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New anti-motorcycle legislation sweeps Europe

Dramatic headline?

Maybe, but slipping under the radar of the average rider is a raft of legislation across Europe that is chipping away at motorcycling.

I’m not about to open up that hoary old can of worms that is ‘riders’ rights’ but to try to highlight some of the many changes in motorcycle legislation that are being rolled out across Europe.

The 3rd Licence Directive has received a fair amout of attention but many of the other bits of legislation are much less well-known. The sheer scope of some of these are worrying to say the least, whilst others seem ridiculously trivial.

A common theme seems to be that aside from the major driving licence debate, many of these changes are being pushed through by national governments without consultation with the riders’ organisations in those countries or with Europe-wide bodies.

One effect of this piecemeal legislation is that definitive information isn’t easy to find. Whilst there are briefing papers on the individual issues on various websites, they are often out-of-date or incomplete, or foreign-language.

There doesn’t seem to be one single, definitive list of what’s already changed and what’s planned for biking in the next few years. Even FEMA doesn’t seem to have a full briefing on what’s going on across Europe. As a result, I’m sure there are mistakes and inaccuracies in this particular article, and I’ll be glad to accept any corrections.

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But the following list will give you some idea of just how much motorcycling is under threat.

  • At the head of the list is the European 3rd Licence Directive, which will introduce an intermediate A2 tier of licence between the current 33hp ‘restricted’ category which can be gained by passing a test at age 17, and ‘direct access’ to full power bikes. Direct Access to full power bikes will be put back to 24 from the current 21.
  • New rules on braking systems on all new bikes, which will be imposed shortly. All new machines will have to have either linked brakes or ABS fitted as standard.
  • New laws will also allow for ‘anti-tampering’ measures to prevent and/or make it illegal to improve performance. This seems to cover parts like alternative sprockets and aftermarket exhausts.
  • Type approval is being extended to cover some replacement parts, specifically mirrors, brake pads and brake shoes and tyres. This would make it illegal to replace any of these parts with a non-approved part and goes far beyond the ‘e-mark’ legislation currently in place.
  • Compulsory protective clothing in Belgium. Belgium imposed new rules on 1 January 2011 which required all riders and passengers on two wheelers to wear long sleeves, trousers, gloves and boots that cover the ankle (plus the obligatory helmet, of course!). There’s no requirement for this to be ‘protective clothing’ as far as I can see, so it would appear to be a very minimum standard. But it’s still compulsory
  • Compulsory protective clothing in the UK whilst taking your bike test. In a very similar measure, the DSA recently announced that candidates turning up for their bike test in ‘inappropriate’ clothing could be turned away untested. Whilst the ‘appropriate clothing’ is no more than as recommended on CBT (ie, helmet, stout jacket and trousers, gloves and ankle-protecting footwear), it’s been rushed through with no apparent consultation with the motorcycle industry.
  • Compulsory hi-vis clothing in France for motorcyclists from 1 September 2011. This one’s kicked up a terrific stink in France with riders, with an estimated 100,000 turning out in demos on Sunday 18 June, in numbers which paralysed cities and towns up and down the country. According to reports, more than 15,000 bikers clogged up the heart of the capital blocking the Periphique, Lyon (France’s second largest city) saw more than 10,000 bikers, 7,000 demonstrated in Lille, and Toulouse was totally blocked by 8,000 bikers. Smaller demonstrations took place in dozens of other cities.
  • France to ban bikes over seven years old from cities centres. This was announced just before the hi-vis demo, so almost certainly added to the turn-out.
  • New French laws will also ban filtering and force all riders to remain stationary in traffic jams and retro-fit bigger rear numberplates [Rather bizarrely, Belgium has just legalised filtering on 1 January 2011, so long as it’s within limits – you can’t ride faster than 50Km/h or more than 20Km/h faster than the traffic you’re filtering past.]
  • New French laws will give the police power to seize GPS units ‘capable of storing the locations of fixed speed cameras’. In the past, it was illegal to use a GPS to locate speed cameras and your GPS could be confiscated if used in this way, but it’s not clear whether this means any GPS capable of POI alerts contravenes the new regulations even if there are no such POIs in the memory.
  • Compulsory hi-vis in Ireland. The law was introduced a couple of years ago, but after a softly-softly period, it’s apparently been announced that it’s now to be strictly enforced. [EDIT] This appears to apply only to learner riders at the moment but there is a proposal to extend this to qualified riders [/EDIT]
  • Spain has banned headphones in helmets. It applies to car drivers too, but it means that using bike to bike/passenger intercoms is illegal south of the Pyrenees, as is using an earpiece to listen to GPS directions.

You may not be worried by any of this. You may feel it’s an intolerable assault on motorcycling and the ‘lifestyle’ that goes with it. I’m not going to argue for or against either viewpoint, but if nothing else, this list should give you an idea of the potential minefield that travelling in Europe is fast becoming.

Far from having pan-European ‘rules of the road’ which was one of the goals of a single community, travelling across Europe is fast becoming a minefield of different national laws and petty rules of which we’ll all have to be aware when crossing borders.

But the worrying bit is that all these measures seem to be happening at more or less the same time. A conspiracy theorist might think that wasn’t entirely an accident. And that’s what’s adopted by one country might seen be seen as a ‘good idea’ for the rest of the EU.

About Kevin Williams / Survival Skills

Motorcycle trainer, motorcycle author, motorcycle safety consultant, motorcycle forum moderator, former courier and ever a recreational rider. Is there a common theme here?

Discussion

52 thoughts on “New anti-motorcycle legislation sweeps Europe

  1. Hi Richard Kevin is right (especially about the round the block test when I should have taken mine as well instead of chasing skirt) I did take a CBT as my insurance for my 50cc scooter I had on the road at the time had a great reduction on offer if I did my cbt although with a full car license from decades ago I did not need it, the lads at the training center were great and could not have been any better and thought the whole situation was a joke just as I did, I went out for the run and was told of a couple of silly little things I was doing that needed rectifying for the full test (rectified easily on the ride back to the training center) but also told to get booked in for the full test as soon as due to my road skills and confidence from riding every day all though only on a 50cc but with no problems on bigger geared bikes, I took the theory and passed no problem then lost my job so had no spare cash for the practical test on a schools 500cc machine (I had and still do have a decent 125cc which I love riding but was told that it was not good enough to get up too speed to do the test on) which I now know is rubbish as Ive watched slower 125cc bikes pass the test on you tube filmed at real test centers during real tests.
    Everything for me got put on hold due to my knee giving out and needing a full knee replacement which I now have but the CBT and theory certificates are well out of date so Ive decided to sell the 125cc and give up on the born again biker thing and buy a nice new outboard engine for my boat (no crazy red tape for that)
    Don’t be embarrassed about going to a training school as you will find a bunch of guys just like you and me all cursing the red tape, all the trainers Ive met were good lads and a great laugh, one thing I would recommend is don’t start the process until you have enough funds to see you through to the end with a bit extra in case you fail any bit of it like the theory or a module (you wont fail the CBT) but the rest have time limit on them to complete the process.
    Good Luck

    Posted by Phil | March 30, 2015, 11:56 am
  2. Hi Richard, thanks for your input. It’s unfortunate that you didn’t take your test way back when when it was the old ’round the block’ test. But I’m not quite sure how you were riding until 1995 without being aware of CBT, as it was compulsory even back then. It was introduced in 1990!

