Looking back at 2018, I can honestly say that today FEMA is the true voice of European motorcyclists in Brussels and we interact with more riders, motorcyclists’ organizations and stakeholders than ever before.
The FEMA staff, General Secretary Dolf Willigers and Communications Officer Wim Taal, have worked overtime to represent European motorcyclists and to get our message across to as many people as possible, making very good use of the social media channels the internet has to offer.
The motorcycle is the answer
In 2018 a lot of our time and energy have been spent on the subject of urban mobility; more and more cities are creating LEZ’s, low emission zones, to reduce the harmful emissions from cars and trucks, but in the process many city councils are punishing motorcycle riders by including them in their schemes. FEMA believes motorcycles, even older motorcycles are not the source of the problem, but are part of the solution. Motorcycles should be exempt from any measure because of the benefits they bring in easing congestion in the city. Motorcyclists are not standing still in traffic jams and in many cities motorcyclists do not ride around looking for a parking space. We will not quarrel with the promotion of walking, cycling and public transport, but local authorities are failing to recognise and facilitate the major contribution that can be made to urban mobility by motorcycling.
The European Commission
In 2018 the European Commission presented its vision in the 3rd Mobility package, calling for safe, clean and connected mobility. FEMA supports the 3rd Mobility package, as it focusses on road safety and infrastructure. The package contains a number of issues that FEMA has been lobbying for over the last years. But we will not rest on your laurels: within the first two weeks of the new year, the FEMA staff has a meeting planned with Matthew Baldwin, Deputy Director-General for Mobility and Transport, one of the most important departments of the European Commission.
In 2019 elections for the European Parliament are to be held. Motorcyclists are a rapidly expanding group of road users in Europe. Yet they are often overlooked. Not only in traffic, but also by legislators, road authorities, road safety experts and researchers. FEMA aims to bring motorcyclists and their needs to the attention of new parliamentary candidates and incumbent MEP’s before the elections in May 2019. FEMA and its 22 affiliated national motorcyclists’ associations have a vested interest in the outcome of the European elections in 2019. Our safety and freedom of movement may well depend on decisions the Members of the European Parliament will take in the 2019-2024 parliamentary session. This is why we will be running the ‘Motorcyclists are voters’ campaign, aimed at all parliamentary candidates and at European motorcyclists.
FEMA is growing
As president of the most effective motorcyclists’ organization in Europe, it was a great moment for me when in the past year two motorcyclists’ associations from the southern parts of Europe (Spain and Italy) joined the FEMA table. Let’s hope that this was the start of a trend we can continue in 2019, because we need as many organized riders as possible to ensure a bright future for motorcycling.
On that note, let me – on behalf of the FEMA board – wish you a great new year and remember: go out and vote for your preferred candidate during the European elections in May if you can!