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Lyon to amend EU rules on farm quad bikes

October 25, 2011 4:14 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

George Lyon, Liberal Democrat MEP for Scotland, has tabled amendments to proposed European legislation on motorbikes and quads that could have a serious knock-on effect on Scottish farmers.

George Lyon MEPGeorge Lyon MEPThe Commission has put forward proposals intended to improve safety, market competition and to reduce the complexity of existing rules governing motorbikes and quads. These obligatory safety standards will require manufacturers to bring all new quads up to full road safety specifications.

That would mean farm quads would be required to fit a rear differential, to have a reduced wheel base, limited engine power, noise and emission controls and complicated electronic systems designed for road traffic.

The proposals, at present, fail to make a distinction between All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) used on roads and quads for on farm use.

The manufacturers have warned that this will drive up the cost of quads in terms of insurance, maintenance, increase import taxes and force farmers to license them. The NFU estimate that these technical measures could increase the cost price of farm quads by 40-60%.

Commenting, Mr Lyon said:

"Quad bikes are an indispensable tool for the farming, forestry and construction industry.

"Farmers use them seven days a week to inspect stock, haul feed and drive cattle and sheep back and forward from farm to fields.

"If this proposal becomes law then many farmers and foresters will be faced with a huge rise in the cost of the bike; insurance costs will go up, maintenance costs will go up and taxes will go up.

"To make matters worse these road-spec bikes will be higher off the ground making them less stable on steep ground and, with a rear differential instead of a fixed back axle, they are likely to lose traction on undulating ground. To cap it all they are likely to be heavier and less powerful.

"The European Commission has failed to make a distinction between quads, used for vital farm work, and ATVs which are used as road recreational vehicles.

"I have tabled amendments that will recognize this crucial difference and allow manufacturers to continue making quad bikes that are tailored to the needs of the farming and forestry industry."