    In defence of CBT, it’s training, NOT a test – that’s quite a distinction. It does help new riders get to grips with two wheels and at least avoid some of the newbie mistakes I made. For example, we teach new riders how to brake properly, something I didn’t really learn until a couple of years after I started riding when I got fed up with falling off.

    The two year life of the certificate was seen as a ‘stick’ to encourage people to take the bike test proper, which really isn’t that difficult. And yes, as someone who spent a decade as a basic instructor, the majority of more… senior… riders coming back to do CBT after a long gap DO have bad habits and do learn something. Anyone can develop bad habits, instructors included, but the very fact that we are teaching riding skills constantly to all manner of trainees does tend to keep us out of them, and if we take the job seriously as instructors we should also be aware that we set an example and try to ride accordingly.

    Good instructors can be any age, and it’s worth bearing in mind that if you last rode 20 years ago, someone instructing may be half your age but is also likely to have far more riding experience too! If you go ahead with CBT and then take the test but approach it all with a little bit more of an open mind, I guarantee you WILL learn from it. And then when you’ve done that, you can come and do a post-test training course 🙂

    Posted by Kevin Williams / Survival Skills | March 23, 2015, 9:56 am
  3. Not sure if this thread is still current. I am in the same situation as Phil. Apart from I never bothered with a car licence . I left school in, 1969 and had a bike from then until 1995 when I finished work. I rode bikes every day over that period on a provisional licence. My favourite bikes were my gorgeous honda cb175 and my last one a yamaha dt125r, which I am currently having restored. Now,after all the years of experience I have gained over the years, I have discovered that I won’t be allowed to drive my beloved 125 without passing a ridiculous cbt test and also discover I won’t be able to take the test on my bike. And after 2 years I have to do the same test again. What is going on? What is it in aid of? Who is benefiting from all this crap. Certainly not the motorcyclist. I noticed in the post regarding accidents that all the accident reports were referring to experienced riders riding large machines and most if not all were self inflicted. Usually caused by driving too fast. So in all these cases it seems that the cbt etc. Failed. I also read further up the thread that an experienced “learner” like myself and Phil would benefit by taking the cbt as it would possibly highlight a few bad habits. I’m wondering why instructors don’t have or develop bad habits. I really want to ride my 125 again so guess I will have to bite the bullet at some point but don’t relish the thought of being taught by someone half my age and with a group of teenagers on a strange bike.

    Posted by Richard Green | March 21, 2015, 8:27 pm
  4. The TZR250 was a much more refined version of the old RD range, and although it ‘only’ produced 45hp, it was a genuinely nice-to-ride bike, light and nice handling, with a decent top speed of around 115mph. It didn’t drink too much fuel either, considering it was a two stroke!

    The new CB500 range is bang on the money for the A2 intermediate licence – I’ve tested the CBR500R sporty one here on the blog – there’s a podcast you can listen to if you click on the ‘Podcast’ tab. It seems to be well put-together, handles well enough and although it’s not ripsnortingly fast, after a 125 it’ll seem pretty quick. Fuel efficient too. One thing to watch is that although there are fairly long service intervals, the first service at 500 miles is not free because the valves need adjusting, That extra expense is catching people out. You should be OK with feet on the floor on one of those, although the CB500X is a little higher.

    Posted by Kevin Williams / Survival Skills | February 5, 2014, 10:29 am
  5. Dont know the TRZ250 will have to have a look, kitchen table strip downs and rebuilds are a favourite of mine aswel, the bike is in the kitchen at the moment until we move, the Mrs always says to people when they comment about a bike in the kitchen “well at least its not in the sitting room any more!” she did not quite understand my reasoning for installing patio doors, nothing to do with bringing the outside in just the bike from the shed.
    Been reading up on the newer Honda 400 and 500cc bikes and it seems they have been specially designed with the new Euro regs in mind with reduced torque to the rear wheel so if I can find one low enough to feel comfortable on being only 5 6″ I think I will be ok with A2 level.

    Posted by Phil | February 5, 2014, 9:51 am
  6. Yes, the 400-F was my third bike after a CB125S and a CB250K4. Loved it to bits, put 80,000 miles on it, rebuilt the engine on the kitchen table after the camchain snapped at 20k, went all over the UK and Europe on it and finally lent it to my brother for three days. On the first he crashed it, on the second he had it nicked! Lovely bike and showed you don’t need a 1800cc car engine wedged between two wheels to tour or have fun! Having said, that I like two strokes too – one of my favourite bikes was the TZR250 – a slightly more refined version of the RD… would love one of those in the garage!

    Posted by Kevin Williams / Survival Skills | February 3, 2014, 10:27 am
  7. Was that a Honda CB400-4? one of the only bikes at the time I could put my flat feet on the ground being a short ass lol, It seemed pointless to have a front wheel on those RD animals and the LC version was even worse they spent most of the time on the back wheel, evil flaming things not my cup of tea give me the old Honda 400-4 any day I would happily take the test on one of those.

    Posted by Phil | February 3, 2014, 10:19 am
  8. Good stuff!!

    I remember borrowing an RD250 quite a few years back, and pulling an impromptu wheelie as I accelerated between a pair of taxis on the Tottenham Court Road! Took a bit of getting used to that power delivery after jumping off a 400 Honda 🙂

    Posted by Kevin Williams / Survival Skills | February 1, 2014, 4:34 pm
  9. Cheers Kevin, confidence is fine as you can imagine after 30+ years of being on the road on two wheels, bad habits yes no doubt a few that need ironing out, when I went for a little ride about for my cbt with the instructor behind me we joined a long 40mph slip road to a major 50mph road and as soon as I hit it I took the speed up from 30 to 40+ and he said in my ear piece that he normally has to tell all his students to speed up at that point, no way was I going to try to join traffic moving at 50mph doing 30, the clutch bit does not worry me as I always drive using the clutch as well as my brakes, I thought that was common sense as you need to be in the correct gear to pull away as cleanly as possible should it be clear or a decent gap appears, nothing worse being stuck behind somebody at the lights or at a junction trying to find first gear after pulling up in 3rd or 4th, I hold the MIDAS driving certificate which is mainly for the safe transportation of the elderly and disabled in minibuses/ambulances and there is a lot of training to do with clutch control and gear selection for a safe smooth ride, knowledge which I also use when I am on two wheels.
    I know what you mean about the clutch being less forgiving on twins, I went from a Kawasaki KH100 (loved that bike) to an up jetted Yamaha RD250 in my younger days and needless to say it took a while to get used to the clutch and get the front wheel to stay on the bloody ground, did not keep that thing for very long it was an animal! scared me to near death.
    I have already read that it is better to have the rear brake slightly on the softer side for the test and I thought it was more to do with lock ups and skidding on the controlled stop but if also used on the U turns and prob the figure 8 it makes a lot of sense as you rightly say you can throttle a 125 just above tick over with the clutch out without it stalling with the gearing being so low.
    Even more usefull info cheers.
    Phil

