By Ian Dipple 19/06 Updated: 21/06 16:21
THOUSANDS of motorcyclists will stage a go-slow around Redditch on Sunday (June 24) as part of a nationwide protest against proposed EU legislation which would make their bikes impossible to customise.
Bikers are angry at the proposals which would dictate what they can and cannot do to alter their machines, right down to the type of rear tyres they can choose.
Anything that enhances performance or affects fuel consumption would be banned and the rules could also force riders to buy spare or replacement parts direct from the manufacturer rather than an independent company, adding to the cost of owning a bike or scooter and risking jobs.
The protest is being organised by the Motorcycle Action Group and will see riders join the motorway network about 1pm and travel at 40mph southbound along the M5 from Frankley, northbound along the M40 from Warwick Services and southbound from junction six of the M42. They will all gather at Portway Rugby Club on the outskirts of Redditch.
As similar demonstration was held last year and saw 40,000 bikers take part. Sunday's day of action is aimed at winning support among MEPs and raising awareness of the problem among the non-motorcycling public.
The EU say the measures are designed to improve safety but Redditch resident Andy Pyatt, area representative for MAG, said there was no evidence to support the claim.
"I've actually modified a bike in the past to slow it down and get more miles to the gallon, so I have actually made it safer, in future I won't be able to do that," he said.
"In over 30 years of riding all the people I know who have been injured have been knocked off by a car. This won't do anything to improve safety they would be better off improving the driving test to make car drivers more aware of bikers."
Phil Bennion, West Midlands Lib Dem MEP who plans to take part in the protest, said: "These plans would devastate the hobby of hundreds of thousands of people, make bikes far more expensive but have little if any safety benefit."
Anthea McIntyre, a Conservative MEP for the region, added she was concerned about the impact on jobs in the aftersale parts sector.
"It is all too easy to claim more regulation is needed and to cite ‘safety concerns’ as the justification but without producing proper evidence in support of those concerns."
Visit www.euhandsoffbiking.co.uk for more information.
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