For more than a year, MAG has been warning that the EU wanted to replace our current MoT test with something that could be more complex, more expensive and which may further restrict the rider’s ability to modify their bike or trike. We’ve also been asking whether these ideas will make a significant difference, and whether they can be justified (‘thanks’ to everyone who supported Jon Strong‘s complaint to the European Ombudsman).
Now that the proposed EU Regulation on ‘Road Worthiness Testing’ (RWT) has been published, we can start to see what we are really faced with and big changes are on the way:
- noise levels tested with a meter (done by ear in the bike MoT)
- pollution tested with a gas analyser or data from On-Board Diagnostic devices (not in the bike MoT)
- compliance with EU Type-Approval to be checked, ie; ‘Illegal power-train modification’, (the MoT looks at UK construction and use regulations)
- brake fluid water content / boiling point analysed (not in the bike MoT)
- anti-theft devices tested (not in the bike MoT)
- re-test when the registered keeper changes, or after modification to safety / environmental systems and components, or after serious damage (these will be decisions for the UK authorities)
- dangerous faults will result in the vehicle’s registration being revoked until it passes the test (currently, such vehicles just can’t be driven on the road)
- information about each vehicle to be gathered by EU linking the databases held by national governments and manufacturers (depending on the results of a feasibility study)
- expect the new test around 2016 (we’ll keep you posted)
RWT certificates would contain new information, such as;
- boil temperature / water-content of the brake fluid
- brake forces and efficiency for each wheel
- exhaust emissions
Countries with more stringent road worthiness requirements than the Commission proposes, may keep them. For example, it seems likely that the UK would keep to annual testing (which is more frequent than the EU proposes).
The Regulation says “The goal of road worthiness testing is to check the functionality of safety components, the environmental performance and the compliance of a vehicle with its approval” – which ties-in neatly to anti-tampering/modification, which is the other Regulation (COM(2010)542) we are working on at the moment.
In essence, the RWT covers the similar items to our MoT: Identification of the vehicle; Braking equipment; Steering; Visibility; Lighting, horn, etc.; Axles, wheels, tyres, suspension; Chassis and attachments; Nuisance (noise and pollution)
However, RWT will treat pass/fail differently;
If ‘Minor’ deficiencies (ie; no significant effect on the safety of the vehicle, etc.) are all that’s found, the registered keeper of the vehicle will have to rectify the problem(s) ‘without delay’, but the vehicle may not need a re-test (this would be a decision for the UK authorities).
‘Major’ deficiencies (ie; may prejudice the safety of the vehicle or put other road users at risk, etc.) could still see vehicles continue to be used for up to 6 weeks before undergoing another test.
‘Dangerous’ deficiencies (ie; posing direct and immediate risk to road safety such that the vehicle may not be used on the road under any circumstances), would mean the vehicle registration is withdrawn until a road worthiness certificate is issued.
Some EU countries have never tested bike road worthiness; conversely the German ‘TuV’ test is linked to the vehicle’s registration papers, listing any modifications and after-market components on the vehicle, type-approved of course, to be checked at the test.
The Commission estimates that RWT in all member states will reduce casualties by 8%, but this figure seems very high compared to findings from various EU countries.
FEMA and many of its member organisations question whether RWT will make much difference to safety and a day of action is being planned for September.
Our National Committee is giving careful consideration to MAG’s policy on RWT, which will form the basis for our campaigning with riders, media, politicians and officials.
MAG predicted that, although the Commission might concentrate on making sure all EU member states have at least a basic road worthiness test, they like to aim high and we might get something more like the German TuV test, rather than the UK’s MoT. We also predicted it would be linked to the new EU Type-Approval Regulation to control any changes to the power-train, etc.
Some scoffed, accusing MAG of deliberately scaremongering – judge for yourself, the official documents can be found on the EU website here.