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Brussels, 04 October 2010

Substantial improvements of motorcycle functional safety and emission performance

The proposal tables by the European Commission today (See IP/10/1270) incorporates a number of vehicle functional safety improvements a wide range of vehicles such as two- or three-wheel powered cycles, two- or three-wheel mopeds, motorcycles with and without a side-car, tricycles, on-road quads and mini-cars. It sets ambitious emission requirements for these vehicles and foresees adaptation to the latest and anticipated near-future vehicle construction and propulsion technologies It waters down the current 15 Directives to just 5 Regulations.

1. Increased functional safety

The following graph shows one of the main drivers for the Commission to propose measures to increase the functional safety of powered two-wheel vehicles.

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

In 2008, 5 520 motorcycle riders died in road accidents. In fact the mount of fatalities remained more or less constant whereas the fatality numbers for other means of transport gradually came down. In addition the number of serious injuries amongst motorcycle riders is estimated to be 5.5 to 13 times higher than the number of fatalities (30 000 – 72 000 riders). The number of slight injuries might be between 12 to 28 times higher (66 000 – 155 000 riders) in the EU-27.

The proposed Regulation would lead to a number of new functional safety requirements, namely mandatory anti-lock braking systems fitted to medium and high performance motorcycles, whereas low performance motorcycles are proposed to be equipped with an anti-lock braking system, a combined brake system or both. This measure is anticipated to dramatically improve safety preventing actual motorcycle rider downfall in case of a panic-stop and to help reducing the braking distance significantly during such an abrupt braking manoeuvre. Moreover, knowing that the wheels can hardly be locked leading to a stable vehicle will provide confidence to the rider that the maximum performance can be squeezed out of the motorcycle's braking system, even on slippery roads, to avoid an accident without running the risk of a downfall.

On the other hand anticipated correlation between safety and power limitation for motorcycles could not be confirmed in several scientific studies. For that reason and in order to remove internal barriers to trade on the Union market, the option for Member States to mandate motorcycles to be limited to a maximum power of 74 kW will no longer be maintained. Other, more effective safety measures will be introduced to help reduce the high numbers of fatalities and injuries among riders of powered two-wheel vehicles in road accidents in the Union.

Powertrain tampering prevention of L-category vehicles are among these more effective safety measures, especially for mopeds and light motorcycles, but also for mini-cars.

Another safety risk in road traffic that L-category vehicle riders frequently run is their reduced visibility to other traffic participants. As passenger cars will be mandatorily equipped with daytime running lights from 2011 onwards, similarly all L-category vehicles shall be equipped with an automatic headlamp-on feature in order to increase rider and vehicle conspicuity and make them better visible to other traffic participants.

2. Emission reduction

The graph above shows that certain toxic emissions from road transport are decreasing, but the share of the L-category vehicle fleet to these emissions is significantly increasing. For example for hydrocarbons the share is estimated to be 38% today and will rise to 62% in 2020 in case of no action. For carbon monoxide (CO) this share is 20% today and is anticipated to rise to 38% in 2020. The L-category vehicle fleet is also a high contributor to volatile particle emissions in urban areas leading to smog and adverse effects on people's health.

The Commission is therefore determined to address these air quality concerns by the introduction of three emission steps, which are proposed for the coming decade. The Commission proposes among others a Euro 3, a Euro 4 and a Euro 5 step (and a Euro 6 step for motorcycles) to be complied with in 2014, 2017 and 2020, respectively. This staggered approach with each time more severe emission limits targets to address the disproportionately high share of toxic emissions emitted by the L-category vehicle fleet in comparison to all road transport emissions. At the same time this staggered approach will provide sufficient lead-time to the vehicle manufacturers to introduce the necessary pollutant abatement technology. Introduction of durability requirements will help to maintain low emission levels over vehicle life.

Mandatory reporting of the actual CO2 emission measurement and fuel consumption determination in this global test cycle by the manufacturer at type-approval will pave the ground for an energy efficiency labelling system, which might be introduced at a later stage. This system will then support the consumer to compare vehicles while making a purchase selection based on additional important aspects like energy efficiency or greenhouse gas emissions, which is today not possible.

3. Increased market surveillance

The Commission also deemed necessary to introduce enhanced market surveillance requirements to create a level playing field for all vehicle manufacturers in a sector where presence of non-compliant products may cause significant safety risks and environmental threats. The role and responsibilities of the authorities in the Member States in charge of type-approval and market surveillance are clarified in the Regulation, and the requirements relating to the competence, obligations and performance of the technical services that perform vehicle type-approval are reinforced. Even more important to the Commission are the objectives to ensure an equal treatment of non-compliant products throughout Europe, to protect fair economic operators against unfair competition from “black sheep” and restoring confidence in EU legislation.

4. Legislative simplification

All in all 15 Directives would be repealed. In concrete terms the existing framework Directive 2002/24/EC would be repealed by one new Council and Parliament Regulation. The current 14 associated, separate legislative acts of EU legislation laying down detailed technical requirements for the type-approval of L-category vehicles are proposed to be replaced by just 4 additional Regulations that will be proposed in the course of 2011 and 2012.

A further simplification measure is to refer wherever possible to globally harmonised vehicle legislation, such as that developed by the United Nations Economic Committee for Europe (UNECE), obviously without compromising the high standards to which vehicles already comply today in the EU.

5. Adaptation to new technologies

In the passenger car sector plug-in hybrids or full electric vehicles are just being introduced on the EU market, whereas these propulsion types are already mass-produced since a number of years in the L-category vehicle sector. However, the current legislative framework does not provide the same level of coverage for these new technologies to be type-approved as it does for traditionally propelled vehicles which are only equipped with a combustion engine. In order to improve this weakness the Commission will also adapt the measures in order to accommodate type approval of this new and near future anticipated technology.

This whole package of 5 Regulations is anticipated to become first applicable as of 1 January 2013.

The proposal can be consulted here:

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