The regulatory framework

European Union

In January, the European Commission published a proposal for the “Clean Power Directive” whose purpose is to establish alternative fuel infrastructures in the European community and harmonize technical specifications for such infrastructures throughout Europe. The directive would require each Country to have a minimum number of infrastructures for electrical, hydrogen and gas-run vehicle recharging, and define all common technical characteristics for interfaces between recharging points and vehicles. The aim is to boost the market and contribute with this initiative to increasing the number of environmentally friendly vehicles in use.

In March, Regulation 168/2013 on the approval and market surveillance of two- or three-wheeler vehicles and quadricycles was published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The requirements of the regulation will come into force, for newly approved vehicles, in January 2016 (in January 2017 for vehicles already approved). The European Commission, Council, Industry and other stakeholders are involved in discussions concerning the four Delegated Acts that will complete the legal framework for new type approvals. These Delegated Acts will concern environmental performance, functional safety and vehicle construction requirements, as well as administrative requirements concerning the type-approval procedure.
The EU Commission is still finalising the specific directive that will introduce Euro 3 emission limits, as from July 2014, for newly approved scooters (newly registered vehicles will not have to be upgraded to this stage), and the obligation for an automatic headlamp on (AHO) or daytime running lights (DRL)) for all L category vehicles.

In May, the European Parliament Transport Committee rejected the proposal of the European Commission to introduce a common minimum standard for a regular roadworthiness test for two-wheeler vehicles. The "roadworthiness package" contains requirements at an EU level on the frequency of testing (on safety, pollution, etc.) in order for vehicles to still be able to circulate. The package still has to be voted by the European Parliament in plenary session, but at present Transport Committee members have expressed a preference for each Member State to regulate requirements concerning roadworthiness tests. At present, only some countries have adopted national laws on the roadworthiness of scooters, mopeds and motorcycles, including Italy.

In June, the European Commission presented a bill for the mandatory installation of the eCall (emergency call) system on board newly approved vehicles and light transport commercial vehicles as from 1 October 2015. The system is able to automatically dial the single European emergency number 112, in the event of a road accident, and report the vehicle's position to the emergency services. In order to establish and develop this system, the Commission has proposed two regulatory measures:

  • a regulation on type approval specifications necessary to make vehicles suitable for the system;
  • a decision to introduce an interoperable emergency call system to make public infrastructures suitable for interacting with the eCall system.
 

Italy

In Italy, as in all EU Member States, the new European licence came into force on 19 January 2013. An AM category licence has been introduced for riding a moped at 14 years' old; no changes have been made to the A1 licence (125cc up to 11kW). Compared to previous regulations, holders of a new A2 licence (known as a "limited" A licence up until last year), can now ride a two-wheeler with a maximum power of 35 kW (rather than 25 kW for the "limited" A licence). The maximum category A licence may be awarded to people who have held an A2 licence for at least two years, only from 24 years of age (no longer 21 years of age). Three-wheelers may be driven in Italy with a car licence (B licence), on condition that the three-wheeler has a power > 15 kW, and the driver is at least 21 years' old. Persons who obtained their driving licence before 18 January 2013, must observe regulations in force at the time their licence was awarded.

In January, decrees implementing regulations of the Ministry of Transport were published, on procedures for AM, A1, A2 and A licence tests.

New aspects concern test manoeuvres, which have been updated to EU requirements for higher category licences as concerns previous manoeuvres:

  •  the slalom has been integrated with a cone turn manoeuvre;
  • a speed of 30 km/h has been set for the braking test;
  •  the figure of eight has been replaced by a new obstacle avoidance manoeuvre;

Transit through a narrow pathway remains, from existing manoeuvres, but with some changes.

On 12 February 2013, the Decree implementing regulations on incentives to purchase total low emission vehicles, as of article 17-bis of law decree no. 83 of 22 June 2012 amended by law no. 134 of 7 August 2012 was published in the Official Gazette, no. 36. Incentives are for the purchase of environmentally-friendly two-, three- and four-wheeler electric, hybrid, LPG, natural gas, biogas, biofuel and hydrogen vehicles that produce CO2 exhaust emissions below 120 g/km (mainly for use by third parties, companies and small businesses); the incentives started on 14 March 2013.

A subsidy equal to 20% of the price has been allocated for 2013, with a maximum limit that differs depending on the category of vehicle purchased.
At present, funds are still available for all vehicle categories if purchased by businesses.

Commercial vehicles, as well as two-wheelers and cars with a decreased polluting effect are covered by the incentive scheme promoted by the Ministry for Economic Development, which was launched in March based on law no. 134 of 7 August 2012.

This law (no. 134 of 7 August 2012, article 17 septies of Section IV-bis - Provisions to promote the development of mobility through total low emission vehicles), also appointed the Ministry of Infrastructures and Transport to produce and propose a National Plan for Electric Vehicle Recharging Infrastructures (PNIRE). In this context, the Ministry of Infrastructures and Transport began an online consultation in April, open to the public and other parties concerned, to collect proposals on the best way to promote the use of electric vehicles. A key issue of the consultation, in which the industry association ANFIA (Piaggio is a member) took part - was the need to develop a core network of infrastructures to guarantee minimum uniform levels of access to the electric vehicle recharging service. In June, a report on the results of the Public Consultation was published on the Internet site of the Ministry of Infrastructures and Transport.

