Labour MEP for Ireland South Phil Prendergast told a rally of 2,000 motorcyclists they had genuine concerns about proposed new EU regulations leading to more accidents on Irish roads.
MEPs are currently considering proposals to impose a raft of new requirements for manufacturing and modifying motorbikes and trikes that includes an obligation for bikes to have ABS or linked braking systems.
Ms Prendergast said: “I am concerned that some of these regulations will actually make motorcycling more dangerous on certain types of road surface. Insisting that two-wheel vehicles have ABS or linked brakes could lead to bikes skidding on the rough road surfaces that are everywhere in Ireland.
“ABS has its benefits but on slippery and gravelly surfaces it causes skidding in cars all the time but because there are four wheels on the road the car will usually correct itself almost immediately. But in the case of a bike, if one wheel loses traction then there’s a high chance of the bike going down.
“This part of the proposals needs much more scrutiny.
“Also, the plan to regulate bike modification also seems highly skewed towards the interests of manufacturers and dealers. The proposals must also take into account the hobby element of biking.
“Many riders enjoy working on their bikes, enhancing capabilities or just making aesthetic changes. Naturally, this must be done with within safety limits. But the proposals as currently framed are likely to mean that modifying bikes can only be done through manufacturers and their main dealers.
“This could lead to lots of back-yard businesses going to the wall because they will be unable to carry out modification and even basic servicing without dealerships becoming involved.”
Ms Prendergast received a petition with 5,000 signatures from motorcyclists at Dáil Éireann which she will forward to the European Parliament Committee considering the proposals