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2021: FEMA’s review of the year

Although physical meetings were not possible in 2021, we managed to keep advocating the interests of the European motorcyclists, in- and outside the European Union. In this article we give an overview of our activities. First, we give a summary and then you will find the more detailed actions by the four main topics.

Summary of activities
On the topic of the environment and the energy transition, we resist actively the present on electric vehicles. We see a future in electric motorcycles and other small (L-category) vehicles, especially in urban environments but we also want to have the opportunity to choose other low- and zero CO2-emission alternatives. At the same time, those riders who want to use electric powered two- or three-wheelers should be able to do so in a convenient and secure way and be proper facilitated.

2021 in numbers

Newsletter subscribers > 10,678
Facebook posts > 108
Facebook followers > 46,264
Instagram posts > 81
Instagram followers > 725
Member organisations > 22
Posted manufacturers’ recalls > 36
LinkedIn followers > 618
Tweets > 117
Twitter followers > 1,439
Articles posted on our website > 62

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Already we are confronted with partially automated and connected vehicles and in the future, this will be even more the case. In FEMA’s opinion it must be possible to keep motorcycling in such an environment. To make it possible, automated vehicles must react in a proper way to not-automated and perhaps not-connected vehicles like motorcycles. Automated systems must be tested with powered two-wheelers just as they are already tested with pedestrians and bicyclists. Thanks to our lobby, the first steps in this direction have already been taken. Beside this, we think that with further automation and connection, motorcyclists benefit from digital connection with other vehicles and infrastructure. Therefore, we have joined the joined the Connected Motorcycle Consortium (CMC) as a supportive member. We took action to have motorcycles included in future developments in ITS and digital connection by participating in an advisory board of the European Commission and in a project that focusses on the protection of vulnerable road users by using new technologies.

This brings us to road safety. In 2021, we were confronted with several plans to enhance road safety, but where motorcycles were part of these plans it often was in a way that we did not like. We spent much time in convincing lawmakers and the European Commission that motorcycles must be an integral part of road safety plans and that mandatory periodic technical inspections for all powered two- and three-wheelers is not the way to make motorcycling safer. We gave input for the revision of the driving licence directive. We gave a presentation to road directors about the needs of motorcyclists regarding safe road infrastructure and what road authorities can do to make the roads safer for motorcyclists. Finally, we participated in the virtual Motorcycle Workshop this summer as member of the Steering Group and as participants in several workshop meetings.

Next to our main topics we continued our work in the European Parliament Historic Vehicle Group (EPHVG) to voice the interests of owners of historic motorcycles and we wrote to the European Commission to solve the problem of transporting motorcycles (and historic vehicles) from the United Kingdom to the European Union for holidays and other temporary purposes.


Environment and energy.

  • A large part of our work in 2021 related to the environment and the climate measures from the European Commission and the British Government.
  • Although we think that the policymakers should not entirely focus on electric vehicles as seems the case now, we see a future for electric motorcycles and are of the opinion that riders of electric powered two-wheelers must be able to charge their motorcycle in an easy and secure way. Therefore, we sent letters to the European Parliament, the European Commission, some national Members of Parliament, and to some permanent representatives in Brussels about the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Regulation (part of the Fit for 55-package from the European Commission) to make certain that motorcyclists will be included in the new Regulation.
  • We are also preparing a lobby to convince policymakers that the plans in Brussels and London to ban vehicles that have no zero CO2 tailpipe emission soon is not a good idea. This will effectively mean a ban on all vehicles (including motorcycles) with an internal combustion engine, while the internal combustion engines are not the problem, but fossil fuels are the problem. We will advocate technological neutrality, especially in the transition period that should be longer than proposed, to give the industry the opportunity to come with more than one solution to solve the problem of the greenhouse gasses emissions.

Urban- and future mobility

  • To investigate the consequences of the development of automated and connected vehicles for motorcycling, we organised a mini webinar for our members in February. The conclusion was that there is a future for motorcycles and other L-category vehicles in future, but that digital connection with other vehicles and infrastructure will be crucial to maintain safety of the riders. The findings of this webinar have been laid down in an article on our website. We also joined the Connected Motorcycle Consortium (CMC) as a supportive member. This collaboration of motorcycle manufacturers develops applications to connect motorcycles with other vehicles, like cars, emergency services, etcetera.
  • Micro-mobility (personal light electric vehicles or PLEVs) is causing many discussions. We participated in several ways. One of the reasons for this was to ensure that these PLEVs will not be seen as powered two-wheelers and thus pollute our (accident) statistics.
  • We continued to promote the use of powered two-wheelers as a smart mobility solution in urban transport, e.g., by using the public consultation opportunities that are given by the European Commission, sending a letter, together with ACEM and FIM Europe, to the European Commission, organising again a mobility test and, again together with ACEM and FIM Europe, proposed a number of amendments to the own initial report of the European Parliament on Sustainable Smart Mobility Strategy. These proposed amendments have been taken over by several MEPs. This report is still pending. We also sent a view to the European Commission about the EU urban mobility framework.