    Posted by Phil | February 1, 2014, 4:16 pm
  10. Good luck with that! The main issues will almost certainly be:

    – bad habits 😉 Everyone falls into ’em but listen to the instructor and you’ll soon be knocked into shape 🙂
    – clutch / throttle control – on a 125, you can let go of the clutch as soon as the bike’s moving because first gear is so low. On the bigger bikes, particularly twins, the engine isn’t so flexible and you’ll have to get into the habit of using the clutch to break the direct connection between the throttle and the back wheel, and using the rear brake to control speed. It’s particularly important when turning tight corners or U turns. If you don’t the bike may stall (which usually results in it toppling over) if the revs drop too low or the bike will surge forward at the slightest tweak of the throttle (which generally results in a grab at the brakes, resulting in a sudden stop and it toppling over). It’s not difficult to master, but people don’t realise just how important it is or worry about wearing out the clutch. Don’t – my Hornet has done countless demos to trainees and has 88,000 miles on the clock and the clutch is still going strong (unlike the cam chain… but that’s another story).

    The other thing that will probably shock you is that you won’t fail for riding at 31mph. Back in the olde dayes a minor speed limit transgression was an instant fail. Now it’s not and the examiner is far more interested in your ability to ‘go with the flow’ and ‘make progress’ at junctions – this means pulling out into gaps is fine, just so long as you remember the basic Highway Code advice – “don’t make another road user change speed or direction to avoid you”. The examiner know’s you’re on a bike, he knows roughly how it’ll accelerate and he wants to see you’re confident to use that acceleration and power where appropriate. Where possible, they’ll get you out on a 70mph dual carriageway, and they’ll expect 70 as well as overtaking trucks with a speed limiter! That’s a shock to some people.

    N Africa is a bit of a minefield (literally in places)… a friend of mine works occasionally as a tour guide and led a ride down to Dakar in Senegal, and there are a couple of roads which were too dangerous to ride alone – their group had to wait for a military escort then travel in convoy with trucks, buses and cars. Scary stuff. I believe it’s got worse since then and the road is now closed totally to foreigners meaning you can’t ride to Dakar now.

    Hope that helps!

    Kevin

    Posted by Kevin Williams / Survival Skills | January 29, 2014, 7:53 am
  11. Hi Kevin, got totally confused looking at the new DAS flow chart (or not so flowing chart)

    “There was a period from 1982 to 1990 (if I remember right) when you had to apply for a provisional motorcycle licence and there was a two year validity for that provisional before it was withdrawn for a year (usually referred to as a one year ban), but this was scrapped ages ago”

    The flow chart for the new three tier system shows the A provisional and A1 full licence for a light motorcycle up to 125cc but as you say that is for 17 year olds and will be subject to a two year CBT so no need for the provisional on my licence.

    “Subsequently (until the last round of changes introduced the three-tiered system we have now), if you took a test on a 125 you got a FULL licence, but with a 33hp restriction for two years, which automatically expired at the end of the period”

    Yes that is what I had planned to do but no chance now!

    Went through all this with the Mrs and she has agreed the best route would prob be the direct access after taking the CBT again! and doing the first bit of direct access training (just to show the trainers confidence and road skills like on my first CBT) on my own fully insured and roadworthy 125cc to save a bit cash, then some limited training on a schools bigger bike to get used to it and the controls (this should not take long as you say) then take the full power mod 1 and 2 test on a schools bigger bike and be done with it.
    This will all be after we move across to the coast as the house is now under offer and we will have some spare cash after the sale
    .
    That 250cc trip across Africa sounds great and just what I would have liked to do when I was younger, always fancied going from Morocco (where I have friends living) to Egypt and the Red sea following the old long gone 1920s train line that used to go that way but was warned by the embassy that some borders would be impossible to cross for diplomatic reasons and Algeria was a total no go for tourists due to killings and hostage taking so decided best not to try it.

    Will keep you posted, should not be long now just waiting for one land search and the house sale will complete.

    Phil

    Posted by Phil | January 28, 2014, 12:48 pm
  12. Hi Phil, as the CBT’s out of date, as you say you might as well take the bike test and get it out of the way all in one hit.

    Personally, I think the benefits of a powerful bike are rather overstated, particularly for solo use. As a courier I never used anything bigger than a GS500 Suzuki (which just topped 50hp) and they took me all over the UK as well as over a large chunk of W Europe loaded up for camping holidays, whilst my brother and a friend rode 26hp 250 Hondas down to Gibraltar, across into N Africa, over the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara eventually to the South African border (they did have then crated up and shipped back from Nairobi, though!!). I do own a 120hp 750 and never ride it! I test-rode a 47hp NC700X 18 months ago and was actually very tempted.

    On the insurance front, you’ll have to phone around but it has been done.

    Not quite sure what you mean by “two year A1 provisional on my licence or is that only for the younsters aged 17is”. As you have a full car licence, it’s automatically a provisional motorcycle licence (subject to CBT) without time limitation which means you can ride anything up to a 125 on L plates.

    There was a period from 1982 to 1990 (if I remember right) when you had to apply for a provisional motorcycle licence and there was a two year validity for that provisional before it was withdrawn for a year (usually referred to as a one year ban), but this was scrapped ages ago.

    Subsequently (until the last round of changes introduced the three-tiered system we have now), if you took a test on a 125 you got a FULL licence, but with a 33hp restriction for two years, which automatically expired at the end of the period.

    Bikes tests have been falling off since the late 90s and the last two years have seen anything up to a 40% drop. It’s unlikely to be ‘death of motorcycling’ because in 5 years time, there will be youngsters getting into biking who’ve never known anything else and it’ll all seem perfectly normal… but you have to say that there will be quite a few who MIGHT have chosen a bike over a car who look at the fact they can pay for car lessons and get a full, unrestricted car licence and then fork out for insurance, or they can pay for a 125 test and only get a licence for that 125. It’s not going to change one of the more serious safety issues, that 17 year olds on bikes are running around with the minimum of training (CBT) and able to ride out on the roads where they are vulnerable!

    Let us know how you get on! Would be interesting to get your perspective on how you get on if you go for the test!

