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Will your bike still be safe after Brexit?

We round up some of the possible effects of Brexit on the cycling trade, including the effect on safety regulations

Uncertain times are ahead for the cycling trade, and its customers, following Brexit, according to industry experts.

From changes to the cost of exchanging products and services, which could be passed on to customers, to the effect of Brexit on safety regulations and workers’ rights, and even infrastructure, it’s impossible to predict exactly what will happen, but some informed guesses can be made.

Following June’s Brexit vote Halfords, which possesses an estimated 20-25% of the UK cycling market, lost almost a quarter of its share price in a few days, CyclingIndustry.News reports. 

Brexit: what does it mean to you and your bike?

According to the industry news site, brands who were previously considering investing in the UK seem to be getting cold feet, saying they’d be looking into costs and shipping before making a decision. It says suppliers are estimating a 10 to 15 per cent rise in goods prices, thanks to exchange rate changes. This could well be passed on to the consumer, as well as necessitating efficiencies within the bike industry.

Free trade with Europe will remain unchanged over the next two years – and that’s on the assumption Article 50 is triggered. In the meantime, CyclingIndustry.News says the Government will decide on import tariffs, while negotiating with the EU the price we will pay on goods exported from Europe. Although Swiss, Norwegian or Turkish models could be adopted, it is believed this won’t be possible within two years.  

Meanwhile, the UK won't be at the negotiating table when changes to regulations and standards are discussed. One example of where this could be problematic is if, say, the UK wanted higher speed limits on e-bikes, and the EU didn't.

CyclingIndustry.News cites the following scenarios if the two year deadline could be managed:

EEA Membership: Compliance with EU directives for the most part would be highly likely. The UK would not be at the discussion table when drafting these. On the whole, suppliers will spec bikes to a Euro standard, with changes only adding to cost.

The Swiss Model: Again, the UK would have no say in drafting regulations in this free trade model. Compliance would remain highly likely for the majority, if not all, of goods.

Full on exit: As a non-member the UK becomes free to amend or replace legislation. Whether in most cases this would be necessary in the cycling world remains to be seen, but with the evolution of product not slowing, the industry could lobby the DfT for separate rules on things like e-bikes. The likelihood, however, is that things would largely remain unchanged, in part due to the view of entering a bilateral agreement with the EU in five to ten years time.

BikeBiz’s Carlton Reid says a faltering British economy could mean people shun their now more expensive to run cars for bikes. If they’re doing that they’ll want safe cycling routes.

However, Reid believes cycle infrastructure won’t be a priority – not only, does he point out, do Brexiters tend to be climate change deniers, and so uninterested in "green" transport, they are also keen on “localism” - played out in the Local Enterprise Partnerships whose forays into cycle infrastructure that we have come across have been bizarre and lacklustre to say the least - and cuts to transport funding, roads aside, of course.

Between  1995 and 2000 £12.2m of £207.4m funding for the National Cycle Network came directly from the EU. Sustrans is the charity that looks after the National Cycle Network, and its CEO, Xavier Brice, told road.cc: “Since July 1977 Sustrans has adapted to all sorts of changes and funding climates, through recession and growth, and we are confident of adapting to the new political environment.   

“At the very heart of our work is an aim to connect communities, creating spaces which everyone can access and enjoy, such work is even more crucial than ever.”

For those that work in bike shops, things could change, too. Employers’ obligations will still stand for at least two years. However, after that, these could well be renegotiated. The Independent ran a pre-Brexit story, which listed workers’ rights that exist thanks to EU legislation, among those discrimination based on gender, religion, hours worked, age or disability. However, as it points out repealing most of these rights is never going to win votes. The most likely to be hit would be the working-time regulations, according to the paper. It's important to note the UK introduced its minimum wage independent of the EU.  

When it comes to regulations around safety, there's no way of knowing for sure, although the signs things will get pricier are, unfortunately, there. 

As CyclingIndustryNews put it:

“With the dust still far from settling, coming at the topic from a purely news angle has been difficult with much uncertainty in the markets, political upheaval adding another layer of complexity and no one scenario a certainty as Britain begins two years of intense negotiation.”

To read CyclingIndustry.News’ full analysis click here.

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13 comments

Avatar
Mungecrundle | 7 years ago
0 likes

Superpython,

I have no idea of what demons afflict you in the wee small hours, but they coincide with your more aggressive and personally abusive rants. 

Please feel free to post if you have something to add to the debate, otherwise it would be polite to keep quiet whilst the grown ups are talking.

Avatar
handlebarcam | 7 years ago
2 likes

Meanwhile, I see Team BMC is showing their support for Brexit by wearing bunches of bendy bananas instead of helmets.

Avatar
Mungecrundle | 7 years ago
2 likes

So if I understand correctly, a British manufacturer wishing to export into the EU May have to deal with 2 sets of standards. How would this affect the amount of "red tape" that Brexit campaigners were promising to reduce?

