periodic inspections and random roadside tests may be required to combat tampering. Such modifications can be controlled at roadside inspections but require the use of transportable chassis dynamometers and a high frequency of checks.

Periodic inspection would reduce the incidence of other safety related defects, particularly those of which the owner is unaware. The case for testing mopeds is complicated because there is no agreed definition for them and a lack of vehicle licensing requirements in some countries. Nevertheless, consideration needs to be given to how these could be overcome as mopeds have a disproportionately high accident rate and a high level of technical violations.


Our Thoughts – Our Comments

CITA represents public and private sector organisations throughout the world,  it has produced its (biased) views on motorcycling  through a study (AUTOFORE) funded by the European Commission.

It is no wonder that we are now facing the possibility of European wide MoT inspections for motorcycles or a stricter and more costly inspection to the one that exists without proven benefits.

However,  nobody has identified what the actual proposal from the European Commission is yet, nor what the  proposal would mean for a motorcyclist when presenting their bike for an MoT.

As far as we can see, what the Commission has published through its consultation is a wish list.

Presumably, based on the results of the consultation (although past experience suggests that the Commission may completely ignore the consultation), a decision will be made for a proposal on harmonised PTI which may or may not include the harmonisation of motorcycle PTI.

The decision on European wide MoTs (PTI) for motorcycles will most probably be dependent on the outcome of the framework regulations proposal by DG Enterprise (to be published on 29th September 2010)  which could include extending anti-tampering/modification measures (even though there is no conclusive evidence that this a widespread problem), emissions and noise checks.

Much of the evidence for these proposal of changes to legislation were provided by TUV in a study carried out in 2003 on Road worthiness testing for PTWs, which was based on a “Ouija Board” interpretation of the results.

In fact most studies, including the most influential accident causation study the  ‘Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasure’, also known as the ‘Hurt Report’, January 1981.  The study investigated almost every aspect of 900 motorcycle accidents in the Los Angeles area, additionally,  the report analyzed 3,600 motorcycle traffic accident reports in the same geographic area.

One of the major findings was that: Vehicle failure accounted for less than 3% of these motorcycle accidents, and most of those were single vehicle accidents where control was lost due to a puncture flat.

The European Commissions – Road Safety Knowledge base – regarding Powered Two Wheelers on contributory factors in accidents related to the vehicle states:

“Other design elements of PTW’s are relevant for their safety such as frame, suspension, wheels, brakes, tyres. But with to day’s PTW’s their contribution to accidents is low. The MAIDS study found 5% accidents with vehicle failure as a contributing factor, mostly tyre or wheel problems.”

With the caveat that: “The opinions expressed in the studies are those of the consultant and do not necessarily represent the position of the Commission.”

At this point in time the devil in the detail has still to be announced regarding what is to be proposed – unless you know different?