    Cheers

    Kevin

    Posted by Kevin Williams / Survival Skills | January 28, 2014, 7:31 am
  13. Cheers Keven all very interesting, the most power I would ever mount is 300cc max, tried a few 400 and 500cc beasts and they are far more powerfull than my needs, had a Jawa 350 combo once that was OK but due to the nature of the beast very slow lol, I dont do long journeys, never go on motorways and in the UK never take a pillion (I can count on one hand the number of times Ive had a pilion in the UK in the the last 20 years) but abroard is different, we have toured all over on hired machines and the better half sits quite happily on the back reading lol even up in the mountains, well all considered it has to be done but I think it will be hard to get insurance for a friends or even my own larger bike for the test before even passing the test? getting a machine there is not a problem as we have a van with lots of space and a rear MC carrier that fits to the tow bar mount.
    After reading all the new stuff last night I dug out my therory pass and that silly CBT thing and low and behold with jumping back and forth between my 50cc scoot (full grandfather rights) and the 125cc Hardley Davidson my CBT has been out of date since July last year (oops!) Strange that I dont have the two year A1 provisional on my licence or is that only for the younsters aged 17ish?
    So to cap it all off I also need to take that silly thing again (only silly to me at my age with my years of riding experience) not silly to new a young riders just starting off, the cost is mounting again, may aswell book in for CBT/Direct Access and go for the full bang all in one go as I have already passed the theory on 13 July 2011.
    I dont envy any interested youngsters looking into this they will run a mile!
    Phil

    Posted by Phil | January 27, 2014, 1:09 pm
  14. Thanks for the mail, Phil.

    Unfortunately, you’ve discovered the trap the EU and DSA between them have laid for 125 owners, of whatever age – take a test on a 125, get a full licence for… a 125!

    You’re absolutely right, there’s no incentive whatsoever for a 17 year old (or an older rider, for that matter) to take a full test. The 17 year old won’t get access to a bigger bike so the only possible plus is that it might offer a couple of years no-claims discount on the insurance when the rider moves up to the intermediate class. Whether that would outweigh the cost of taking the two part test in the first place has to be unlikely. And of course, if you happen to be a more mature rider, and fancy moving up to even something very moderate like a 250, you’re still stuck with the same rules which preclude taking the test on a 125 and having to go via a training school as you say.

    We should point out that as far as we know, there’s no absolute requirement to go out on the test on a training school machine or even to get trained by a training school before testing. There’s nothing to stop anyone buying a bigger bike, getting it insured for themselves even though they don’t hold a full licence for that machine (it can be done), have someone else ride the bike to the test centre for them, where they attach L plates and take their test on it.

    The only thing that you cannot do is ride that machine on a public road to practice before the test, but quite frankly, if you’re thinking of stepping up from something like a CBR125R to a CBR250/300R or a 125 custom to a 250 custom, then it’s unlikely you’d need a lot of practice or training to master it.

    The EU did offer member governments the option of training and assessment by a training school to make the jump from the full 125 licence up to the intermediate licence, and naturally the training industry was very keen on that particular option – after all, CBT creates a precedent whereby a DSA-certificated instructor assesses a candidate and validates the licence, but the DfT decided to give the job to the DSA via a complete retest, which is why you’re looking at taking both Module One (the off-road exercises) and Module Two (the on-road practical test) again to move up to the intermediate. We were promised that the test or training approaches approach would be reviewed once the system was in place, but as far as I know, all that’s been heard since that promise has been silence.

    At least you do have the advantage of mature years to be able to take a single test and get whatever licence you want – you don’t have to take a 125 test at all, so at least that would save some cash. It’s up to you whether you take the intermediate test, which would give you a full licence to ride a machine with a power output up to 35kW (47hp) or go for the full, unrestricted licence. If you do take a 125 test, you don’t have to wait two years – that’s only for 17 year olds, because they can’t take the intermediate test until they are 19.

    One thing I will say in defence of Direct Access is that you will almost certainly learn new tricks and tips, however many years you’ve been riding. Virtually everyone I ever taught at DAS level admitted after the course that they’d learned a lot – and enjoyed it!

    Good luck with whatever route you choose!

    Posted by Kevin Williams / Survival Skills | January 27, 2014, 10:18 am
  15. Buga! Ive just read all the new EU MC testing and MC EU laws and regs and I say again buga, always used a 50cc geared ped or auto scooter for work for god knows how many years without Ls as I am an old fart with grandfather rights on my car licence, a couple of years ago for a decent discount on my ins I took the cbt thing at the age of 50! yes they laughed lol! we went round the block, stopped for a smoke and then back to the cabin for a cupa and he gave me the certificate and said for gods sake take the direct access, I laughed and said well mabey one day? in my younger days when 250cc was the L limit I had everything from a BSA C15, CB250, RD250 to those Kawasaki KH speed machines so I thought lets go back to gears and got myself a tasty not so small 125cc (one of those Daelim VL125 hardley a davidson from korea) second hand £400, looks nice with all the extras fitted, cruises at 70 no problem, realy cheap to run and god dam comfortable to ride, so time to take my test and I dont mind being restricted for a couple of years but hold on! whats happend here? its all changed again!
    so on this 125cc I can only do modules 1 and 2 for 125cc only and after 2 years pay through the nose again and hire a bigger bike (dont like this Im also a tight old fart lol) a 350 or 400cc to take the next level? cant understand this crap it seems that the EU wants all bikers from now on to pay through the nose to get a full bike licence when I can go abroard to greece/malta/cyprus and hire a 250cc without any questions asked and run about for a fortnight with our lass on the back (we do this every year and have done for 20 years) I think the EU is taking the urine and need to sort out their own problems first like a whole family of four on one scooter going shoping without helmets and all wearing flipflops! dam disgracefull that we have to change before they even enforce any sort of rules or laws.
    rant over counting my pennies for my full 125cc licence (or full direct access) if I can afford the hire from the training centre.
    ride safe guys and always wear reflective flipflops lol

    Posted by Phil | January 27, 2014, 2:27 am
  16. I was thinking of buying a bike, but now I am not sure I will bother, seems the whole spirit of biking is being killed off. The whole appeal of a bike is being able to work on it myself, customize it, now that seems dead in the water.

    Once they get all these rules in place they will swiftly move onto imposing the same for push bikes, and every other facet of your life, the desk-bound pencil pushers deem risky. France is looking the worst, what is their motto, ‘Liberty, Freedom,…’ lol. Australia has gone the same way, it used to be a nation of ‘hard work, common sense’ now you need a rule book just to leave your front door.

    Posted by Deedy | February 21, 2013, 3:15 pm
  17. Last Sunday, while driving a sky blue (her choice!) E class Mercedes with day running lights, I came about as close to an accident as it’s possible to get without actually being in one. Being a motorcyclist, I am wary at junctions and so as I approached I keep wide so we all see each other at the cross roads, and WAY too close, a Motorcycle pulled out on me.

    Moderate brakes and full horn in that order (yea, I know). So now we have a big sky blue Mercedes on a clear day with day running lights making enough noise to wake the dead. To my horror and disbelief, the car behind the bike also went to go across the cross roads. Three things saved her life. Me taking it easy in the first place, the silly motorcyclist for having slowed me further, me for already having my foot on some pretty phenomenal brakes.

    If somebody can pull out on a car in those circumstances, what chance do we have on our bikes? Having had many years of happy motorcycling, that incident has spelled the end of my motorcycling before my run of IAM influenced luck runs out. If anybody is in the market for a mint K1300GT…..

