UK Motorcycle Group Leaves European Motorcyclists’ Federation

The UK Motorcycle Action Group has announced its decision to leave the Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations

A motorcycle being ridden along a road

The justification MAG has given for leaving FEMA is to do with the end of sales of combustion bikes, and what MAG sees as a non-total opposition to that. 

FEMA’s position is highlighted, according to MAG, by the federation’s acceptance of a “manifesto” with the FIM, the global governing body of motorcycle sport, and ACEM, the European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers, which regards the end of sales for fossil-fueled motorcycles. MAG says the FEMA board “has now presented [the manifesto] to its member organisations as a diktat,” and that FEMA members have been told that discussion on the manifesto is not welcome. The manifesto prompted a vote of the MAG UK National Committee, which unanimously voted for MAG to leave FEMA with immediate effect.

MAG says it has a “complete lack of confidence in FEMA,” and believes that “FEMA no longer represents the interests of motorcyclists.”

MAG Chair Neil Liversidge says that FEMA’s organisation with the FIM and ACEM to not oppose the end of sales of fossil-fueled motorcycles is a “gutless betrayal” of motorcyclists by the European federation. 

Mr. Liversidge said: “No way does this document accurately represent the vast majority of riders’ views on forced electrification. FIM has concocted it, ACEM has watered it down, and FEMA’s Board has waved it through with no involvement from FEMA’s National Member Organisations.

“What it does make clear is that democracy is dead in FEMA, and with it the independent European Riders’ Rights Movement. For ten years FIM has connived to control FEMA. It has now succeeded through the agency of self-interested people who have subverted it for their FIM paymasters. Now FIM will do what big business always does; adopt the path of least friction with governments and supra-national authorities, selling riders out in the process.

“MAG is proud of its achievements for European riders in the 35 years since we founded FEM. We shall not be putting our name to this gutless betrayal.”

Visordown contacted FEMA regarding MAG’s departure from the federation and the manifesto the group mentions. 

Odd Terje Dovik, FEMA President, responded and admitted that “I do indeed regret that MAG UK has decided to leave FEMA. MAG UK has been an important and integral part of FEMA for many years, and I am sad to see them leave. Having said that, I fully respect their decision, and know they will continue to work for our common cause: motorcyclists’ rights.”

Mr. Dovik, however, said that MAG is “wrong on several counts” with regards to the manifesto. He told Visordown that the “Motorcycle Manifesto”, which he described as a “joint effort between FEMA, FIM, and ACEM,” will be published on 7 May, and that it “merely argues for ‘technological neutrality to support zero emissions urban riding or carbon-neutral e-fuels for longer distances.’”

He said that the manifesto “has not been written by the FIM,” and that it “is not specifically addressing any ban on ICE motorcycles.”  The FEMA President said that the manifesto has been produced “with a view to the upcoming EU Parliament election on 6-9 June.” Additionally, Mr. Dovik admitted that there was no vote held on the manifesto, but explained that this was because “there is nothing new here. The manifesto is a statement of established positions, put together for one specific purpose, namely the upcoming EU election.”

Mr. Dovik said that the FEMA committee decided to make the final decision on the manifesto at FEMA’s Spring Meeting on 1 June after the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in February, where it was presented in draft form. Additionally, statements were made regarding what Mr. Dovik calls “the ICE issue” by both MAG and FEMA at the AGM. 

Mr. Dovik said: “In preparation for this meeting, both MAG UK and FEMA’s board had prepared a statement on the ICE-issue. 

“The two statements were remarkably similar, but I think it is fair to say that MAG UK's wording was a bit ‘stronger’ and perhaps less ‘diplomatic’ than the text proposed by the FEMA board.”

Mr. Dovik said that MAG’s statement was “an ultimatum: Either you accept our proposal, or we leave the organisation. That is not democracy. That is blackmail.”

Mr. Dovik concluded: “I suspect that MAG UK’s primary gripe is not the FEMA-FIM-ACEM manifesto, but rather the discussion on the issue at FEMAs Annual General Meeting in February.”

Although MAG has “withheld their membership fee for 2024,” according to Mr. Dovik, he said that the UK group was nonetheless invited to the federation’s Spring Meeting where the final decision on the manifesto will be made. 

Visordown also asked Mr. Dovik about some of the accusations levelled by MAG and Mr. Liversidge at FEMA.

In response to Mr. Liversidge’s accusation of FIM control over FEMA, Mr. Dovik was absolute. “I believe you English have a word for this: bollocks,” he said. “Anyone who thinks this is the case (that the FIM controls FEMA) is hereby invited to attend the Spring Meeting as an observer and see for yourself.

“In the meantime, Mr. Liversidge should provide some evidence, or at least some examples, to back up his frivolous claim.”

Mr. Dovik was similarly direct in his response to the accusation by Mr. Liversidge that FEMA’s democracy is “dead”.

“That’s bullshit,” he said. “The FEMA democracy is very much alive. It allows every single member organisation to put whatever they like before the full committee. They’re allowed to present and argue for their proposal. And then there is a vote. If there is a majority, the proposal is approved. If not, it is rejected. That is democracy.”

MAG’s decision to leave FEMA comes after the British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF) also decided to leave last year due to Brexit.

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