Author Topic: Motorcycling - What's "Coming" From Your Local Bureacrat; Opinions? Please  (Read 2219 times)

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Offline VinceS

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An extract from the UK about goings on in Europe. If they get traction there is nothing surer than that they will get scrutinised for local use! Unsurprisingly the locals there are jacking up about the stupidity of much of this stuff, I wish them well!

25th Sept -Action Now! EU Hands Off Biking!

A raft of issues emanating from Europe will have a profound effect on riders and the motorcycle industry generally. We must stand up and be heard. Some of these are driven by the EU Commission, like the new Type Approval and Market Surveillance Regulation that will see the introduction of compulsory ABS, the sealing of powertrains from the airbox, through the engine to the final drive (including the diameter and aspect ratio of the rear tyre), restrictions on the aftermarket industry, possible roadside checks by police or other government agencies to inspect emissions, detect owner 'tuning' and more.

There's EU-funded development of electronics to control and govern speeds through warning systems or, ultimately, actual throttle control.

Ireland plans compulsory, full sleeve day-glo jackets for riders and pillions, France is debating compulsory reflective/day-glo clothing. Will UK insurance companies start saying that because we weren't dressed in day-glo it's our own fault that an inattentive driver drove into us? MAG says the onus should not be on the victim.

France also wants to ban bikes over 7 years old from urban areas for environmental reasons! Their congestion is already terrible and putting more riders into cars that pollute terribly when they are stationary, is bonkers.
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Offline VinceS

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You would see from the last two paras of the recent newsletter here that things seem to be on the up, RTA speaking. While there is a lot of water yet to flow under the bridge it was a good start. I figured I should publish the documents around which these discussions were formed and invite any more input people would care to give:
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Offline VinceS

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This is pretty impressive: (warning, some nudity!)

France completely paralysed by almost 100,000 bikers !

France has today seen the largest motorcycle protest ever seen before with almost 100,000 bikers paralysing the whole nation, from north to south and west to east. A real slap in the face of Claude Guéant, French interior minister, who has been trying to push through a series of ridiculous proposals designed to treat bikers like cash cows when, let’s recognise it, bikers are willing to use a mode of transport that guarantees zero congestion, considerably reduces pollution and offers a more affordable solution to those facing financial difficulties. 100,000 bikers paralysing the whole nation, what a massive humiliation for the French government and its interior minister, Claude Guéant.

Edit: A bit if video showing the FFMC rally in a few places around France: ; Great shots of Paris, and these folk sure know how to do a good protest!

Edit Again: Here are words, pix and a video from Normandy region, some fascinating detail there ...
« Last Edit: 29 Jun 2011, 06:55 PM by VinceS »
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Offline VinceS

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I felt it was time to send out a "general advice" about some of what is going on in the greater sphere of motorcycling, there are interesting times ahead. Some good, some not so, and some just plain pointless (eg day-glo sleeves / jackets). This message is just an info bulletin, not asking for action other than "be informed" and provide any input you may care to. What the "goings on" are fundamentally generating is the need for motorcyclist lobbying to get a lot more organised, which fortunately has had some decent progress made on of late. Really, this started with the CTP rally last year - the outcomes of which are still "cooking" but the signs are good we will see improvement in CTP pricing in due course, plus cheap rego for bush bashers via "recreational registration". 8)

Obviously the principle lobby group for motorcyclists in NSW is the MCC NSW and there is a lot of recent history about what is and has been going on here: Its worth a read, particularly the most recent posts about what the new Minister is doing - it takes a couple of reads but this is good news! However, the end of this message is a look at what might be "on the slab" and an appeal for your input, so please give me some (a reply to this "announce" email will work). The MCC itself has realised it needs to re-invent itself and is in the process of doing so. A sensible alliance has been forged with Motorcycling NSW (not to be confused with Motorcycling Australia who are a very different body) with the intention of adding strength, uniformity and funding to the message. This is a transitory process and is still underway, but it looks like a good thing to me.

Earlier on this year the MCC held a couple of strategy meetings that the RTA didn't attend but now wish they did, the details are in the above link. So in two weeks time the RTA are arranging to hold their own and I will attend so want your opinions please. From the earlier meetings a draft strategy has been formulated, in my opinion it has a way to go yet and I haven't published it, however I am realising that is an error so will go add it to the above link. The following is the "uncut" delegates' invite from MCC President plus some useful details of how the politics sit. I will need to remove the opinionated info from this on the web but figure it is OK to circulate to fellow motorcyclists:

For a while now, it has been proposed to have a 3rd Forum on motorcycle safety in conjunction with the RTA.

