What has FEMA got to do with motorcycles?
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is not the only FEMA acronym around. The one we’re interested in is located in Europe. As you probably know (or should), Europe is divided into many different countries, each with its own motorcycle lobby group/association. Since 27 of the European countries are more or less run out of Brussels, protecting the biker rights in Europe is not an easy task.
FEMA, Federation of European Motorcycle Associations is the grouping of most national motorcycle associations (23 of them). FEMA represent the motorcycle riders rights in Europe (and at the United Nations). You can consider them like a European version of the AMA.
FEMA was created 20 years ago by 6 individuals, who while shooting the breeze, decided that their rights were being trampled upon by the politicians. Instead of moaning and complaining, they decided to do something about it, and created an organization. The resulting organization they created is now called FEMA.
Mission & Objectives
FEMA has as mission to stop the discrimination towards bikers, and looks for an equal treatment by law enforcement agencies. They oppose laws that prevent age limits for bikers that are not the same as for cars, and they also are promoting fiscal incentives for the use of motorcycles.
One key point, and a recent major victory, is the adapting of the road infrastructure standard in Europe. FEMA were instrumental in the adoption of resolution 319, which is the development of a European Standard for highway safety barriers. Most safety (crash) barriers in Europe are not biker friendly, and tend to decapitate a motorcycle rider that has crashed. The new barriers will prevent that. This has been a major victory for bikers in Europe.
Another area FEMA is very active, is in rider training. They are proposing a standard, European-level, biker training. A lot of work has been done by specialists in the definition of a comprehensive training program.
Click here to read their mission and objectives: femaridersrights
One of the more pleasant act ivies organized by FEMA, is an annual motorcycle ride-out with members of the European Parliament (MEP). Every year, they take 20 or so (volunteer) politicians for a ride in Brussels (or Strasbourg, the other location for the European Parliament), either the politician on his/her own bike, or as a pillion. This way, the politician will know what it is like being on a motorcycle. It makes sense doesn’t it? If you’re making a law that changes bikers rights, shouldn’t you know what it’s like being a biker first?
FEMA also run, or sponsor, major safety initiatives. Their latest is the SafeRider forum, which aims at providing advanced telematics for enhancing the safety and comfort of motorcycle riders. They are striving to define electronics that can be fitted on a motorcycle that will make riding safer.
The organization also maintains a list of lawyers specialized in assisting motorcycle in their rights in each country.
FEMA have a permanent staff of 5, run by their President, Hans Peter Strifeldt. They are supplemented by staff from the national associations when called for.
All-in-all, FEMA is good for bikers. They look after our rights in a highly political world, making sure that any law that effects our passion, is positive towards us.
Now that’s something the “other” FEMA doesn’t do!