EU: Limit Accidents by Limiting Motorbikes

I have a great deal of affection for the Motorcycle Action Group, or MAG as they are known. Their European end, FEMA, provide an annual jolly for Members of the European Parliament and assorted hangers on, giving a pillion trip up to some restaurant in Alsace where one is, I am told, wined and dined most effectively, just in time for a splendid ride back to Strasbourg (this year sponsored by Harley Davidson. I really have to go next year, might take my own bike).

However they have a real beef about a piece of law that is motoring its way through the EU system which they feel will do just that. Reduce accidents by the simple method of reducing those driving, rather than making anything intrinsically safer.

The problem is the EU’s 3rd Road Safety Action Plan (pdf), which aims to cut accidents by “50%” by 2011. What is required in the new Directive – “The third Directive on Driving Licences” – is, “Minimum age for riding bikes larger than 125cc likely to rise from 17 to 19. Direct Access to larger bikes not allowed until 24 (currently 21). New categories of motorcycle riding licences creating several two-year ‘steps’ between bikes of different engine size. Riders required to complete extra riding tests between ‘steps’.

The bottom line is that all this will make biking extremely expensive, prohibitively so for younger bikers. A spokesman for the respected British industry association The Motorcycle Industry Association Craig Carey-Clinch said, “Once again Brussels is ignoring road safety evidence so that it can simply blame motorcyclists for motorcycle accidents, while ignoring the deficiencies of other road users.” MAG's own spokesman Trevor Baird, put it pretty simply when he commentated, “We are approaching the stage where the motorcycle community may have to say to Europe ‘enough is enough’.”

Another sector goes sceptic?

As a foot note while researching this piece I noticed that Simon Milward, a very fine chap who was one of the mainstays of MAG and founder of FEMA, who could often be seen wandering round the Parliament in his leathers, bearding people and being a very good egg died on his bike while carrying out a humanitarian mission in Mali this year.

Damned good man, very sad.

MAG Forum

About a Year ago, socialist politician Kathleen Van Brempt raised herself as political Biker's babe, and MAG sought cooperation with her.

Realising that this was about the worst idea MAG could possibly have, I started a thread on their forum about Kathleen Van Brempt.

If you search on their website's forum on for messages from HiRev (my nickname), you 'll find it - I posted this thread only - or look for thread 'Katleen Van Brempt.'

Of course it is in Dutch.
In this post I warned MAG members not to trust leftish politicians when it comes to mobility, since they are essentially anti-mobilist motorist bashers.
I warned them saying that if socialists were to play busybody with motorbiking, the result would be more restrictions and more expensive motorbiking.
I called up the MAG members to vote for 'rightwing' politicians.

Whow! that resulted in a nice series of flaming posts in which I was diabolized as a reborn Nazi, but there were a few interesting reactions from bikers, even some that defended me and one flamer that excused himself for mistakenly having read 'extreme-rightwing' in stead of plain rigthwing.

I am not surprised at all to read this post from Eliab about the EU improving 'safety' by attacking bikers.

For the Leftish Church, the EU-religion, It is not about safety, it is about anti-mobility.

Mea culpa

“Once again Brussels is ignoring road safety evidence so that it can simply blame motorcyclists for motorcycle accidents, while ignoring the deficiencies of other road users.”

Yes, I have been one of those deficient "other road users". When bumbling at a legal speed up the M3 near here (one of the busiest motorways in Europe) I have negligently come close to unseating a motorcycle illegally overtaking me on my nearside and travelling at many tens of miles per hour faster.

No doubt if I had succeeded in decapitating said motor cyclist I would have been banned for dangerous driving, served a brief spell in jail and been plagued by nightmares and flashbacks for a few years after. Still, better that than dead, I suppose. But I really don't see why "other deficient road users" should have to suffer for the intimidatory, reckless, and suicidal behaviour of the man on the superbike.

And don't sing me the old song about this being exceptional, and how law-abiding most motorcyclists are blah blah blah. I see this sort of behaviour every day, several times a day.

Bob Doney