The RTA are now starting to plan this with Saturday 2nd July from 9am to 1pm at Ryde Ex-Services as the proposed date and location.

The first session will be a number of presentations by the RTA as well as one by Rob Colligan on the MCC's Motorcycling Strategy.
The workshop will then be split into a number of discussion groups, as per the MAA forums at Parramatta Town Hall.

To keep it manageable, numbers will be restricted to about 30.
Keep reading.
Our meetings so far with the new Roads Minister, Duncan Gay, have been productive. The Minister himself rides bikes on his farm and his press secretary holds a motorcycle licence, so we are beginning our MCC advocacy effort with the new State Government at least with an understanding from our perspective as riders.
By way of political background, the new Roads Minister is from the National Party, and this is a portfolio coveted by National Party MP's.  They are 'junior' partners in the O'Farrell Government and traditionally get the Roads portfolio in Liberal Coalition governments.
Here's the call.... OK.   The RTA were absent from our MAA Forums at Parramatta Town Hall.  And we widely criticised them for their 'no-show'.
This time, they appear to have 'riding instructions' to actually meet and engage with us.   That's why I am asking you as MCC Delegates to turn up and have a say. That's why we do this.   We're all volunteers giving up our time and most of us have demanding work and family commitments.  That's why I'm writing to you at a time that really should have an 'AM' after it.   
Do your best... ask your fellow clubbies if you can't come yourself and ensure that your Club and your members views are heard on the day.

The following is a general note from Guy Stanford, who was a long time well respected President of the MCC and I am pleased to call a friend:

If ever you need to understand the role of the MCC of NSW and your role as a Delegate, look to the laws and Road Rules. Sure safety is a big aspect, but it's not everything. BUT it is ESSENTIAL, it provides legitimacy before government and keeps friends alive.

As a Delegate, it's your role to ensure your members know what's happening and bring to the MCC of NSW, their complaints, comments and constructive suggestions. Then comes the problem of the MCC, of prioritising, planning and putting in the time to get things done. Nobody gets paid, it's all volunteer effort.

Most riders in your club just want to ride and have no grief, then grumble down the pub when it goes bad, complaining that somebody "should" do something. If nobody is looking out for "us" as riders, then we're doomed to walk. The catch cry of the MCC is "United we Ride, Divided we Walk".

If that sounds like some obscure, irrelevant rhetoric, consider that over the past years, the MCC of NSW has
- stopped fines for stupid sticker taxes - "Unleaded Petrol Only", "Exhaust Labels" - fines that are used by Police to harass and not actually about "safety"
- turned back front numberplates - by working with our brother organisations of riders in other states through the Australian Motorcycle Council (AMC
- played a fundamental role reforming of the AMC
- had research initiated that looks from a riders perspective
- analyses statistics from a rider's perspective (just the proven ability to do this with credibility slows down the negativity and misuse of stats by road authorities)
- developed the world's first motorcycle safety strategic plan from a rider organisation - now referenced by most major industrialised countries, yet ignored locally by roads authorities who simply rip off large chunks and claim it to be their work.
- kept enough money coming from the Bathurst contract to enable things to be done.

MCC of NSW has been a class-leading act. It has not come without effort or involvement.

These are only a few items that are fairly public, but many, many "small" items have been sorted quietly in the background.  Unless you've been following closely, the small things just get fixed and life moves on. But getting things fixed takes time. Big things can take years and if it's not in the current press, many forget that work continues, so it's often thankless.

There are dark clouds on the horizon.

Mostly, because our Roads Authorities in Australia lack imagination and simply want motorcycles removed from the roads. They look at how the crash outcomes for people on "safer cars" has dropped significantly and blame motorcycle riders for not showing the same improvements. Of course, this is largely due to "safer cars" and "safer roads", not any great insight in road safety programs, nor is it all due  to the steady march of draconian speeding laws that are moving into forcing mindless obedience alone. Yet, the safetycrats claim all credit to their "behavioural" programs of speed enforcement, bank the profits and get a nice bonus. However, motorcycles are not made safer by safer cars and the safetycrats scream that "motorcycle safety is failing to improve like car safety". Then produce dodgy stats to "prove" their case.

