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Cutting red tape for classics

There has been an outbreak of common sense in government circles since the arrival of Roads Minister Mike Penning, who is an enthusiastic motorcyclist. The following statement has emerged from the Department for Transport.

‘Classic and historic vehicles are often very well maintained by their owners and have a much lower accident and MoT failure rate than newer cars. The current requirement for these vehicles to undergo an MoT test goes over and above the obligations set out in European legislation. As part of the Government's commitment to cutting unnecessary red tape, proposals would exempt private vehicles manufactured before 1960 from the MoT test, reducing costs for owners Mike Penning said: "We are committed to reducing regulation which places a financial burden on motorists without providing significant overall benefits.

Owners of classic cars and motorbikes are enthusiasts who maintain their vehicles well – they don't need to be told to look after them, they're out there every weekend checking the condition of the engine, tyres and bodywork.

"That is why I am today putting forward proposals to scrap the MoT test for these vehicles – this will result in savings for the Government and for motorists."

Many of the features of the modern MoT test are not suitable for testing classic vehicles built more than fifty years ago. However, owners of classic vehicles will still be legally required to ensure that their cars are safe and in a proper condition to be on the road.

These changes are being taken forward separately from the Department for Transport's main MOT review.

The consultation closes on 26 January 2012. Go here:

Europe thinks again

In late October came news that the crucial vote on the Type Approval Regulation had been postponed yet again, this time until December the 5th. MAG welcomes the fact that so much attention is being paid to this piece of legislation at Committee Stage. The decision follows months of lobbying by MAG and FEMA and individual MAG activists who sent emails to their MEPs. MAG Campaigns Co-ordinator Paddy Tyson, who conceived and co-ordinated the September 25th Motorway protest rides said: “This shows that our lobbying tactics are working.” This delay, as the 305 tabled amendments continue to be discussed, means that the Plenary Session vote, ie the vote by the whole European Parliament, will now be pushed back to the Spring, thus providing MAG, FEMA and all activists with more lobbying opportunities. We can now confirm that some of the most outlandish of these amendments have been shelved; side visibility reflectors, roadside random spot-checks, technical examinations of motorbikes, liabilities in accident situations and the harmonisation of driver

The ROAD went to press against the background of serious backpeddling in Europe in the wake of intensive lobbying from MAG activists and UK MEPs inspired by MAGʼs massive motorway protest rides licence schemes.

Highly significant is the fact that a complaint against the Commission, presented by MAG member and researcher Jon Strong was upheld as a 'case to answer' by the European Ombudsman. This complaint focused on the claim that the Commission had failed to provide sufficient evidence for its proposals on Anti-Tampering and its Automatic Headlights On proposal. The complaint rested on the requirement, enshrined in EU protocols, that all legislation must be shown to be

proportionate to the problem it seeks to address. The impact on those affected by the legislation must be taken into account and the potential of the legislation to provide significant net benefit when viewed against the background of that impact, must be considered. In other words, if the proposed legislation seeks to address an imaginary or insignificant problem, then it fails the test of proportionality. Furthermore if the negative impact on those affected by the legislation outweighs the potential benefits then the legislation must be ruled unnecessary.

Jon Strong identified this Achilles Heel enabling MAG to hoist the European Commission by its own petard – so far. It has been helpful that MAG has since learned that the Commission has still failed to provide any further supporting evidence for its proposals in this area, which in part explains their decision to defer the vote. Pressure from the IMCO committee has led to a new Impact Assessment being undertaken.

This supports MAG's contention that much of the Type Approval Regulation is ill-conceived and highlights the difficulties that our politicians face if they choose to support the Commission's extreme ideas. MAG is grateful to all who have completed the recent UK consultation

document, which all adds support to our cause. MAG also thanks those British MPs and MEPs and the British Government, who are continuing to negotiate on our behalf in Europe. MAG has forged some very effective relationships recently and the results so far call a lie to the notion that politicians never listen. The trick is that you must talk to them. MAG does.

Military base requires High-Viz to be worn by bikers

A Corporal in the Royal Air Force based at MOD Boscombe Down wants all motorcycling personnel dressed in dayglo. Corporal Matthew Howard explained that he was – “paying particular attention to the increasing dangers to both cyclists and motorcyclists, especially during the winter months when daylight hours are reduced. The Corporal’s letter, in which he seeks support for his initiative continues:

“As I am sure you will agree, visibility is the main contributing factor to cycle-related incidents, and ever more so at this time of year. My aim is to make it policy

that all cyclists and motorcyclists entering MOD Boscombe Down must wear high visibility clothing or accessories. I am organising a ‘high visibility’ week. I will publicise the event and display road safety campaign posters on Station. My aim is to distribute high visibility items; clothing, accessories, lights, safety helmets and anything that will aid cyclists and also promote the concept and awareness to all cyclists and motorcyclists that enter the unit. Alongside this I intend to have four individuals dressed in maximum visibility clothing with all accessories on two

motorbikes and two cycles to demonstrate the level which is required to be adequately seen. The reason I am contacting you is to request your support in this project in any way you are able to offer.”

This well intentioned plea was sent to local businesses which included ‘Lightning Services’ a motorcycle business run by long- standing MAG stalwart Baz Sullivan. ROAD comment: Corporal Howard is doubtless well- intentioned but what is scary is the rapid growth of the conviction that anyone not sporting high-viz is invisible.

The ROAD 7

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