EU – mandatory technical inspections for all motorcycles

RWT ImageThe European Commission has published a proposal for the harmonisation of roadworthiness testing for all vehicles, including motorcycles, across the EU. Countries like Ireland which do not currently have an NCT style test for motorcycles would be required to introduce one.

The proposal is published online here:

The proposal claims that “8% of accidents involving motorcycles are caused or linked to technical defects” which appears to be based on a limited study carried out in Germany. In fact the MAIDS report shows that the true figure is below 1% while here in Ireland the RSA has looked at the issue as part of the National Motorcycle Safety Action Plan and concluded that there is no measurable link between motorcycle roadworthiness and accident causation, and therefore no need for an NCT style test.

MAG Ireland has consistently pointed out that common faults like wheel bearings or suspension bushings which cause cars to fail the NCT would render a motorcycle unrideable in any case. In addition, we’ve previously noted that an NCT style test for motorcycles would be an enormously expensive way dealing with a non existent problem that affects – at best – only about 1% of motorcycles which themselves are only about 2% of all road going vehicles.

As this proposal is an EU issue, we in MAG Ireland are currently working in collaboration with our colleagues in FEMA to deal with the proposal at the EU level. FEMA has issued the following statement on the situation.

The Federation of European Motorcyclists’ AssociationsJul 13, 2012
European Union announces mandatory technical inspections for all motorcycles

PRESS RELEASE – The European Commission proposes to include all types of powered two wheelers into a regulation on periodic roadworthiness tests and calls for annual inspection intervals for all vehicles more than six years old. The measure would cost riders over 1.2 Billion Euros extra per year, with no clear benefits for anyone. FEMA criticises the proposal as unnecessary and ineffective and calls for its withdrawal.

On Friday, July 13th, the European Commission published a proposal for a “Regulation on periodic roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and their trailers[1]”. In comparison to the previous regulation (Directive 2009/40/EC) powered two wheelers (PTWs) are also included (motorcycles, scooters and mopeds) and the Commission proposes to increase the testing frequency to four years after the date on which the vehicle was first registered, then two years and thereafter annually for all vehicles.

Therefore nine member states[2] of the European Union will have to comply by introducing periodic testing for motorcycles for the first time, as well as Norway which is affected as an EEA member. It would imply that riders in Europe have to pay at least 1.7 billion euros[3] biannually. Based on an estimated stock of 70% of PTWs being older than 6 years, the proposed annual testing for these older vehicles would mean an additional 1.2 billion euros per year.

The Commission assumes that technical deficiencies contribute to fatalities proportionately to their contribution to accidents, and estimates that they are “responsible for 6% of all car accidents, translating into 2,000 fatalities and many more injuries yearly [and] 8 % of all motorcycle accidents are linked to technical defects“.

FEMA doubts the accuracy of such figures. According to motorcycle in-depth studies technical failures only account for 0.3% of all primary accident contributing factors[4]. In addition the countries in Europe with periodic testing regimes for PTWs do not show improved accident figures.

This is nothing less than a tax on poverty for those who cannot afford a new vehicle every three years” says FEMA General Secretary Aline Delhaye. “In terms of time and money, the cost for citizens is going to be astronomical, with no benefits in return. This is not acceptable. FEMA and its member organisations are going to campaign against this proposal.