So they implement laws designed to make motorcycling more expensive, less convenient and attempt to use advertising and rhetoric to make motorcycling appear as a criminal activity to force public opinion against riders. But they do little to make motorcycling safer. What they are seeking to do is to remove motorcycles from the road to make their numbers look better, less bikes=less crashes, but put no effort into addressing the actual problems. They dream up stuff with no understanding of riding. Being so bereft of a sense of social equity, Australian Roads Authorities seem to pluck idiot ideas out of the ether and attempt to bulldoze them into place.

The MCC of NSW and our brother organisations defy those bulldozers, or better, get in close to disable the bulldozer and sell off its parts, sometimes we've been able to command the bulldozer and reverse it into the offending road authority. However, most of the fight is abstract and there's no big yellow machine, just the machinery of the Regulator. Rider representatives to these meetings must be backed by riders and have clear direction from all riders, tempered by collective wisdom. The Roads Authorities appear to think it's sophisticated and cool to cherry pick ideas from Europe, where the context may be very different.

With the steady drift to authoritarian government picking up pace, as it does when the populace is filled with fears like the "war" against this and that, or the "Laura Norder" platforms of fear mongering, weak minded politicians, then all sorts of excuses are brought forward. What we are getting now is not Rule of Law, with all the checks and balances of the Westminster system - that system is broken in NSW. What we have now is "Rule of the Regulator", where our only defence is through the political process and the press. We have sloppy, low quality government, gutted by years of Labor in NSW, to favour a few at the expense of the many.

What's coming next?

There are dark clouds gathering over Europe.

French riders are facing a raft of new domestic legislation;
- compulsory day-glo,
- immediate jail terms for those breaking the speed limit by 30kph,
- the removal of radar warning signs,
- bigger number plates for bikes so that owners can be more easily identified by cameras,
- confiscation of any gadget that has the ability to map the location of speed cameras (i-phones, gps),
- removing the right to filter through traffic
- license re-testing after five years without a bike rego to your name......

The list is long, but the French riders aren't taking it lying down and rather than grumble down le pub, they'll be out on the streets.

Ireland, is also pressing ahead with 'Full Sleeve' dayglo.

The Irish Government ".... proposes the introduction of regulations for the mandatory wearing of high visibility upper body clothing with full sleeves for rider and pillion passenger."
Quote taken from Section 4.4.5 of the Irish Road Safety Authority's NATIONAL MOTORCYCLE SAFETY ACTION PLAN 2010 – 2014

Please remember that there is no research on which to base this decision, but more importantly it is another case of putting the onus of responsibility on the victim and undermining any element of freedom of choice for the rider.

Involvement in the bureaucratic process of policy development is the only way to ensure this sort of idiocy is kept away from NSW and other States.

With a new government in NSW now instructing the RTA to engage with riders, what are you going to do?

Get involved, or grumble down the pub in a year's time and blame the MCC of NSW for failing to head this off?

Whatever you do, don't stand in the way of those working for "us". If you're a rider, you're a participant, as an easy ticket, a supplier of support or a soldier in one of several spaces. What is your role?

News from the FFMC,
"Federation Francaise des Motards en Colere"
Roughly translated means the "French Federation of Motorcyclists that are Angry"

One the most well organised rider organisations on the planet.

The FFMC is holding a protest. Details in English here:   

FFMC explains: "not all the users of two-, three- or four-wheel vehicles are criminals and they disapprove of being treated as if they were.

Underneath this in France, is a general complaint that so-called "road safety" is being used increasingly as an excuse for authoritarian control over the lives of citizens. The manner of data presentation, the conclusions reached on false premises, etc.

Sounds all too familiar.

The French do protests so well, with great catch-phrases - this one is against  " Autistic Government "

Autism -noun
1. Psychiatry . a pervasive developmental disorder of children, characterized by impaired communication, excessive rigidity, and emotional detachment.
2. a tendency to view life in terms of one's own needs and desires.

If you read French 

List of the FFMC Local Branches and rally points, combining with car clubs, trucking organisations, etc   
Covering the major administrative centres of large cities across the country.
Vince Sunter  ( I'm ready, how about you? ); Check out these Riding Tips: ;   Pillioning Tips: