MAG MEP view

Published: 15 March 2012

As an avid motorcyclist I am aware of the campaigns MAG have been running, and have added my name to several of the petitions for motorcycle safety and law. By chance I am also on a mailing list from one of our MEPs.

Here is a copy of a section of the latest e-mail that he has sent out to his mailing list, which will be of interest to yourselves.

Controversy over proposed EU law for Motorcycles

For at least six months British MEPs have received torrents of identical emails about a proposed EU regulation for motorcycles. Emailing is fine but what normally follows is that lobbyists come to the parliament and explain calmly what they need and answer our questions.

Unfortunately, the UK's motorcyclist leaders (known as MAG) appear to have been given the wrong advice about how to lobby. The leading motorcycle magazine was, I am told, advised what to do by a UKIP MEP.

So, instead of coming into the parliament and talking to MEPs, motorcyclists chose to block the M1 motorway last autumn thus annoying the British public but having no effect on Brussels.

This was followed by a demonstration in Brussels by a hundred UK-only motorcyclists which was so small that the parliament noticed it.

The unhappiness of British motorcyclists, not fully shared by continental motorcycling organisations, is about the proposed new EU law.

The existing EU law for motorcycles says that owners of small motorcycles up to 125cc may not modify the power aspects of their machines. The new proposal would extend this ban to all motorcycles including the most powerful.

The Commission proposal for the law would only control "modifications by manufacturers", but the responsible committee in the parliament has added "after manufacture" too. The full parliament is likely to vote the First Reading in late-April or mid-May.

UK motorbikers are upset because they are individualists who like to make their machines different from everybody else's and they fear this law will limit their individuality.

After months of requests, I managed to obtain a briefing in Brussels from a German who works in the bikers' EU-umbrella body in Brussels (known as FEMA), but it appears that most British MEPs have still not been briefed.

There is an urgent need for the MAG leaders to quickly modify their lobbying methods, get across to Brussels and talk, or their cause may be lost.