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Time Running Out For Government To Act On Unfair Euro Motorcycle Licences - August 11th 2005

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    The Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCI) is today calling on the Government to use its Presidency of the European Union to bring fairness to European proposals for motorcycle licences. The proposals look set to make it much more difficult for people to take up motorcycling after 2011.

    The European plans are contained in the 'Third Directive on Driving Licences', a complex Directive which covers many aspects of vehicle driving and riding licences. Proposals for motorcycling are among the most draconian ever seen and discriminate particularly badly against people who wish to take up motorcycling either for commuting purposes or for leisure and touring. Key proposals include:

  1. Minimum age for riding bikes larger than 125cc likely to rise from 17 to 19
  2. Direct Access to larger bikes not allowed until 24 (currently 21)
  3. New categories of motorcycle riding licences creating several two-year 'steps' between bikes of different engine size
  4. Riders required to complete extra riding tests between 'steps'.
  5. Europe has proposed these wide-ranging changes in the name of road safety, but has ignored road safety evidence which shows that experience gained while riding -- and not the age of access to motorcycles -- is a key factor. A second test of basic skills is also viewed as largely worthless to a motorcyclist who has already gained riding experience.

    The European institutions have also ignored the key fact that well over half of all motorcycle accidents are caused by other road users - people will still be legally allowed to drive any car of any power or size that they can afford after passing a single driving test at age 17. The proposals are set to become UK law in 2011.

    MCI's Craig Carey-Clinch said; "Once again Brussels is ignoring road safety evidence so that it can simply blame motorcyclists for motorcycle accidents, while ignoring the deficiencies of other road users. New car drivers will not face such heavy-handed treatment despite their frequent involvement in road accidents. These new proposals are unfair, unjustified, discriminatory and simply not acceptable to the UK motorcycle community. The motorcycle industry and rider groups in Europe have proposed a set of amendments to the Directive and MCI strongly urges to the UK Government to table these and put an end to this Euro madness.

    "We hear a lot these days about how the Government is using its influence to ensure a fair deal for UK citizens as part of its EU Presidency. It's time that ministers put their money where their mouths are and make sure that we get a fair deal for motorcycling, which allows biking to develop as an alternative to the car - as promised by the Government in their recently published motorcycling strategy."

    The Motorcycle Industry has developed a set of amendments to the European Directive which will cancel the proposed second motorcycle test and lock the age of access to larger motorcycles at 18. This will harmonise larger motorcycle access ages across Europe.

    The current UK access age of 17 for bikes larger than 125cc will unfortunately be lost and MCI is continuing to argue that the UK should keep its age 17 derogation, as this will continue to be the case for the minimum age of access to cars in the UK. The rest of Europe doesn't allow access to cars until age 18.