RWT – Good and bad news on possible NCT style testing

Yesterday we learned via FEMA (here) that during the European Council morning session, EU transport ministers agreed a general approach regarding roadworthiness tests (RWT) for motor vehicles and their trailers.

EU Member States drafted significant changes to the Commission’s proposal, including:

  • the exclusion of motorcycles from testing
  • turning the regulation into a directive, thereby giving member states flexibility in how it is applied.
  • lowering test requirements for competition or  historic vehicles

This then is good news for those of us who believe the original proposals by the Commission went too far, and were put forward based on flawed evidence as we showed previously.

The EU Parliament however, adopted a much less enlightened approach during discussions on the RWT proposal on Tuesday last. Although the evidence clearly demonstrates that Roadworthiness Testing is simply not a significant cause of accidents (see panel below), the rapporteur opened the discussions by setting the RWT proposal in the context of motorcycle safety.

Gay Mitchell MEP

Gay Mitchell MEP
Photo Credit: Antoinette Keane

Despite the willingness of Irish MEP’s to engage with MAG Ireland and take a balanced view on this issue as exemplified by Gay Mitchell MEP recently, it would appear that there is still a significant cohort of MEP’s who have not grasped the fact that the Commission bases it’s proposal on unsubstantiated figures. As we have previously posted:

The EU Commission claims 8% of motorcycle accidents are the result of mechanical failures on the motorcycle (click here for source). To date they have refused to provide the evidence for this claim.

The internationally accepted MAIDS study tells us that:

1.6% then is the worst case scenario. The Commission is claiming 8%. That means the Commission is making the situation out to be five times worse than the evidence shows it to be.


You can watch the Committee discussion in video here:

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again:

Mechanical failure of the motorcycle is simply not a significant factor in motorcycle accident causation.
MAG Ireland "No Con Test" Demo

MAG Ireland’s “No Con Test” Demo
Image Credit – Antoinette Keane


It may very well be that an NCT style test, if introduced, will pick up faults like worn tyres, worn brake pads, leaking seals, or maladjusted lights. It may well be that an NCT style test results in “safer” or “cleaner” bikes. All well and good, but if we’re going to have a test, let’s at least be honest about the reasons.

Let’s see the evidence. Let’s quantify just what “safer” means. Let’s do a proper cost/benefit analysis and let’s have a discussion where all sides can be heard in a balanced rational and fair manner.

Despite the EU Commission’s claims to the contrary, RWT will NOT result in an 8% reduction in accidents. The MAIDS study shows that. However, it appears the EU Commission is determined to impose a test on motorcycles.

MAG Ireland will work to make sure that any future test is proportionate to the problems it seeks to address and based on evidence of need using publicly available data. We’ve already written to all the Irish MEP’s outlining our concerns with the Commission’s proposals.

We again call on the EU Commission to substantiate their 8% claim and present their evidence for it so that a proper transparent and proportionate decision can be made by MEP’s on behalf of all citizens.