Due to our serious concerns about the motorcycling aspects of the Third EC Driving Licence Directive, about to begin its second reading in the European Parliament, the UK riders’ groups, MAG and BMF, have decided to hold a protest ride in Brussels.
Its intention is to attract media attention before the Council of Ministers meets to agree a Common Position on the directive. MAG and BMF are calling for the motorcycle-related proposals in the directive to be deleted and revisited in 36 months time when more information will be available to better draft them. This will also have the effect of supporting the lobbying actions being carried out by the FEMA Secretariat which we consider do not go far enough.
We must stress that this is a UK initiative. The FEMA Secretariat is not comfortable with the idea of a street demonstration at this time but we feel that the anxieties that have been expressed over the possible negative effect of a protest on the lobbying process are a little exaggerated as most politicians accept protest as a normal part of their world. We respect the Secretariat¹s position but feel that we must reflect the concerns of our own members.
The weekly UK newspaper Motorcycle News that sells 150,000 copies per week, is actively supporting this protest. They consider that the licensing proposals seriously threaten the future health of the motorcycle market in this country, a view that we strongly hold.
Full details of the protest will be published on the web by MAG Belgium by Sep 25.
For now the provisional plan is as follows: -
To meet at the Brussels Atomium at 1300hs on Saturday October 1 for speeches and then to ride through Brussels past the Parliament and Commission buildings. We do understand that the politicians and administrators will not be there but the objective is to get some coverage in the media, which we hope a convoy of bikes will provide, as it will present a photo opportunity.
We must stress that there is no rally or social part to this protest, it is a political gesture. MAG Belgian has kindly made arrangements for a campsite to be available about 40km from Brussels. We hope to provide some telephone numbers for booking hotels in the very near future.
We shall provide more information as arrangements are made and we would value the support of riders from other FEMA organisations.
Motorcycle Action Group UK
British Motorcyclists Federation