Bikers in convoy for EU protest...
PUBLISHED: 17:00 28 September 2011
HUNDREDS of Somerset bikers protested against EU proposals aimed at motorcycling by riding along the M5 in convoy on Sunday.
The ride, organised by the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) started at Sedgemoor Services near Burnham. Using the inside lane of the motorway, the bikers rode out at 45mph for 20 minutes before dispersing.
They wanted to highlight proposed EU regulations which threaten the right of motorbike owners to modify their machines and single out motorcycles for regular roadside checks.
One of the riders protesting against the legislation was James Gray, aged 55, of Bransby Way, Weston.
He said: “The proposed legislation is not drafted by the House of Commons in the UK, but by people who have no idea of the concerns bikers face every day.
“The set of proposals from Brussels dictates what motorcyclists should wear and it annoys me that bureaucrats are fiddling around the edges and no-one is concentrating on the dangers bikers experience.
“I think harsher penalties should be given by the police to people who text on their mobiles while driving, and pose a danger to bikers.”
The Somerset convoy was one of about 70 which took place around the UK at the same time.
Another biker among the convoy was Jennifer Jones, of Worle, who is a civil servant and has nine bikes in her household.
She said: “I have been biking since I was a teenager. My husband, son and I have bikes and it’s a way of life. These changes would affect my whole family.
“Many people have certain assumptions about bikers but they are people from all walks of life.”
Motorcycle Action Group campaigns manager, Paddy Tyson, said: “The motorcycle industry has been under severe pressure recently with new licensing directives discouraging riders. What our congested roads need are more bikes, not increased legislation to discourage them.”
In addition to the EU proposals, legislation in France will undermine motorcycling as a way of transport and the rights of those who ride. It intends to make all bikers wear high visibility clothing, stop them weaving between cars in traffic jams and ban bikes which are over seven years old from being ridden in urban areas. These regulations will also apply to riders visiting from abroad.
Mr Tyson said: “The French Government has failed to provide research to support its ideas and MAG is concerned that the insurance industry in the UK may impose compulsion when educating all road users in hazard avoidance would be more effective”.