    And a note about ABS…Having been involved in testing this some years back with a motorcycle magazine. Anybody who thinks they can out brake a modern ABS equipped bike in an emergency on an untested road surface is almost certainly fooling only themselves. Yes, there will always be those that argue against such technology, but there are also people who will argue against the use of seat belts, and they are wrong too.

    Posted by Mike | August 25, 2012, 10:56 am
  18. Virtually the first thing my driving instructor taught me was the Three C’s… care, courtesy, consideration. Still worth remembering…

    Posted by Kevin Williams / Survival Skills | July 22, 2012, 10:39 pm
  19. is there any way of convincing the powers that be that to educate is the anwser, not legislate, bikers can be as much to blame for the situations they find them selves in as the other road users who may have put them there. some should heed mark daniels 6 rules. i was taught them 37 years ago by my father and brother, they have served me well and truely over that time and 750,000 plus bike miles.i have had the pleasure of passing them on to my son and daughter so hopefully they will enjoy riding as much as i,and stay safe. i also have no issues with telling other bikers if i see them do somthing stupid or reckless, it does the overall reputation of riders in the eyes of the general public no good what so ever. the human element is also an issue with other road users, they dont see us as human, full face helmet, full armoured leathers, complete with boots and gloves, all that covering to protect what ????. educate , that is the way forward, we know all that gear is to protect us, but is gives no indcation to the general public that there is a human inside all that armour.
    all parties need to be educated, any blame is equal , we could start with common curtiousy and a little caring. the old rules were not broken so they dont need to be fixed. get that message over and our way of life can be preserved for my grand children if they also pick our life style. forget the stats. and all the bickering they cause, pointless time waisting. keep it simple and EDUCATE all.

    Posted by jim. | July 22, 2012, 7:09 pm
  20. I’ve been riding since 1976, have been a full time bike instructor for over 10 years and worked for the DSA as a bike examiner. I’ve never worried too much about legislation before, but i honestly think that the 3rd directive will kill off most training schools, including mine. As for staying alive, I have 6 rules. 1. Never break speed limits. 2. Always slow down approaching corners. 3. Never overtake in a stupid place. 4. Don’t tailgate. 5. Even within speed limits, dont use inappropriate speed. 6. PAY ATTENTION.

    Posted by Mark Daniels | July 20, 2012, 7:00 am
  21. I’m not in favour of safety aids being made compulory, but I would suggest it’s a bit unfair to pin an incident like this directly on the ABS.

    Some years back I had a similar experience on a non-ABS bike when I turned a corner on a local lane the morning after a violent thunderstorm to find the local large house’s gravel drive had washed down the road overnight. I managed to keep the bike upright, but with a 4×4 coming the other way I had just as many problems stopping as the rider you mentioned seems to have had. There’s a limit to what ABS can achieve but I think it highly unlikely it made matters worse.

    Having two similar machines, one with and one without ABS, I can honestly say it doesn’t change the way I ride and e-stop practice aside, I’ve only actually activated the ABS (in the rear) once in 10k miles… but thinking back to my younger days I recall a number of crashes directly related to locking wheels at one end or the other which ABS would have almost certainly prevented, saving me both some expensive bike repairs and a broken arm!

    Posted by Kevin Williams / Survival Skills | February 18, 2012, 12:18 pm
  22. Just as a thought, we chose to buy a bike which came with the option of NO ABS. We’d never have a bike with ABS. A motorcyclist local to us was aproaching a roundabout but as he slowed down, he hit a patch of gravel in the center of the road, his ABS kicked in and due to the loss of traction he had no brakes and sailed across the roundabout, narrowly missing cars, and ended in a heap in the trees at the center. No one knew he was there as the trees hid him. Having worked on many bikes and ridden for years, ABS can be very dangerous, the option not to have it is valuable.

    Posted by mitch | February 18, 2012, 11:53 am
  23. Too many people killed on motorcycles, time to restrict I fear. They should all have ABS as standard and the power output should be capped at 190 bhp. Riding without protective clothing should be banned and riding with a pillion aged under 16 made a crime punishable with up to 14 months in prison.

    Posted by Zioman Honderson | January 3, 2012, 12:26 am
  24. I love this one. Just want to put my two penneth in. but first a bit of my history so others know where i am coming from. Started riding off road when i was 13 yrs of age and that was 1962 then have riden since then till now and i hope for many more years, Fell off bike about half a dozen times due to my own mistakes [ none at fast speed, mainly round town, had a BSA with a badly maintained [ by my ] rear swinging arm that used to move around a lot, particularly on corners. Been onto and over a car once when it pulled out one wet and windy, leafy night, not seeing me but seeing the bus coming the other way, stopped for it and filled my carriageway.

    That accident cost me my job as a police officer the following year, but that was good news as i didnt like the way things were going and the new method of firebrigade policing.

    Back to now and just want to mention two things. the first. is that 25% of drivers at junctions look to the left first and if all is clear start moving forward before looking towards the obvious danger [ us] now i can understand if the drivers were foreigners and taught that but many are not. watch yourself next time u are at a junction and clock where u look first prepared to be suprised….. I was. second] we are all informed to look the driver in the eye and then u know u have been seen…….NOT TRUE. Do not believe for one minute that u have been seen, and ride ac cordingly.

    I blamed the driver oif the car for my demise and injuries [ tho not serious] but looking back at it, when i saw him driving out of the junction on my left i had room enough to stop, but mistakingly considering his speed ,it was in my opinion such that he would shoot straight accross the junction and therefore be of little danger to me i only slowed by use of throttle and covered the brakes.
    At the same time he saw the bus looming at him and braked hard. thats when he came to a stop directly in front of me and then braked hard. but unable tyo miss himi . So in contributed to the accident.

    Posted by bob craven | December 13, 2011, 1:15 pm
  25. I’ll get the activities each side of the border right in a minute!

    Of course “no plans” isn’t the same as “under consideration”, even if the possibility of such plans is remote, as seems the case at the moment. One danger I see of the piecemeal nature of the adoption of various methods by independent EU states is that eventually ‘harmonisation’ will be needed.

    Posted by Kevin Williams / Survival Skills | October 15, 2011, 8:27 pm
  26. Hi Kevin

    No problem on the confusion although it is the RSA in Southern Ireland that are handing out the vests.

    In Northern Ireland our authorities the Department of the Environment (DOE), Road Safety Branch have said: “There are no plans (or inklings of plans) to introduce a mandatory hi-viz requirement for motorcyclists in Northern Ireland”.

    While the DfT in GB have stated, “The Government has no plans to make Hi Viz/Day Glo jackets/vests and protective clothing for motorcyclists compulsory.”

    We had to ask for their position on Hi-Viz because related to the title of this post – New anti-motorcycle legislation sweeps Europe – the rhetoric on social networks was that this was part of the legislation.

    Your last paragraph above says it all and I couldnt agree more.

