I have strived to not make MotoZania my personal soapbox but issues have arisen in Europe that will eventually affect all of us. The EU has proposed many initiatives (and are pushing them forward into laws) that take away the freedoms of motorcyclists.
I won't bore you with the traditional helmet / no helmet debate and jump right in to the more ludicrous acts these political a$$holes are implementing. I chose the $ signs on purpose because everything I will mention forward has nothing to do with safety and everything to do with collection of money for government coffers.
Starting with what some might call the least offensive and working our way to the top is that for over 100 years in London parking your motorbike was free of charge. Since June, there is now a motorcycle tax for parking.
In France if you ride 30mph over the speed limit, they now have the right to seize your motorcycle and drivers license, even if you are not from France.
The EU is now wanting to re-issue license plates for motorcycles. The new plates are much larger in size and politicos claim it is for "safety" reasons! BTW, there is a fee for the new plate.
Currently in England if you go to get your motorcycle driving license and the examiner feels you are not dressed properly, they can refuse to give you the test. Keep in mind, there are no laws (YET) that describe what proper riding attire is. It is all at the discretion of a bureaucrat.
There is a ban in France on motorcycle filtering (lane splitting). Even if traffic is completely stopped, bikers must wait in grid lock with cars.
France's government has proposed a compulsory annual environmental and road safety test for motorcycles. This means you have the fun, and expense, of renewing your license every single year!
Motorcyclists in Paris have always enjoyed the right to park their bike on the footpath, as long as their machine does not obstruct the pedestrian right of way. The number of motorbikes and scooters in Paris have significantly increased in the last ten years, as Parisians now prefer to move around on two wheels which offer them a much more reliable, cheaper, faster and less polluting mode of transportation.
With the ever increasing number of motorcycles in circulation in the French capital, and thus the ever increasing opposition of bikers to any newly introduced anti-bike legislation, the authorities now seem to be taking draconian measures against motorcycle parking on pavements, which has always been permitted (and in fact, tolerated). In the last week or so, hundreds of bikers have found their motorcycle, initially parked on the pavement without obstructing the footpath, moved into the police impound without any notice. Many of the victims, who assumed their motorcycle had been stolen, phoned the police and were told that their machine had been taken to the pound for illegal parking.
Want to know how the bikes got there? In Paris they use giant cranes to lift the bike up and place them on a flat bed trailer. They push all the bikes tightly together and haul them off without a single care to the damage done to the motorcycle in transport.
Also in France there is a proposed a ban of all older motorbikes and scooters withiin city limits. Motorbikes and scooters that were manufactured before 1st July 2004 (and also cars manufactured before 1997) may be banned from entering city centres from as early as 2012 in an attempt to improve air quality by reducing pollution.
The scheme would initially be the subject of a trial in eight cities across France (Paris, Bordeaux, Nice, Lyon, Grenoble, Clermont-Ferrand, Aix-en-Provence and Saint-Denis). Under the new proposals, anyone caught riding a motorcycle from before 2004 will be issued with an expensive fine and possibly have their bike taken away from them on the spot.
All I can say is WTF?!?!? So much for all of us who love classic, vintage, and antique motorcycles. I would enjoy hearing about 200,000 two-strokers rev up outside of the French government and smoke them all out.
Finally, EU authorities have announced plans to force all bikers to wear fluorescent yellow high visibility jackets in an attempt to reduce the number of accidents involving motorcyclists.
I had to stop typing and sit back for a minute to absorb that sentence. FORCE BIKERS TO WEAR A FLUORESCENT JACKET.
Think about it Red and White, Hessians, Vagos, and weekend warriors about your patch. No colors would ever be seen riding again. Instead, we all get to wear a pretty yellow jacket.
MotoZania has over sixty-two thousand site visitors every month from over 150 counties. ALL of us need to take a stand against politicians who do not respect bikers, and for that matter, freedom! Vote the a$$holes out of office. Attend rallies in France and the UK to protest the new EU initiatives.
There are 115 million motorcycles across the globe. If we stick together, there is no way we go unheard. But take head, if we are passive now, our rights will soon be gone.