The changes in the Road Traffic Act (StVO) concerning „Winter tyre use “ have caught motorcycle riders including us at the BVDM (National association of Motorcyclists) unawares, so that we, according to the announcement by the Ministry of Transport are to be deliberately included in the new winter tyre law which is practically impossible for motorcyclists to conform with.
A mistake in the law making process, which has been hastily carried out due to a court order which proves the impractibility of the prevailing winter tyre law and which seems to make the application of § 2 Abs. 3a of the new Road Traffic Act not mandatory for powered two wheelers.
According to the relevant references to the European Union Directives the legal text deals only with four whelel vehicles and their tyres
This was probably not the intention of the law makers, but their intentions do not substitute a clear definition of the law which in our opinion is not the case here. Contrary to all reports concerning compulsory winter tyres including powered two wheelers this law will probably have no legal standing. On the other hand we are aware that this situation will cause stress, aggravation and heated discussions at traffic checks and lead finally to decisions in the courts, because nobody likes to admit their mistakes and failings.
As far as the BVDM is concerned these legal discussions ignore the fact, as welcome as the demand for suitable winter equipment for cars and trucks may be, that in practise there are no suitable winter tyres for motorcyles available.
Unfortunately our association has not been consulted during the law making process as it has been in numerous cases in the past, otherwise we would have pointed out the following facts:
There are practically no winter tyres for motorcyles available on the market. The few winter tyres on offer that bear an M&S mark are almost all designed for use on Enduros and off road machines. They have been designed for low power motorcycles which have a corresponding low weight load and are restricted in their top speed. They are only produced in a few special sizes which are not suitable for the most popular machines on the market. These tyres are only produced in low numbers which are only stocked by a few specialist dealers.
An additional difficulty is the Tyre type regulation as practised in Germany.
The use of these winter tyres is illegal even if the size, load bearing capacity and speed limit index is correct due to the Non EU conform tyre type regulations in force here in Germany, the only possible way would be a costly and timetaking individual acceptance procedure by the TÜV and then having the details entered in the vehicle documents.
Even Austria which due to its´ climatic conditions is more dependant on winter tyres has excluded motorcycles from the winter tyres rule, although they don´t have any tyre type regulations in force.
Therfore we come to the conclusion that to implement the new Winter Tyre Law as described in the press releases means a total ban on driving motorcycles during the weather conditions they describe.
Legal mistakes as basis for the non validity of the " Compulsory Use of Winter Tyres" for Powered Two Wheelers
In our opinion the changes to the Road Traffic Act (StVO) concerning the "Compulsory Use of Winter Tyres" for motorcyles are invalid due to the following legal mistakes:
§ 2 Abs. 3a StVO in the new edition states:
„Vehicular use of Roads".
In weather conditions of ice, snow, slush and frost a vehicle may only be used which is fitted with tyres that meet the characteristics as laid down in the attachment to Guideline 92/23/EWG of the Council from 31. March 1992 concerning Tyres for Motorised Vehicles and Trailers and their their fitting (ABl. L 129 from 14.5.1992, S. 95), that has been altered by Guideline 2005/11/EG (ABl. L 46 from 17.2.2005, S. 42) (M+S-Tyres).“
The guideline 92/93/EWG is not valid for motorcycles.
The Guideline 92/93 of the Council from 31. March 1992 deals with tyres for motorised vehicles and their fitting.
The act clearly lays down the area of validity: "The European Union Council - supported by the Agreement of the Founding of the European Economic Community, in particular Article 100a, on the recommendation of the Commision (1), in agreement with the European Parliament (2), according to the conclusion of the Economic and Social Commitee and considering recent developements, laid down the following guideline:
Article 1, In the sense of this Guideline - "Vehicles" means all vehicles covered by Council Guideline 70/156/EWG".
The council guideline from 6 . February 1970 to reconcile the legal regulations of the member states on the type approval of motor vehicles and their trailers.
( 70/156/EWG ).“
The council guideline 70/156 states: “ The European Union Council - supported by the Agreement of the Founding of the European Economic Community, in particular Article 100, on the recommendation of the Commision, in agreement with the European Parliament (1), according to the conclusion of the Economic and Social Commitee (2) and considering recent developements, laid down the following guideline:
Paragraph I Definition of Terms, Article 1:
The vehicles included in this guideline are - with the exception of Rail vehicles and farm tractors and machinery- all vehicles allowed to take part in the road traffic with or without bodywork, having at least four wheels and designed to have a maximum speed of more than 25 km/h as well as their trailers.“
This means that § 2 Abs. 3a StVO does not include motorised two wheel vehicles.
As additional information let it be said that motorcycle tyres are dealt with under Guideline 97/24 with reference in part to Guideline 92/61. Both standards are neither mentioned nor is any reference made to them in the new regulation § 2 Abs. 3a StVO.
Besides the legal discussions and disputes we are aiming for talks with the Ministry of Transport for a clarification of terms, which takes into account the reality of motorcyles using German roads. It is necessary to achieve an official clarification as soon as possible for an exemption for motorcycles due to the practically impossible implementation of the new law.
We will keep you informed of any new developements.
Maurice Anderson 15.12.2010
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