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Presidents new year’s address

Anna Zee – (picture: Wim Taal)

For FEMA 2016 was a year that took us from strength to strength. I have been active in the international motorcycle world for many years, but for the first time in years I had a real sense that we were seen and heard as the motorcyclists’ voice.

Our team was expanded this year when we hired Wim Taal as our new communications officer. With eighteen years’ experience in Dutch riders’ rights he proved to be the right person to work with our general secretary Dolf Willigers, who cannot be praised enough for his tireless work in Brussels.

The cooperation with FIM Europe has grown into a stable ‘relationship’ and we are planning a long list of issues for the FEMA/FIM Europe working group, chaired by our very own Morten Hansen, general secretary for NMCU, our Norwegian member organization.

Last year I promised you that FEMA would be actively looking for and talking to national riders’ organizations all over Europe, inviting them to join FEMA. We have met with a lot of motorcyclists from all over Europe and we are proud to say that we have actually been able to welcome a new member: the Cyprus Motorcycle Rights Club (CMRC). Hopefully we can add more members to our growing FEMA family in 2017.

In 2016 we have spent a lot of time and effort on the issue of autonomous driving cars and the questions we had about the impact of these cars on the safety of motorcyclists. Those of you that follow FEMA’s work will know that thanks to the hard work and tenacity of our staff, a new test protocol is in the making. In 2017 we will keep working with vehicle authorities to ensure that this new protocol is further developed that makes it mandatory to test autonomous driving cars with motorcycles before they can receive a European type approval. FEMA has received a lot of international praise for our role in the debates about autonomous driving vehicles and about Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS). I can guarantee you that in 2017 we will stay on top of these subjects, making sure motorcyclists are represented and listened to.

More and more cities are restricting vehicle access to the city’s centre, in an attempt to counter congestion and pollution problems. FEMA and all its national member organizations will keep explaining that it is wrong to punish motorcyclists for problems mainly caused by cars and trucks. Authorities and city councils that are looking for solutions to their congestion and pollution problems should accept and acknowledge that motorcycles are part of the solution, not of the problem. A real effective urban mobility strategy must include powered two wheelers.

Finally, let me wish you a wonderful 2017. Let it be the year that motorcyclists from all over Europe unite to fight the good fight.

Anna Zee,