RSA: Consultation on Post Registration Vehicle Modifications

RSA LogoThe RSA has published a consultation document dealing with post registration vehicle modifications that affect vehicle safety and environmental performance.

The consultation document notes that Ireland currently has no dedicated system or approval scheme to regulate vehicle modifications post registration. To quote the RSA:

Vehicle modifications can range from simple cosmetic changes such as windscreen tinting to major structural alterations such as lowering a cars suspension, converting a van into a mini-bus or adding an axle to a Heavy Goods Vehicle.

A substandard modification can negatively impact a vehicle’s behaviour, posing a danger to the driver and other road users. Information gathered at roadside inspections has indicated that many substandard vehicle modifications exist.

Ireland currently has no system in place to control such activity. To tackle this issue, the RSA is proposing that preventative measures be introduced to better regulate vehicle modifications in this country and ultimately save lives.

The consultation document proposes two options regarding regulation of modifications;

  • Self-declaration by vehicle owner
  • Introduction of a dedicated approval process for vehicle modifications

As the review includes motorcycles and trikes, MAG Ireland is currently studying the consultation document and we will be making a formal response on behalf of Irish riders before the March 20th closing date.

Full details are available on the RSA web site – click here

Update (7 Feb):
Below is an extract from appendix 2 of the RSA consultation document relating to the motorcycle-specific aspects under consideration.

Motorcycle Modifications (Page 32)

Frame and suspension alterations Motorbike design is a complex task. Modifications made to a motorbike’s frame or suspension that structurally changes the frame, steering head, front forks, suspension, brakes or wheels may load vital components well beyond the limits for which they were originally designed.

This may increase the probability of failure and may be a danger to the rider and other road users.

Engine replacements Many manufacturers produce a series of models with the same basic frame fitted with engines of differing capacity.

Therefore engine changes should adhere to manufacturer’s recommendations as this will ensure that the brakes and suspension fitted to the vehicle have the correct performance required and that no modification is required to the frame.

Steering gear and handle bars The handle bars of a motorbike should adequately extend each side of the longitudinal axis of the motorbike and hand grips on the handle bars must be fitted symmetrically.

Motorbikes must be fitted with footrests for the rider, and for any passenger for whom a seating position is provided.

Exhausts Road Traffic law prohibits all motor vehicles from causing excessive noise due to the condition or construction of the vehicle, or the manner in which it is operated.

Any replacement exhaust system must have the correct approval for the motorcycle on which it is to be used.

Motor trikes Motor trikes are often constructed by removing the rear swing arm and substituting a suitable after market or self-constructed rear axle assembly and body work.

It is important that this modification is suitable for the motorbike and the vehicle meets with the appropriate Road Traffic and European legislative requirements.

Wheels and tyres On all wheels (including any side-car wheel), the tyre size must be suitable for the rim. Each tyre and rim should be strong enough to support the machine when it is fully loaded and have the appropriate tyre speed rating.
Chain guards If the motorbike has a chain drive, the driver and any passenger should be protected from the front sprocket and at least the upper part of the chain by the frame or equipment of the motorbike, or by a chain guard.
Mudguards Appropriate mudguards should be fitted to all wheels (including the sidecar wheel). Each mudguard should be at least as wide, over its entire length, as its respective tyre.