Several publications are reporting the possibility that the European Commission (EC) could be preparing to implement a European-wide limit of 100HP on motorcycles when the European executive power meets this summer. The issue arises after France instituted a 100HP ban on new motorcycles, causing the country to be out of line with the rest of European Union. France’s new law places an undue burden on manufacturers, who must now make a French variant for each new EU motorcycle model (or just not offer the bike in the French market all-together), and as such the EC aims to bring the EU under one policy.
This has created cause for alarm in the industry (or just in sensationalist journalists) who fear that the EC could place 100HP limits across the entire EU, along with other hindering provisions as well (mandatory ABS brakes seems to be the other main concern), in order to bring balance to the Union’s approach on motorcycles. If that sounds ridiculous to you, then you’re in the same boast as us. Considering how the EC and EU directives, regulations, and decisions actually operate, the real likelihood seems to be the possibility of France’s law being repealed, but that doesn’t mean activists have any less cause for alarm.
There are several examples one can pull from for legal precedent where the EC has found a member state’s own regulations to be in conflict with the equal application of trade and commerce within the European Union. These cases should give motorcycle proponents strong ammunition to avoid an EU-wide power limit, and could even override the French statute as a disruption to the free trade that occurs within EU member states.
However the issue at stake is an even larger bone of contention, as high-performance sport bikes ridden by steet hooligans have caused a backlash in Europe. Motorcyclists looking to show off, or who would rather not take it to the track have created attention to high-performance motorcycles, and not in a good way. There is a growing negative sentiment in Europe towards sport bikes, and this French law limiting horsepower is a prime example of that sentiment turning to action.
With all these factors coming into play, there is cause for concern that some EU-level decision to curtail these activities could be handed down, under the guise of making the streets and motorcycling itself safer. Should the EC concur with this general sentiment, changes could be instituted; however we would expect a fight all the way to the European Court of Justice no matter what plan is instituted. While we believe the French law will almost certainly be repealed, it does signal a growing trend that the EC could adopt.
Source: Bikes in the Fast Lane, MCN , MotoRevue; Photo: ErrorTribune (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic)