The European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of new rules that would increase emission standards and make anti-lock braking systems mandatory for all new large motorcycles, scooters and trikes and quads by 2016. The new regulations, which would still need approval from European Union member states, may only directly affect Europe, but they will have a wide-reaching affect on manufacturers’ product development for other markets. BMW, for example, has already made ABS standard for all its motorcycles for 2013.

Approved by a vote of 643 in favor and 16 against with 18 abstentions, the new rules would make ABS required for new street bikes produced in 2016 and beyond with engine displacements larger than 125cc. Smaller motorcycles will be required to have either ABS or a combined braking system. The European Parliament will revisit the issue pending a report on cost-effectiveness for ABS on smaller vehicles, expected for completion by 2019.

The legislation would also extend Euro 4 emission standards to new motorcycles by 2016 and Euro 5 by 2020. Motorcycles currently have to meet Euro 3 restrictions but the Euro 4 standard further tightens standards for carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides. By 2020, motorcycles will fall under the even stricter Euro 5 standard, meeting even lower nitrogen oxide levels and a new restriction for non-methane hydrocarbons.

Another new legislation is the repeal of previous regulation allowing European Union member states to restrict the maximum output of motorcycles to 100 hp. Until now, France was the only country making use of this restriction.

Other regulations adopted under the new legislation include the automatic activation of lighting when engines are started and the gradual introduction of advanced on-board diagnostics systems to monitor malfunctions and make emissions data more easily available.

[Source: European Parliament]