The regulatory framework

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/refuelling 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 the second half of 2013, ACEM (the European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers), on specific request of Piaggio, announced its support for the electrical recharging connector, currently used in Italy, to become the single interface between vehicles and charging stations for all EU countries.

In March, Regulation 168/2013 on the type-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).

Discussions continued between the Commission, EU Council, industry and other stakeholders concerning the other three Delegated Acts that will complete the regulatory framework for future type-approvals and will concern environmental performance, vehicle construction requirements, as well as administrative requirements relating to the type-approval procedure, while at the beginning of November, the first of the Delegated Acts resulting from Regulation 168/2013 (relative to the functional safety requirements of vehicles) was approved.

At the end of November, the EU Commission published the specific directive that will introduce Euro 3 emission limits, as from July 2014, for newly type-approved scooters and mopeds (until the end of 2017, newly registered scooters and mopeds will not have to comply with these limits), and the obligation for an automatic headlamp on (AHO) or daytime running lights (DRL) for all L category vehicles. This directive is numbered 60/2013/EU.

In May, the European Parliament Transport Committee rejected the proposal of the European Commission to introduce a common minimum standard for a regular road worthiness test for two-wheeler vehicles. The European Parliament instead voted in favour of the "road worthiness package", in plenary session last July; the package includes requirements at an EU level on the frequency of testing (on safety, pollution, etc.) in order for vehicles to still be able to transit. At the end of December, a Commission, Parliament and EU Council compromise text was drawn up, based on which the requirements initially proposed by the Commission were simplified. In fact:

  • the obligation will only concern motorcycles, three-wheelers and four-wheelers with an engine above 125cc (so nearly all mopeds, scooters and motorcycles up to 125cc are excluded);
  • the obligation for these vehicles will only come into force from 2022 onwards;
  • Member States may defer the obligation to carry out periodic controls if they have adopted alternative road safety measures (not further specified).

At present, only some countries have decided on and adopted national laws on the road worthiness of scooters, mopeds and motorcycles, and Italy ranks among these, as from 2001.

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.

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 above 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 test 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 Gazzetta Ufficiale, no. 36. Incentives are for the purchase of environmentally-friendly two-, three- and four-wheeler vehicles (electric, hybrid, LPG, natural gas, biogas, biofuel and hydrogen vehicles, mainly for use by third parties, companies and small businesses) that produce CO2 exhaust emissions not above 120 g/km. The incentives started on 14 March 2013.
A subsidy equal to 20% of the price was allocated for 2013, with a maximum limit that differs depending on the category of vehicle purchased.
At the end of 2013, only a small part of government funds made available had been used, and for this reason the Ministry for Economic Development is assessing changes to make to the law, for 2014, so that the incentives may be used more easily by a larger number of the population.
Commercial vehicles, two-wheelers and low-polluting cars are included in the incentive campaign promoted by the Ministry for Economic Development.

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. The key issue of the consultation - which ANFIA also took part in (of which Piaggio is a member) - was the need to develop a network of infrastructures that can guarantee minimum uniform levels of accessibility to the electrical 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 and sanction wrong behaviour on the roads, i.e. using mobile phones while driving, and to apply strict 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.
  • Piaggio and ANCMA (the National Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers) will actively continue to monitor the progress of the proposal. 

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. ANCMA has also submitted a package of amendments concerning two-wheeler mobility and user safety.

At the end of October, the Municipality of Rome accepted the request from Confindustria, the Confederation of Italian Industry, ANCMA and F.M.I, the Italian Motorcycling Federation, to continue to allow four-stroke mopeds, scooters and motorcycles that meet Euro 1 standards, to transit within the ZTL Anello Ferroviario area.
So, owners of motorcycles mopeds and scooters still have several months before having to switch to vehicles that meet Euro 2 standards, with the new deadline set for 31 March 2014. The Rome authorities, in conjunction with the Region of Lazio, have also set aside funds to encourage owners to change their Euro 1 vehicles.

On 24 October 2013, the Ministry for Economic Development, with main industry representatives, including ANFIA and ANCMA) established Consulta Automotive, a government body in which different industry players, comprising specific work teams, are consulted on key issues for the industry's future: R&D and innovation, fair trade, sustainable mobility, market support and industrial re-qualification. The aim is to relaunch the automotive sector, which is fundamental for Italian industry, particularly affected by the economic crisis of the last few years.

In 2012, the French authorities had published a protocol establishing specifications for motorcyclist clothing, to ensure protection. This protocol is based on a CEN standard for professional motorcyclists' clothing and is therefore very strict. 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.
To overcome this situation, ACEM initiated talks in early 2013 with the European Commission, requesting all EU members states, including France, to refrain from unilaterally implementing national provisions and instead wait for the European standard, currently being developed, to be published. In the second half of the year, discussions on this matter continued between the French Government, EU Commission and trade associations (ACEM and the French Association CSIAM). However, France does not seem prepared to change its national provisions, at least not until the European standard has been updated. In the meantime, the French Ministry for Employment will produce a document explaining obligations for labelling clothing, that will clarify, at least partially, the complex situation that has arisen in the country.
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 force, however it cancelled the fine for not having the breathalyser.

In the last few 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 for cars) as from January 2015. In the second half of 2013, the system was tested and considered ready to go into use as scheduled.

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.

NHTSA has announced that the Final Rule will be published in March 2015.

In 2013, the Ministry of Transport did not announce any new changes to the Central Motor Vehicle Rules in force.

In 2012, the Vietnamese government proposed extending the two-wheeler vehicle registration tax already adopted in Hanoi to the province of Ho Chi Minh. 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). This proposal has not yet become law.
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 below 100cc;
  • an annual tax of 150,000 VND (equal to approximately €6) for two-wheelers above 100cc.

In Hanoi, a road maintenance tax was introduced in July 2013. The annual amount for vehicles with an engine below 100cc is equal to 100,000 VND (approximately €3.5); for vehicles with an engine above 100cc, the tax is 150,000 VND (approximately €6).
Although approved by the Government at the start of the year as a proposal, the Plan to develop road traffic in Vietnam from 2013 to 2020 has not produced any tangible effects. The main objectives of the Plan 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.

As from 1 August 2013, newly approved motorcycles must comply with Euro 3 emission standards currently in force in the EU. As from the beginning of 2015, the provision will become mandatory for newly registered motorcycles. 

South Korea
In the second half of 2013, the UN continued to discuss the Korean Government's proposal to produce a global Regulation, based on existing Korean standards, for air quality in the driver and passenger compartment of road vehicles. Many vehicle manufacturers already adopt their own measures to check for possible hazardous substances produced by materials used for vehicle interiors. 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.

In September 2013, the test cycle used to control pollutant emissions was changed. From the choice between the Japanese Hesei 19 mode and the WMTC (World Motorcycle Test Cycle), it is now mandatory to use the latter procedure.