EU to add more red-tape with motorcycle End-of-Life legislation

The EU is looking to add further bureaucracy to the two-wheeled world, which could lead to motorcycle ‘recycling’ only taking place at ‘treatment facilities’

Motorcycle Graveyard
Motorcycle Graveyard

MOTORCYCLES by their nature are pretty efficient beasts. On the road, they cut traffic and congestion, and at the pumps, a motorcycle uses less fuel and generates less in the way of harmful emissions.

But once a motorcycle, as an object, has come to the end of its usable life, it continues to be useful, with many bikes eventually being broken down, and sold on for parts. It’s this practice that is in the EU’s crosshairs, as new End-of-Life Vehicle legislation could put a stop to this being privately done.

Motorcycle End-of-Life Vehicle legislation explained

As it stands, cars when they reach the end of their usable lives must be recycled at approved treatment facilities, such as scrap yards and breakers yards. Here the many harmful substances within the car can be disposed of in a safe and environmentally friendly manner. That’s not to say that breaking at home, or in small-scale non-licenced premises doesn’t take place, it’s just very under the radar.

The official treatment facilities (breakers to you and I) can then ensure that any heavy metals, corrosive and dangerous fluids and any other harmful substances can be disposed of in a safe way.

A motorcycle is, as it stands, not included in this end-of-life legislation, although as the BMF reports, that could be about change.

Motorcycle Graveyard
Motorcycle Graveyard

The directive being discussed would prevent the use of heavy metals such as cadmium and require fluids taken from the machine to be disposed of in a certain way. It really is all very sensible stuff that you can’t really argue with – but it’s the stats behind the plan that seems to make no sense.

A Swedish survey of five scrapyards concluded that of the 500 to 700 motorcycles they recycled per year, between 80 and 100 precent of the bike was recycled. Parts were refurbished or re-sold as they were, and the components went on to play a part in keeping another vehicle on the road – quite possibly something else the EU want to reduce.

The move, if it was adopted, would also cause a nightmare for vintage and classic motorcycle enthusiasts, who in many cases wouldn’t be able to keep their bikes on the road were it not for salvaged and refurbished parts. FEMA, backed by the BMF is calling for recycling at home to be allowed under the legislation and is calling for classic and vintage motorcycles to be exempt.

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