The session of 11 June presented a solution on road safety to the Italian Parliament's IX Transport Committee, in which the Government will commit to:

  • developing road network infrastructures that are safer, with impact attenuators (e.g. guard rails), prioritising roads with high two-wheeler accident figures; 
  • requesting and promoting the use of active and passive safety devices in vehicles; 
  • promoting the increase of smart technologies on all roads (Intelligent Transport Systems - ITS); 
  • improving education and training of road users, also through driving/riding simulators; 
  • increasing controls, so as to discourage wrong behaviour on the roads, i.e. using mobile phones while driving, and to apply stricter penalties;
  • improving road lighting conditions, using the latest knowledge and state-of-the-art technologies;
  • taking initiatives to guarantee the ongoing and efficient maintenance of road networks, to reduce the number of injuries, and improve the safety of motorcyclists. 

Parliament's IX Committee resumed its examination of the proposed Consolidated Act (T.U.) on the highway code reform, after proceedings stopped at the end of 2012, due to the sudden interruption of the previous legislature. The proposed T.U. will deregulate a part of the highway code to speed up procedures to change technical requirements which are more likely to be frequently updated in order to comply with EU or international laws coming into force.

 

France

In 2012, market surveillance authorities conducted a campaign testing the protective clothing of motorcyclists available on the market, and established a need for a national protocol for this product category that defines minimum safety levels in order for clothing to be defined as "protective" This protocol is strict as it is based on a standard for professional motorcyclists' clothing. As it is the only protocol of its kind in Europe, it clashes with the principle of a free market in Europe, and the free circulation of goods within the EU.
ACEM, the European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers (of which Piaggio is a member), initiated talks with the European Commission in early 2013, requesting that all EU Member States, including France, do not unilaterally adopt the national requirements and wait instead for the European standard on this issue, currently under development, to be published. ACEM also requested a suitable time frame before the European standard becomes mandatory, so as to enable manufacturers of this kind of clothing to adapt to the new requirements.

In 2012, the Interministerial Committee for Road Safety (CISR) established that all drivers of vehicles, including motorcycles (excluding mopeds), must have a breathalyser on board. This obligation was then suspended by the Ministry of the Interior and deferred to spring 2013, in order for the CISR to investigate the suitability of this measure.

A new decree, published in France's Official Gazette (Journal Officiel de la République Française) on 1 March 2013 established that the regulation will remain in effect, however it cancelled the fine for not having the breathalyser.

 

Russia

In recent years, the Russian government has assessed the possibility of introducing an emergency call system in Russia, for use in the case of accidents. The service is called ERA GLONASS (Emergency Road Assistance based on a Global Navigation Satellite System) and, in view of talks held in the first half of 2013 with OICA (the International Organisation for Car Manufacturers), it appears that Russia will make the system operative (and mandatory on vehicles) as from January 2015.

 

USA

The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to establish a new federal standard for vehicle safety, standard N.141 “Minimum requirements for the noise levels of hybrid and electric vehicles". These requirements could also affect motorcycles, but the NHTSA has pointed out that many specific factors of two-wheelers must be considered when discussing the standard:

  • current sound emission levels could already be sufficient in order for a pedestrian to realise an electric motorcycle is approaching and thus avoid a collision;
  • the likelihood that an accident occurs with a hybrid or electric motorcycle compared to a motorcycle with a conventional engine;
  • the different methodology to adopt to measure sound emissions of these motorcycles compared to the methodology adopted for electric or hybrid cars.
 

Vietnam

In 2012, the Vietnamese government proposed extending the two-wheeler vehicle registration tax already adopted in Hanoi to the province of Ho Chi Minh. This proposal has not yet become law. The tax would vary, depending on the vehicle value, from a maximum of 4 million Dong (equal to approximately €150) to a minimum of 2 million Dong (approximately €75).

As from January 2014, a road maintenance tax will become mandatory in the province of Ho Chi Minh. There will be two tax brackets:

  • an annual tax of 60,000 VND (equal to approximately €2) for two-wheelers 100cc.
  • an annual tax of 150,000 VND (equal to approximately ?6) for two-wheelers >100cc.

On 25 February, the Government approved a Plan for road traffic development in Vietnam from 2013 to 2020, including guidelines in view of 2030. The Plan's objectives include:

  • the control and reduction of accidents;
  • a reduction of environmental pollution;
  • the development of urban infrastructures;
  • regulation of the growing number of motorcycles, through administrative, economic and technical measures.
 

Indonesia

The Indonesian Ministry for the Environment established that newly approved motorcycles must comply with Euro 3 emission standards in force in the EU, as from 1 August 2013. After two years, i.e. in August 2015, the regulation will become mandatory for newly registered motorcycles.

 

South Korea

In June, the Korean government presented a proposal for a new regulation on air quality inside road vehicles to the UN working party, GRPE (Working Party on Pollution and Energy). The purpose of the regulation would be to establish a standard to protect drivers and passengers from hazardous substances emitted by materials inside vehicles and to standardise the method to measure these emissions. Many vehicle manufacturers already adopt their own measures to check for possible hazardous substances produced by materials used for vehicle interiors. Korea and China already have national guidelines. The aim of proposing a Regulation to the UN is to provide a single global standard that can guarantee drivers and passengers the best driving environment, and at the same time, allow for a more efficient management of this construction aspect by the automotive industry, by unifying different existing standards.