FEMA Spring Meeting 2017
BMF Chairman Jim Freeman reports on the FEMA spring meeting.
The BMF’s delegates joined their colleagues from across Europe for the FEMA Spring Meeting; held in Limassol, Cyprus, on June 10 2017. The event was hosted by the newest FEMA member, the Cyprus Motorcycle Rights Club (CMRC), who only joined in 2016. The organisation, led by their charismatic leader Marios Constantinides, did a fantastic job of making all the delegates welcome, with great enthusiasm and efficiency.
The delegates came from 13 organisations in 11 different countries. The meeting was chaired by the FEMA President, Anna Zee (the BMF’s Political and Technical Services Director and acting as the current Government Relations Executive). The BMF delegate was the Chairman, Jim Freeman, also attending in his role as FEMA treasurer.
FEMA in Cyprus
The first presentation was made by Mrs Kofterou of the Cypriot Ministry of Transportation (a minor victory in itself, as CMRC had been trying to arrange a meeting for several months). The situation regarding rider’s rights, not to mention dialogue with government, is by common agreement about 20 years behind most other European countries. FEMA membership has enhanced CMRC’s credibility at government level; Mrs Kofterou acknowledged that CMRC consultation before executive and legislative action, normal in other European countries, might be an excellent idea in Cyprus too.
Particular areas of concern for CMRC were differing standards for motorcyclists and car drivers, infrastructure and enforcement. For example, the blood/alcohol levels permitted for car drivers are four times greater than for riders – a blatant discrimination. Road surfaces are another area for concern: a rider’s death, after he lost control on a wet granite road surface, was dismissed by the local authority on the grounds that tarmac and granite were equal in grip, an assertion made without any supporting evidence. Discriminatory enforcement, where police only acted against motorcyclists while letting cars commit identical offences, is commonplace.
Motorcycling in Europe and celebrating success
Other presentations included sound emissions, Cooperative Intelligent Transportation Systems (C-ITS), FEMA-FIM Europe cooperation, Safer Roads, taxation in Norway and the progress of the FEMA Infrastructure Campaign.
On a more personal note, Morten Hansen was made a life-time member of the SMC (Sveriges MotorCyklister), with a presentation by Maria Nordqvist of SMC. Morten has been the General Secretary of the NMCU (Norsk Motorcykkel Union) for 25 years, a founder delegate to FEMA and a massive contributor to motorcycling both nationally and internationally. Morten’s natural modesty meant that Maria’s presentation came as a surprise; if not to the rest of the Committee, certainly to the recipient himself.