    If you remember when I and Elaine at Right To Ride where with MAG the – How Close Is To Close – document was published http://www.network.mag-uk.org/smidsy/How%20Close%20is%20Too%20Close.pdf which had the purpose is to provide a clearer understanding of this phenomenon and recommendations for improved car driver training as well as solutions identified as avoidance and evasion techniques for motorcycle trainers.

    Posted by Trevor Baird | October 15, 2011, 8:10 pm
  27. First of all, apologies for the Ulster/N Ireland confusion…

    I think we can dice the matter ever finer but clearly handing out hi-vis vests isn’t working in N Ireland and hasn’t worked anywhere in the world that I’ve been able to see. From the time before conspicuity aids and DRLs were used to the most recent studies crashes are still happening where the root cause is “looked but did not see”.

    The reasons drivers “look but don’t see” are down to a complex series of issues, to do with how the eye works, psychology and faulty search strategies.

    Whilst the latter might be addressed by better training, there’s an argument that experienced drivers seem to be just as likely to fall into the trap of failing to see bikes, suggesting that whatever the faults in basic training, it’s as much post-test experience which controls the way drivers search for bikes.

    We also need to consider the failure rate of the search pattern. If every driver got it wrong that frequently, there wouldn’t be many bikers left, period! The vast majority of drivers get it right, the vast majority of the time, and there’s no threat of collision.

    In other words, though “looked but did not see” accidents figure highly in the statistics, many many MANY more times the same manoeuvre is carried out perfectly safely.

    Even when they get it partly wrong, by far and away the most common result is a near miss. The serious accidents that the rider really can’t avoid (as opposed to failed to avoid) are pretty rare – most of us will go through our riding career without actually being involved in such an accident, whatever the strident claims of the press on the matter.

    So, I really do believe that the alternative solution of teaching riders WHY search patterns fail and drivers make mistakes, and teaching them the correct strategies to avoid these rare errors, is more likely to have a beneficial effect for far less effort on accidents that involve a right of way violation. I think it’s the correct way forward.

    Posted by Kevin Williams / Survival Skills | October 15, 2011, 6:02 pm
  28. Kevin said: “…….nor is making the rider more visible…..” The RSA (Road Safety Authority) in Ireland are thinking the opposite http://www.rsa.ie/en/RSA/Vehicles-and-Legislation/Vehicle-Standards/Motorcycles/ scroll down the page.

    In relation to the rest of the motorcycling population the RSA has provided tens of thousands of high visibility jackets free of charge to motorcyclists, over the last number of years.

    As part of its Motorcycle Safety Strategy 2010 to 2014the RSA intends to seek the introduction of mandatory wearing of hi-vis material by all motorcyclists, in 2014. This will be subject to consultation with motorcyclists and industry on the most appropriate type of hi-vis material and possible solutions.

    Riders in Ireland and MAG Ireland are against this http://www.magireland.org

    Kevin said: “……nor is trying to educate the driver to “think bike” – those campaigns have been running since the ’60s and bikers are still having the same accidents.”

    Perhaps the campaigns have not got at the heart of the issue.

    In Northern Ireland there was a recent consultation on – Proposed Changes to the Learner and Restricted Driver Schemes and on Graduated Driver Licensing.

    The minister at the time said, “The current training and testing regime is not fit for purpose. Currently we put too much emphasis on testing ability to control a vehicle and perform a range of basic manoeuvres. Not enough attention is paid to the motivations, attitudes and behaviours we know are linked to an increased risk of being involved in a collision.”

    However taking this one step further, the NI government has recently introduced Compulsory Basic Training for motorcyclists therefore a similar model could be designed for novice car drivers. This would allow the novice driver to have professional instruction, a CBT test and then the opportunity to continue practicing under supervision until they are confident enough to pass their driving exam.

    At Right To Ride we said :

    “Equally, as with the CBT, the novice driver would keep a log book while being instructed by a professional instructor to ensure that he/she has fulfilled the requirements of the course prior to doing the test.
    Any revision of the practical driving test, especially the use of workbooks, must include a “theoretical” introduction for learner drivers to be aware of and thus actively look out for other road users especially motorcyclists and other vulnerable road users such as cyclists.

    Learner drivers should be instructed and taught how to interact not only with the road but with other road users, in our specific case motorcycles (Motorcycles – Scooters – Mopeds), which then asks the question of what is actually being taught to Learner drivers?”

    Kevin says: “However, it seems odd that Ulster has such high fatality rates where the car driver was at fault. That’s certainly at odds with virtually every other study I’ve looked at where a significant proportion of FATAL accidents occur without other vehicles being involved. I’d be interested to know if a significant proportion of those fatal accidents have happened at junctions on national speed limit roads, where the driver of the other vehicle may be TECHNICALLY at fault, but the motorcyclist has made no allowance for an emerging car and the possibility of a conflict.”

    http://www.righttoride.co.uk/virtuallibrary/ridersafety/final_motorcycle_report_28_1_10_received_19_feb_2010.pdf

    The stats presented don’t break it down that far however in general terms:

    Page 32: The chart illustrates that the 45% of KSI collisions occurred on roads with a 30mph speed limit in place, and 44% on roads with a 60mph speed limit in place. Almost 8% happened within a 40mph speed limit. Further analysis shows that 48% of KSI Single Vehicle Collisions occur on roads with a 60 mph speed limit.

    Page 34: The chart shows that the biggest proportion of KSI collisions (65%) over the 10-Year period happened not at or within 20 meters of a junction followed by 16% at a T-junction. 7% of KSI collisions occurred at a roundabout and 4% at a private drive/entrance.

    Of those collisions occurring at T-junctions, more than 45% occurred at a T – junction with give way signs way signs or markings, followed by 36% at ‘uncontrolled’ junctions, and almost 13% at junctions with a stop sign.

    Regarding Ulster, just to correct: Ulster is composed of nine counties. Six of these make up Northern Ireland: Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone. Three counties are in the Republic of Ireland: Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan.

    We are talking about Northern Ireland.

    Posted by Trevor Baird | October 15, 2011, 3:02 pm
  29. I understand the “dehumanising” issue – that’s what’s driven the series of rider awareness videos that show a person under the bike gear. It’s obviously a very complex psychological phenomenum but it’s almost certainly not unrelated to the fact that many drivers now never ride a bike – back in the 50s and into the 60s a motorcycle was a common means of utilitarian transport and arguably many drivers had their first experience of the road on one, or had a family member who used one.

    With regard to accident stats, the proportion of accidents that occur where there is a right of way violation isn’t news. Harry Hurt reported it in 1970 and the MAIDS study thirty years later found no significant change. Blaming the driver clearly isn’t the solution, nor is making the rider more visible, nor is trying to educate the driver to “think bike” – those campaigns have been running since the ’60s and bikers are still having the same accidents.

    It seems to me that educating the rider to understand that drivers make mistakes and to adjust their riding to anticipate such mistakes is in fact the way forward. After all, a right of way violation still doesn’t mean there WILL be an accident – unless the rider does nothing about the situation developing ahead of them.