Road safety

  • The European Parliament drafted an own initiative report in reaction of the Commission’s new road safety strategy, the ‘EU Road Safety Policy Framework 2021-2030 communication’. We wrote a letter to the members of the European Parliament committee on transport and tourism and to the European Commission to give our view, to have powered two-wheelers better included in the framework and in the key performance indicators (KPIs) and to protest the inclusion of a mandatory periodic technical inspection for all powered two- and three-wheelers. In the same document we also gave our view on the plans to have mandatory Intelligent Speed Assistance for motorcycles. We also had meetings with the rapporteur and most of the shadow rapporteurs. The result was that several amendments in the EP self-initiative report now include motorcycles and the part of the technical inspections was watered down. The European Parliament still wants ISA for motorcycles, but they recognise that a system that interferes in the speed or engine power is too dangerous for motorcycles. We were also invited for a meeting with the Commission.
  • On invitation by the European Commission, we drafted our view about how the Annex II, art. 6 of the third driving licence directive should look. In our view, the present directive focusses too much on low-speed technical skills where we would like riders to be more prepared for unexpected or dangerous situations on the road and in traffic. With help from a Norwegian university teacher, we managed to translate our ideas about training in concrete test demands. The waiting is now for the Commission to publish a new draft driving licence directive.
  • In 2016 we started a lobby to get motorcycles included in the working of driver aid and automated driving systems. In the UNECE Regulation 157 (Advanced Lane Keeping Systems), which is the first advanced driver assistance system that allows a form of automated driving, motorcycles are now part of the testing demands. From 2023 Euro NCAP will start testing driver support systems in cars, such as Autonomous Emergency Braking and Lane Support Systems, on their ability to look for and react to motorcyclists.
  • We gave a presentation for CEDR (road authorities) about motorcycle road safety and what road authorities can do to enhance road safety for motorcycles.
  • As follow up on the Lillehammer motorcycle workshop in 2008 and the Third Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety, held in Stockholm in February 2020, FEMA participated in the organising committee of a global motorcycle workshop that was supposed to be held in Stockholm in June 2020. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic the workshop was postponed to June 2021, and it became a virtual workshop with about 200 experts from all over the world. All issues that are related to road safety of powered two-wheeler riders were discussed and the organising committee distilled eight key recommendations. The full report of the workshop will be published in 2022.

Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS)

  • FEMA participated in the CCAM (cooperative, connected, automated and autonomous mobility) Single Platform, which was an advising board for the European Commission to develop a strategy for future connected and automated mobility.
  • In reaction to the demand of the European Parliament regarding intelligent speed assistance (ISA) for motorcycles, we wrote a letter to the European Commission to give our view on ISA. We reminded the Commission that several years ago the omission has promised not to introduce this without consulting us and without a thorough cost-benefit and risk analysis.
  • FEMA participates in the SAFE-UP project, started by car manufacturers and research institutes to develop use cases to test how vulnerable road users can be protected by using new technologies.

Other items

  • We are member of the European Parliament Historic Vehicle Group (EPHVG) to voice the interests of owners of historic motorcycles but also, because the interests of owners of historic vehicles and of motorcycle owners are often the same. Think of connected vehicles, the use of internal combustion engines (development of clean fuels), maintenance and improvement of the vehicles (REACH directive).
  • We wrote a letter to European Commission about transport of vehicles that are not driven by the owner, together with FIVA (the mondial historic vehicle association) and NMC (the UK national Motorcycle Council), to ask the Commission to solve the present problems in this matter where all EU member states seem to have their own policy.
  • Together with FIM Europe we updated and expanded our joint position papers.

FEMA staff Dolf Willigers and Wim Taal in front of the European Parliament in Brussels.

Despite the challenges that were caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, we feel that we did an adequate job. As a lobby organisation, you just cannot solve every problem that you are confronted with. Certainly not in a time when all you hear and read is ‘public transport and active mobility’ and motorcycles are not very popular outside the world of the users themselves. Nevertheless, we think that motorcycles are part of the solution in urban and inter-urban transport, are great for leisure and some of the negative aspects are either exaggerated or can, and will, be solved.

Certainly, the demands for cleaner transport modes will keep us busy, the sound issue has not been solved yet, although there will be an update on the UNECE regulation 41 published early 2022, that will make it harder to fit loud exhaust systems on new and existing motorcycles. Road safety is an ongoing topic and the discussion about better initial riders training and testing with the European Commission has not finished yet. We have no idea what will happen in the field of automated and connected vehicles and how that will affect us, but we are ready for what will come. We live in extremely interesting times and are looking forward to what 2022 will bring.

Written by Dolf Willigers

Top photograph courtesy of theroanokestar.com

Photo’s courtesy of Roelof Veldhuis, Triumph Motorcycles, KNMV, CMC & Wim Taal

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