MEPs vote to include motorcycles in safety inspections

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The European Parliament voted Tuesday (2 July) to extend vehicle safety checks to motorcycles, reversing a parliamentary committee’s effort to exempt two-wheeled vehicles from inspections.

The new rules will gradually require regular inspections of motorbikes along with trailers used for hauling that weigh more than 750 kilogrammes.

European Commission Vice President Siim Kallas, who introduced package of roadworthiness and inspection measures a year ago, welcomed the decision to include motorbikes as a step towards reducing highway deaths in the EU.

“I am glad that the European Parliament takes the view that motorcycles need to undergo technical checks,” Kallas, who is in charge of transport, said in a statement. “Technical inspections of motorcycles will be a step forward to reach our road safety target to halve the number of road fatalities by 2020 and towards vision zero."

The vote would also set EU-wide minimum standards for vehicle inspections, which vary across the 28 member states, and a clampdown on mileage fraud.

In a vote on 30 May, the Parliament's transport committee said the regulation of two-wheel vehicles and auto trailers under 2,000 kilogrammes should be left up to national governments.

The European Commission proposed the tougher highway testing rules in July 2012, citing a rise in the number of highway facilities. The roadworthiness legislation marked a maiden effort to require the inspection of all motorcycles, scooters and trailers across the EU.

The Commission estimates that better safety inspections would save more than 1,200 lives a year and prevent a further 36,000 accidents linked to technical failure.

Eleven EU countries do not inspect two-wheeled vehicles.

The Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations, which has denounced the Commission’s proposals as a “tax on poverty” because of the higher inspection costs, said in a recent report that road safety was improving without new regulation.

The Brussels-based group said motorcycle deaths fell 27.3%, from 7,426 to 4,296, between 2001 and 2010 while the number of motorbikes on the road rose 45%.

Overall, some 30,000 people die each year in roadway accidents across the EU, with Poland and Italy leading the bloc with more than 4,000 fatalities each, World Health Organisation figures show.

The legislation backed by Parliament now heads to negotiations with the Council, MEPs and the Commission.

Existing EU rules on vehicle checks date from 1977, which set minimum standards for vehicle checks and have only been marginally updated since, the European Commission says.

Some 30,900 people died on the roads of the 27 EU countries in 2011. Globally, the World Health Organisation reports that on any given day, 3,500 people die in traffic accidents while 50 million people are injured or disabled each year in crashes.

Half of the injured are pedestrians, motorcyclists or on bicycles.

  • By 2016?: Vehicle testing proposal to be implemented following the agreement of the European Parliament and European Council.

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