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Dublin: 7°C Saturday 22 January 2022

Irish Bikers protest at "unjust" safety proposals

The bikers were protesting against proposed moves by the EU to introduce new measures such as mandatory high visibility clothing and anti-tamper legislation.

Bikers gather at Dublin City Hall following their protest
Bikers gather at Dublin City Hall following their protest
Image: MAG Ireland

THOUSANDS OF BIKERS gathered around Ireland at the weekend to protest against proposed changes from the EU and the Road Safety Authority.

The protests took place on Saturday and Sunday in Dublin, Limerick, Donegal, Cork, Waterford, Monaghan, Mullingar, Galway and Wexford.

“The protests went very well – we had thousands of bikes out over the two days,” commented MAG Ireland spokesperson Linda O Loideoin. MAG Ireland is the Irish Motorcyclist’s Action Group. “We are just hoping now that people will start sitting up and taking notice and consulting with bikers.”

MAG Ireland and other riders’ rights organisations across Europe protested at what they describe as “unjust and unproven alleged safety proposals being touted by non-riders who simply have no understanding of motorcycles”.

These include the introduction by the RSA of mandatory high-visibility clothing for riders and pillion passengers; an NCT-type test for bikes; EU anti-tamper legislation that affects customisation of bikes; and EU type approval including compulsory ABS.

O Loideoin said that the RSA consulted on their national motorcyle action plan with bikers who responded saying they did not think high-visibility clothing was a good option.

The bikers object to having to wear full high-visibility jackets, saying it places the blame on motorcyclists for car drivers failing to look properly.

They also say the jackets would be too much to wear on top of biking gear and that there should be high-visibility clothing of different colours for different groups.

“We are aware of how vulnerable we are. When we give an answer it is a considered reply, it is not a kneejerk action,” said O Loideoin.

She said that custom bike builders are safety conscious and that making ABS mandatory for all bikes could prove dangerous for smaller bikes or bikes that need to lock their back wheels when driving in certain conditions such as on gravel.

The group is asking people to lobby the Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar, about the issue. They are hoping to meet with the minister soon to discuss their concerns with him.

“Bikes are much greener, they cut congestion in cities,” said O Loideoin, who added that bikers raise about a million euro a year for charity. “We are the only capital city where bikes aren’t given leeway.”

“We’ll continue to protest until we feel we are being listened to.”

EU voting is due on the proposals in October.  Rallies also took place in various cities across Europe at the weekend.

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