Motorbikes need to be safer and greener, say Internal Market Committee MEPs 

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New rules to make motorbikes safer and more environmentally friendly got the thumbs up from Parliament's Internal Market Committee on Monday, when it adopted a report on a common system of type approval for powered two-wheel vehicles ranging from mopeds to heavy motorcycles.

The committee points out that Europe's cities would be much less congested and cleaner if more two-wheeled vehicles were used. However, given that motorbikes, scooters and mopeds currently account for 16 per cent of the deaths on Europe's road, even though they only make up two per cent of traffic, they must be made safer.

"From today, riding a motorbike has become greener and safer", said Wim van de Camp (EPP, NL), who is steering the legislation through Parliament. "These vehicles will increase urban mobility, use less space, waste less energy and have a reduced level of emissions."
Safer vehicles

The committee says that under the new rules to be met by the motorcycle industry, anti-lock braking systems (ABS) must be fitted to all bikes with engines above 51 cc. This is stricter than the Commission's original proposal of mandatory ABS systems for bikes over 125 cc.

MEPs support new anti-tampering measures designed to make it impossible to increase the speed of the vehicles by tampering with their powertrain, while ensuring that these measures will not prevent bikers from modifying their vehicles in other ways. MEPs also welcome the tougher rules on llghting in order to improve visibility

MEPs stress that manufacturers must provide unrestricted access to vehicle repair and maintenance information for everyone, including independent dealers and repairers, to ensure that the vehicles are maintained safely.

Cleaner engines

Two, three and four-wheel (L-category) vehicles emit a disproportionally high level of  pollutants. MEPs want to bring down these levels by extending the Euro 3 standards to mopeds from 1 January 2016, with the more stringent Euro 4 and Euro 5 standards for heavy motorbikes from 2016 and Euro 6 limits from 2020.

The committee is also calling on the Commission to carry out a comprehensive environmental impact study by 1 January 2016 to evaluate the air quality and share of pollutants contributed by L-category vehicles..

It welcomes the gradual introduction of increasingly advanced On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) systems to monitor malfunctions and hence make information on emissions easily available so that the vehicle can be repaired.

A total of around 30 million vehicles are included in the L-category which covers a wide range of vehicles including motorbikes, scooters, mopeds, electric bicycles, all terrain vehicles and quads.

Mr Van De Camp's draft report was adopted by 28 votes, with none against and three abstentions.

Next steps

The committee will now decide on whether to open negotiations with the Council with a view to reaching first reading on the new regulation harmonising conditions for the approval of L-category vehicles.

In the Chair: Committee Chair Malcolm Harbour (ECR, UK)