    However, it seems odd that Ulster has such high fatality rates where the car driver was at fault. That’s certainly at odds with virtually every other study I’ve looked at where a significant proportion of FATAL accidents occur without other vehicles being involved. I’d be interested to know if a significant proportion of those fatal accidents have happened at junctions on national speed limit roads, where the driver of the other vehicle may be TECHNICALLY at fault, but the motorcyclist has made no allowance for an emerging car and the possibility of a conflict.

    You may remember John Moss’s study of accidents in Cheshire which really highlighted the issue of riders losing control on bends. I also reported this particular review of accidents published on the Durham Bikewise site (yes, it’s limited, ‘only’ six fatalities) but the circumstances are informative.

    Tragically 29 people lost their lives on the roads of County Durham and Darlington in 2007 of those six were riding their motorcycle when they died.

    Below is a brief description of how the fatal accidents have occurred.

    1. This collision took place in the Wolsingham area in the evening following an afternoon ride-out. An experience rider miss judged a right hand bend where he has hit the nearside curb and then collided with a metal rail fence. The rider was then thrown over the top of the fencing and died as a result of his injuries. No other vehicles were involved.
    2. Again following a ride-out, but this time in the Newton Aycliffe area an experienced motorcyclist has misjudged his approach to a roundabout and collided with the signage. He died as a result of his injuries. No other vehicles were involved.
    3. This accident happened at approximately 9.30pm in the Consett area here the rider has failed to negotiate a slight right hand bend in the road hitting the kerb and colliding with the roadside fencing. He died as a result of his injuries. No other vehicles were involved.
    4. Whilst completing an over take on the A177 dual carriageway near Sedgefield, for an unknown reason the rider of a CB400 has lost control of the motorcycle whilst overtaking a vehicle. The bike has left the carriageway to the offside throwing the rider from his machine and resulting in fatal injuries.
    5. A tragic set of circumstances where a rider with over 50 years of experience on an afternoon ride-out has failed to negotiate a left hand bend at Burnhope. He has then collided with the corner of a stone built wall and died from his injuries. No other vehicles were involved.
    6. This accident has happened when the motorcyclist has been overtaking a line of traffic on approach to a junction on the right. One of the vehicles in the line was turning right into this junction. The rider has then braked heavily in response to this, lost control and collided with oncoming vehicles. He died as a result of his injuries.

    Three bends, two overtakes, and three of the accidents occurred during or after ride outs.

    Posted by Kevin Williams / Survival Skills | October 15, 2011, 10:08 am
  30. Hi Kevin

    In this document Motorcycle casualties in NI Statistical Analysis, Causes and Influencing Factors
    1st December 2009 – it is 4mb in size.

    http://www.righttoride.co.uk/virtuallibrary/ridersafety/final_motorcycle_report_28_1_10_received_19_feb_2010.pdf

    Page 42

    Casualty Responsibility:

    Overall analysis illustrates that more than 68% of motorcyclist casualties were not responsible for the collision in which they were involved (57% in the case of KSI’s).

    When you say UK, I assume that you mean England or perhaps Scotland and Wales (Great Britain) as these are what is contained in DfT stats.

    Northern Ireland stats are seperate – not in GB stats.

    However the video was made in response to the stats and to to tackle the level of dehumanisation of motorcyclists.

    Especially this would be regarding, as you say, “Just when we’re finally beginning to get bikers to take responsibility for accidents (whoever is TECHNICALLY at fault) I’m not sure that sending the message that “drivers kill bikers” is any advance on the erroneous “blind Volvo drivers kill bikers’ message of the 80′s!”

    Page 49 of the document footnote 18 – Research carried out by Millward Brown Ulster for DOENI in January 2008, ‘Attitudes Towards Motorcyclists Among Drivers’, suggested that the visual image of the ‘bike and biker’ has served to dehumanise them to such an extent that car drivers in many cases see them as ‘Phantoms of the Road, thereby removing sympathy for their plight’. The research suggested that motorcyclists may have been placed to the back of many car driver’s minds and there is a need for normalisation of the motorcyclist
    using humanising methodologies. This research led to the ‘Underneath’ Campaign commissioned and
    screened by DOENI in May 2009.

    The ad should not be taken completely out of context, as there are other factors that road safety is dealing with here, as you suggest rural roads.

    At Ride It Right http://www.rideitright.org/ we have a campaign “See Us” http://www.rideitright.org/?page_id=116 which has a message mainly for other road users but also for motorcyclists.

    Posted by Trevor Baird | October 14, 2011, 7:27 pm
  31. Hmm. Would like to see the evidence for that ‘more than 50%’ claim. In the UK, most fatalities are on the open road, many of which are on bends with no other vehicles involved. Just when we’re finally beginning to get bikers to take responsibility for accidents (whoever is TECHNICALLY at fault) I’m not sure that sending the message that “drivers kill bikers” is any advance on the erroneous “blind Volvo drivers kill bikers’ message of the 80’s!

    Posted by Kevin Williams / Survival Skills | October 14, 2011, 4:14 pm
  32. Des Farrell said, “The RSA here in Ireland has recently run a very good TV ad which points out “more than half of all Motorcycle fatalities are caused by DRIVERS”. ”

    This one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hpPrF_ibKw&feature=player_embedded

    Posted by Trevor Baird | October 14, 2011, 12:54 pm
  33. There will always be opportunist politicians ready to exploit what they see as popular support for any move to impose restrictions on minority groups that others don’t understand or don’t want to coexist with, but generally they are seen for what they are and their only ammunition is rhetoric.

    The really dangerous opposition are the intelligent and informed people like doctors who only wish to “protect us from ourselves”. To deal with these people I think it’s important that we don’t get drawn into a ghetto mentality.

    Posted by Kevin Williams / Survival Skills | October 1, 2011, 7:29 am
  34. I believe the yanks had a hand in defeating Hitler’s armies as well. Fortunately we aren’t having to deal with the EU but we’re fighting for our lifestyle here as well every time an election pops up of someone in D.C. decides he’ll pick out motorcyclists to abuse and restrict. We’re a minority. We’ll always be a minority. Minorities are easy picking for the less well informed in government. All we can do is try to make it less easy for them whether it’s in the EU and the UK or in the US.

    Posted by Lyn Eckstein | September 30, 2011, 11:54 pm
  35. Ive beebn riding motorcycles off road at ten,on the road at 16, and every year since, Im 57. From 1969 to 1977 Trumphs and bsa ,from 1977 to 2011 Harley Davidsons.
    Ive had 1 accident. Ive always done my own repairs and servicing. ive built custom bikes,It seems to me Ive had the best years of motorcycling, its been a way of life for me,now europe is telling me I wont beable to do all these things anymore as Ive been doing them. I think we should get the hell out of europe as soon as possible they are even messing up truck driving,they are making it just a job rather than a way of life.
    We should all remember we re English,Scottish,welsh and Cornish.Not comunists,facists and dictators.
    It thanks to us Hitler didnt win ww2 and they should remember that.

