Over the past few months a new campaign has been revving up and getting into gear, writes Peter Skinner (MEP for the South-East).
Motorcyclists have been filling my inbox with their concerns regarding a raft of new proposals put forward by the European Commission. Particularly worrying is the suggestion that ABS brakes could be made compulsory on all bikes over 25cc. The proposals are ill suited to the realities of biking.
The fear is that iconic sights like the bank holiday biker pilgrimage to Hastings could be made a thing of the past as new riders are put off by straightjacket rules and sky high costs.
The latest stage of the campaign took place last Saturday when I jointly hosted a special ‘Motorcycle Question Time’ with the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) in the amazing setting of P&H Motorcycles in Crawley.
It was an incredibly invigorating experience; the hundred plus bikers from Sussex and beyond were well informed and focused on how they could influence the final outcome and ensure we get the best possible deal for bikers.
Someone asked why we have euro laws at all and the answer is that bikes are made all over the world and to set standards. By working as part of the common market we can benefit from economies of scale, get cheaper bikes and influence standards. If we opted out they’d still make bikes to European standards, we just wouldn’t get a say.
In a nutshell some manufacturers (of ABS brakes surprise surprise) pushed for new legislation and got a bit of a head start in the process.
Well, bikers are now pushing back. A co-ordinated MAG campaign and events like the one on Saturday are making headway and countries like Spain and France are now getting cold feet as their own motorcyclists kick up a fuss.
The proposals as they stand threaten what, for many, is a lifelong passion. The key vote is set for March 14th but working together with motorcyclists and allies from across Europe I’m hopeful we can force changes and get the best deal for bikers.
If you want to get in touch about biking (or any other issue) just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
And don’t forget you can learn more on my website www.peterskinnermep.eu and you can follow me on Twitter (@PWSkinnerMEP) and Facebook (Peter Skinner MEP).