Categories: General
      Date: Oct 13, 2010
     Title: Commission proposes new type approval rules for motorcycles

The proposal defines the technical provisions new motorcycles have to fulfil in future in order to be used legally on public roads. Following the suggestions of FEMA, the Federation of European Motorcyclists' Associations, the Commission proposes the abolishment of the 100hp limit as well as the introduction of strong durability requirements for emissions. But the proposal also includes harsh restrictions regarding engine modifications and mandatory ABS.

Last week the European Commission proposed the so-called Regulation on the Approval and Market Surveillance of Two- or Three-Wheel Vehicles. The regulation aims at improving the safety as well as the environmental performance of these vehicles and has now to be approved by the European Parliament as well as by the Council before coming into force. While many of the proposed changes are favouring the position of riders, FEMA also hopes to disarm the few elements which jeopardise riders' rights and consumers' freedom of choice.

A first point to be highlighted is that the Commission finally acknowledges what FEMA for many years has been campaigning for: the anticipated correlation between safety and maximum power limitation is misleading. Therefore the Commission proposes to no longer allow member states to ban motorcycles with a maximum power of 74 kW (the 100 hp limit). The only EU country which is still restricting motorcycles to 74 kW is France.

Stricter emission rules and stricter liability

The emission limits for motorcycles and scooters will become stricter. The Commission suggests a stepped approach to make new bikes comply with the Euro 5 and Euro 6 norms until 2020. FEMA was pushing for the early introduction of these steps as well as for making the manufacturers responsible for the durability of the required emission level. Indeed the Commission proposes a durability requirement of 50.000 km for motorcycles that will comply with Euro 6. This means that for the first time the manufacturer can be held liable in case emission values degrade over time.

Starting from 2017 all powered two-wheelers will be equipped with on-board diagnostic (OBD) systems to monitor failure and deterioration of engine and vehicle management systems. FEMA made clear that OBD could represent a benefit for the consumers only if the information provided would be freely accessible. So far the Commission promises "reasonable and proportionate fees for access to vehicle repair and maintenance information" for dealers and repairers. FEMA already advised the Commission that "repairers" must include individuals which would not have an additional cost. Commission officials have signalled their support.

No more engine modification, no more braking without electronics?

Commission wants to prevent or at least to strictly hamper any private technical modification of the "powertrain" aimed at improving torque, power or maximum speed of road legal bikes. Before the development of any detailed measures, a study will be conducted in order to clarify whether modifications have been representing any significant danger to the environment or to the safety of riders so far. FEMA claims that the responsibility to ensure that a machine is appropriate to a given driving licence status should remain to the rider which would maintain the possibility to modify any part of the bike. The Commission agreed to consult delegates of FEMA once again regarding this issue.

Disregarding FEMA's objection, the Commission decided to introduce mandatory anti-lock brakes for all new motorcycles with an engine bigger than 125cc being sold from 2017 onwards. Scooters and light motorcycles between 50cc and 125cc will have to be equipped with combined braking systems or anti-lock brakes. ABS has many advantages and FEMA believes that manufacturers should provide optional ABS for every model they are offering. However, there are still questions to be clarified regarding additional costs for purchase and maintenance of the bike as well as durabililty and reliablity requirements. In any case, there must be an on/off button for rides on non-paved roads.

Eco-labelling, automatic headlights and exemptions for small series

Manufacturers will have to clearly indicate fuel consumption as well as the amount of CO2 produced by the models they are offering as campaigned for by FEMA. Another new provision is that the headlights of new bikes will have to switch on automatically. The measure has been suggested by the major manufacturers and has been implemented already. FEMA advised the Commission to link the mechanism to the start of the engine instead of being switched on by the ignition.

FEMA has always supported the individual riders and businesses engaged in the well established tradition of customizers and producers of small batch series of motorcycles. The Commission took notice of the special requirements of such niche products and included exemptions for small series into the proposed regulation as well as the perpetuation of single vehicle approval schemes.

Access the full text of the Commission's proposal in:














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