    Posted by Paul | September 27, 2011, 8:15 pm
  36. The trouble with any bureaucracy is that once created, it has to justify its existance – hence trivial regulations about the straightness of cucumbers and arguments over the meat content of English sausages. It’s frustrating that so many of the proposals for motorcycling seem to be driven by a very small road safety lobby who really would like to see motorcycles banned altogether because of the alleged cost of casualties.

    Now the bad news. We’ve been ‘educating’ drivers about bikes since as long as I can remember. Remember the original ‘Think Bike’ TV adverts from the 60s and 70s? The original ad was re-made in 1978 with football pundit Jimmy Hill as presenter, and then remade again in 2006 or 2007. The roads in popular biking areas are littered with signs telling drivers to look out for bikes. So I really don’t think that the public are unaware of bikes!

    Unfortunately, the accidents continue to happen despite the awareness campaigns and despite day riding lights and conspicuity aids – if either worked you’d see a reduction in motorcycle collisions at junctions. The answer is that these strategies are demonstrably ineffective because there are far more subtle reasons why drivers don’t see bikes which I’ve explored at some length elsewhere.

    So as I’ve said before, we have to look beyond the obvious and work out why there are still collisions between bikes and cars at junctions, where the driver is usually the one to get it wrong. And however much we’d like to blame the car driver, riders MUST understand that it takes two to tangle – there are always two parties involved in a collision – one to create the circumstances and the second to ride into it. If safety measures DON’T reduce accidents, then the onus really is back on the rider to understand how these accidents happen and to know first of all how to avoid them wherever possible and secondly how to get out of trouble when they find themselves in it.

    Whilst it IS important to keep drivers aware of motorcyclists, shifting responsibility entirely onto the shoulders of the car driver simply doesn’t work.

    Posted by Kevin Williams / Survival Skills | September 27, 2011, 9:08 am
  37. As someone who has been a motorcyclist since the late ’70s, I am fed up that once again our fraternity is under attack by EU eurocrats who sit all day behind a desk while they drive their subsidised Mercs to and from “work”. The RSA here in Ireland has recently run a very good TV ad which points out “more than half of all Motorcycle fatalities are caused by DRIVERS”. It’s time to start educating drivers about awareness of motorcycle road users. We play our part to make ourselves as visible to other road users by driving with headlights on in daylight hours and wearing reflective and protective clothing, yet still we seem to be invisible to car/van/4×4 drivers. It is because of the shortcomings of these drivers that the Motorcycle Test now has an obligitary “swerve maneuvure” to reduce accidents when drivers pull out suddenly at junctions. Time to get off our case and increase efforts in the 4+ wheels categories!

    Posted by Des Farrell | September 26, 2011, 11:55 pm
  38. bollox to the eu leave biking alone

    Posted by storme | September 25, 2011, 9:01 pm
  39. I do quite a lot of riding and driving in France and I can’t say I’d particulary noticed faulty headlights as a particular problem, nor can I honestly say that they are bad at hogging the lane – if anything, they’re far more likely to move aside than the local school run mums in their 4x4s!

    Posted by Kevin Williams / Survival Skills | August 4, 2011, 8:58 pm
  40. Driving to Pau (30km) early one morning in the dark we counted 27 vehicles with one headlight out and we noticed that this is often the case and the Police don’t seemed to be concerned with these faults, also French have a bad habitt driving with the off side wheels on the white line and often on the bends they will have the wheels over the white line leaving you just a third of the road. I was told wing/Door mirrors are not covered by the insurance and I can see why. Why not sort out the old rules before bringing the new.
    In France Insurance and M.O.T are displayed on the screen which is a good idea;

    Posted by Michael Johnson | August 4, 2011, 8:55 pm
  41. Yep. I’m quite happy to admit I’ve got speed camera data in my own GPS units. I’ve downloaded it and activated it myself, but many automotive GPS units come with the data preinstalled in the UK (they’re not slow to spot a ‘subscription’ money-spinning opportunity!)

    I assume however that in France new GPS units will have to be supplied by manufacturers MINUS that data, so if it’s found on your iPhone/GPS/in-car unit, it’ll be obvious you’ve downloaded it and installed it yourself, and therefore leave yourself open to prosecution.

    Whether the French ever get round to applying the letter of the law when they stop someone, I don’t know – I’ve only been stopped in France twice, once for a random breathtest on the way back from Le Mans after the 24 hour race, and once when my dipped beam had blown and that was years ago. If anyone knows (ie been stopped for speeding and had their GPS confiscated!), I’ll be interested to hear!

    Nevertheless, the main point of the article is that far from giving everyone in the EU a level playing field that crosses borders, there are a host of laws which apply in one country and not in others.

    Posted by Kevin Williams / Survival Skills | August 4, 2011, 10:30 am
  42. But surely, all GPS units including Tom Toms & modern cell phones such as iphone & android phones, are capable of storing locations of fixed speed cameras. Is this right or am I being a numpty. If I am right, then it means the French cops can seize just about every GPS unit and cell phone out there, including those fitted as standard equipment in cars. Surely even the French can’t be that stupid.

    Posted by Kevin Morley | August 4, 2011, 10:22 am
  43. Thanks Trevor. It just shows how difficult it is to keep on top of all these variations from country to country.

    Posted by Kevin Williams / Survival Skills | July 11, 2011, 9:42 pm
  44. Hi

    You say, “Compulsory hi-vis in Ireland. The law was introduced a couple of years ago, but after a softly-softly period, it’s apparently been announced that it’s now to be strictly enforced.”

    However to be correct, High-viz tabards are compulsory only for Learners … and must have an “L” plate on them, front and rear.”

    There was a proposal from the RSA (Road Safety Authority) in 2009 that both rider and pillion would have to wear a full sleeved “Giller” style jacket but it is still that a proposal.

    I know MAG Ireland and ourselves at Right To Ride in Northern Ireland are keeping at eye on this.

    Posted by Trevor Baird | July 11, 2011, 7:13 am
  45. LEAVE THE EU – THE ONLY ANSWER !!

    Posted by Robert | June 24, 2011, 12:15 pm
  46. Funny that the US is now the place to have some fun with the most freedom, at least where motorcycling is concerned. No GPS ban, no tiered licensing schemes, no horsepower limit, no huge license plates, no old-bike bans from city centers, no mandatory ugly vests and we’re even getting rid of some speed cameras (Phoenix, AZ just ended their program and removed dozens of speed cameras).

    Posted by Stiles | June 24, 2011, 4:08 am
  47. Tosh tosh Tosh. The only idiots to obey to any of these rules would be the damn english parliaments and the monkeys we call the police.

    Posted by cranker v2 | June 22, 2011, 7:08 pm
  48. I wonder how the Germans will react with their strong manufacturing base (both in machines and after market parts and modifications).

    The German system permits mods so long as they are approved and certified. (ABE)

    Posted by nikos | June 21, 2011, 11:21 am

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