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- Eamonn Townsend
6th Motorcycle Ride with Members of the European Parliament MEPs encourage the use of Powered Two-Wheelers
Despite the uncertain weather, several Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) took part in the traditional MEP Motorcycle Ride held on Wednesday 3rd July 2002, departing from the European Parliament in Strasbourg. This year, the event was supported by a cross-party representation of MEPs and the High Patronage of Pat Cox, President of the European Parliament.
This annual event, organised by the Federation of European Motorcyclists' Associations (FEMA) and the Strasbourg section of its French affiliate FFMC, is gaining more and more success amongst the MEPs and Parliamentary staff.
The theme of this year's MEP Motorcycle Ride was Urban Mobility. In many European cities mobility is a growing problem. FEMA wished to show to the Members of the European elected body why so many people are turning to Powered Two-Wheelers (PTWs), as a solution to improve their mobility in congested towns. Therefore, FEMA is asking PTWs to be properly considered in the White Paper on the European Union Transport Policy for 2010.
Over 200 participants attended the event, including several MEPs who took a bike or rode as passengers to experience an enjoyable motorcycle ride through the Alsacian region to Mont Sainte Odile, in the Vosges mountains, where a dinner was offered to them, kindly sponsored by Harley-Davidson.
The MEP Ride was supported by six motorcycling MEPs as Patrons: Liz Lynne (ELDR, United Kingdom), Bernd Lange (PSE, Germany), Carlos Bautista Ojeda (Greens/EFE, Spain), Helmuth Markov (GUE/NGL, Germany), Karsten Knolle (PPE, Germany) and Mogens Camre (UEN, Denmark). Other MEPs participants included Anne-Karin Glase (Germany), Ari Vatanen (Finland), Eluned Morgan (United Kingdom), Marieke Sanders-Ten Holte (Netherlands), Hans Karlsson (Sweden), Eryl McNally (United Kingdom), Dorette Corbeij (Netherlands) and Bob van den Bos (Netherlands).
The riders present were FEMA national organisations from Sweden (SMC), Greece (MOTOE), Netherlands (MAG), Belgium (MAG), Denmark (DMC), United Kingdom (BMF and MAG), and Germany (Biker Union and Kuhle Wampe). Again this year, the International Historic Vehicle Organisation (IHVO) and the Automobile Club of Germany (AVD) brought their valuable support by offering passenger seats in classic cars or minibus and on bikes.
Other organisations supporting the event were the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM-CMT), the European Motorcycle Manufacturers Association (ACEM) co-ordinating the loan of motorcycles for the event. The Esperantist Motorcyclists' Club (EMC) was also present.
Antonio Perlot, FEMA General Secretary, said: "The MEP Motorcycle Ride has proved over the years to be a good way of bringing together politicians and citizens. Despite the rain on the way back, all participants really enjoyed the experience. This year's 6th edition was aimed at underlining the contribution Powered Two-Wheelers can make to the relief of traffic congestion and showing that motorcycles and scooters are being used by millions of citizens in Europe as an answer to mobility needs. An important result of the MEP Ride is that FEMA and the six MEPs Patrons of the Ride also discussed about starting informal regular meetings in Brussels on issues of interest for riders."
FEMA would like to thank the following bike makes for lending some of their models for the event: Harley-Davidson, BMW, Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha and Piaggio. Our thanks go also to Hein Gericke who provided the rain suits, and Lazer who provided the helmets that are used by the participants every year.
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