Editorial of the “World”. Posted at Official newspaper Wednesday, August 11, the decree establishing the technical inspection of motorized two-wheelers from 2023 was “Suspended until further notice” the next day, at the request of the President of the Republic. Fact of the prince, bad signal at a time when the defense of the environment should be resolutely put forward, this retreat is worrying both in form and in substance.
It questions both the mode of operation of the executive power and the credibility of President Macron in the fight for road safety, air quality and against noise pollution. “After discovering this measure, the President of the Republic decided that it was not the moment to annoy the French”, justified a government adviser.
The generalization of roadworthiness tests to motorcycles and scooters results from a 2014 European directive that France is one of the few EU countries that has not yet implemented. It is justified by the fact that the mortality of motorcyclists – twenty-two times higher than among motorists with identical mileage – decreases at the slowest rate of all road users. And that the unclamping of the engines increases the risk of accidents, in particular for the youngest. Not to mention the noise: a two-wheeler crossing Paris overnight with a “rectified” exhaust can wake up 11,000 people, according to the Bruitparif association, against 350 if it is approved.
Risk of dispute
The French Federation of Angry Bikers, for its part, disputes the EU study which estimates the share of motorcycle accidents caused by technical failures at 8%, denounces the lobby of technical control centers and considers the control as “A real racket”.
Faced with this risk of contestation, while the multiplication of signs of democratic stalling requires the involvement and empowerment of citizens, Emmanuel Macron confirms his vertical and personal practice of power. His message assimilating technical control to a way of“Annoy the French” is a matter of demagoguery. As for his refusal to apply an EU directive, it is surprising on the part of a pro-European president. It is true that the measure set back previous governments, in particular that of Manuel Valls, who announced its implementation in 2015.
Admittedly, the executive faces the dissatisfaction of opponents to the generalization of the health pass, a measure justified by the need to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, and we can understand its concern to avoid a multiplication of contestation fronts. However, with the approach of the presidential campaign, the unjustifiable decline in technical control is a bad omen: it reflects a lack of composure and a propensity to give in to the noisiest.
Above all, it does not stop worrying about the ability of political leaders to prepare the French for the profound changes, both in employment and in lifestyles and consumption, which the fight against global warming urgently requires. How could a leader who capitulates to the biker lobby convince motorists to abandon heat engines or to switch to public transport?
To be up to the major climate risks of the coming years, our democracies will need leaders who are credible in their ability to provide education and political courage in order to accelerate the decarbonisation of our societies. Precisely the reverse of what the President of the Republic has just done.