‘heavy-handed mistreatment of bikers’
This was MP Steve Baker's comment in parliament this week, with reference to proposed EU legislation regarding motorcycle construction and changes to licensing, which are due to be imposed on the UK by the EU next year.
Former EU directives have had an adverse effect on motorcycling in the UK in the past, and the MCI (Motorcycle Industry) has been involved in advising the government on damage limitation and how to attempt to influence future legislation favourably for UK motorcyclists.
Steve Baker MP commented that the MCI predictions about the probable effects of past legislation were vindicated by what happened to UK motorcycling when testing was changed. The Second Driving Licence Directive or 2DLD which came in in 2009, resulted in far fewer test centres - exactly as predicted by the MCI.
Before 2DLD came in there were 223 motorcycle test centres - a figure which dropped dramatically to a mere 40 after the new requirements were actioned. Obviously this has significantly affected the number of people taking their test - it has dropped from 81,000 to 48,000 and the MCI is arguing for better accessibility to tests.
Steve Kenward CEO of the MCI explained:
‘New European legislation will bring a number of changes to
motorcycling in the UK but if interpreted too rigidly, could have an
adverse affect on both riders and the motorcycle industry. Motorcycling
in the UK is already better regulated and managed than in many other
European countries, some of which are far behind us in terms of safety
records and training. Both Mike Penning (outgoing Transport Select Committee minister) and Steve Baker recognise the
potential motorcycles have in helping solve transport problems for
commuters in terms of congestion, parking and cost and to this end, both
have been working to remove the barriers that put off new
motorcyclists. We look forward to continuing this work with the new
Minister Stephen Hammond by putting the MCI’s safety and technical
expertise at his disposal’.
|A couple of commuters on their way to work|
So all in all it is nice to have a minister speaking up for motorcyclists in parliament and let's hope that with MCI advice helpful MPs will manage to ameliorate the damage which any proposals from the EU might do to UK motorcycling.