Likewise, an EU manufacturer may decide that it is not worth the effort of complying with different legislation for a small UK market in which case we will miss out or will otherwise have to pass on the additional costs to the UK consumer plus any tariffs. Not sure I see the benefit there.

It's almost as if the Leavers didn't really think it through. Or maybe it's all a conspiracy for a few barrow boy fishmongers to sell their eels by the ounce to old people who never really got a grip of going metric.

Avatar
Rich_cb replied to Mungecrundle | 7 years ago
1 like
Mungecrundle wrote:

So if I understand correctly, a British manufacturer wishing to export into the EU May have to deal with 2 sets of standards. How would this affect the amount of "red tape" that Brexit campaigners were promising to reduce?

Likewise, an EU manufacturer may decide that it is not worth the effort of complying with different legislation for a small UK market in which case we will miss out or will otherwise have to pass on the additional costs to the UK consumer plus any tariffs. Not sure I see the benefit there.

It's almost as if the Leavers didn't really think it through. Or maybe it's all a conspiracy for a few barrow boy fishmongers to sell their eels by the ounce to old people who never really got a grip of going metric.

We won't have to have 2 sets of standards, quite a few countries outside the EU are part of the CE standards system.

We could simply follow their example.

Avatar
Mungecrundle replied to Rich_cb | 7 years ago
3 likes
Rich_cb wrote:
Mungecrundle wrote:

So if I understand correctly, a British manufacturer wishing to export into the EU May have to deal with 2 sets of standards. How would this affect the amount of "red tape" that Brexit campaigners were promising to reduce?

Likewise, an EU manufacturer may decide that it is not worth the effort of complying with different legislation for a small UK market in which case we will miss out or will otherwise have to pass on the additional costs to the UK consumer plus any tariffs. Not sure I see the benefit there.

It's almost as if the Leavers didn't really think it through. Or maybe it's all a conspiracy for a few barrow boy fishmongers to sell their eels by the ounce to old people who never really got a grip of going metric.

We won't have to have 2 sets of standards, quite a few countries outside the EU are part of the CE standards system. We could simply follow their example.

 

So best case scenario. UK manufacturers can continue to comply with the current EU legislation = same amount of "red tape" and presumably same cost of being part of that system, but we no longer get a say in directing that legislation. Wasn't a cornerstone of the Brexit argument that we didn't want to be told what to do or have our legislation set by unaccountable EU bureaucrats? I fail to see how this is a better situation than we had.

 

Avatar
Rich_cb replied to Mungecrundle | 7 years ago
2 likes
Mungecrundle wrote:

So best case scenario. UK manufacturers can continue to comply with the current EU legislation = same amount of "red tape" and presumably same cost of being part of that system, but we no longer get a say in directing that legislation. Wasn't a cornerstone of the Brexit argument that we didn't want to be told what to do or have our legislation set by unaccountable EU bureaucrats? I fail to see how this is a better situation than we had.

 

Anything we export to the EU would have to comply with CE standards so our manufacturers will continue to comply with them regardless of our EU position. Just as they comply with US standards when exporting there. Normal business practice.

In terms of cycling manufacturers it would be a strange decision for a British company to ignore CE standards and automatically exclude themselves from the enormous EU market.

The standardisation of safety criteria is an example of European cooperation working well.

We could continue to take part in CE standard setting whilst not being a part of the EU.

Several countries choose to do this so it would not be an unusual situation.

I don't think many people voted leave in protest against the CE standards So I can't see the public being too concerned if we remained part of that system post Brexit.

Avatar
tritecommentbot | 7 years ago
5 likes

I'm working on a conspiracy theory, but need help fleshing it out. Currently I've got:

 

Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan devise a plot to bring the UK into the single currency with the final aim of usurping all national banking control. However, public opinion in the UK is dead set against the Euro.

 

Mid 90s - they set out an agenda to bring the UK into 1:1 with the Euro to make it seem like the economically sensible option. 

 

Their plan involves creating a lizard man (Blair) who will be taught charm techniques and will work alongside another lizard man from the US to carry out their goals. They also need to get rid the UK's gold reserves so that they can't offload it later to help their currency when in trouble - (they achieve this by implanting an chip in Gordon Brown which deactivates the portion of the brain responsible for rational thought).

 

So, the plan:

 

1: Win power in a large UK party.

2: Destabilise the middle east using that power.

3: Resultant terrorist attacks create fear and dvisiveness and anti-immigration sentiment.

4: British public vote to leave the EU against their economic interests.

5: Pound crashes bringing it in line with the Euro.

6: Scotland leaves the UK and rejoins the EU and single currency.

7: New English government proposes second referendum, joins the EU, and makes the case for joining the Euro.

 

Maybe needs more alien content.

Avatar
handlebarcam | 7 years ago
2 likes

I don't think the referendum result will be the cause of the decline of civilisation. I think it is a symptom. As for cycling safety, if the reactionaries succeed in sending all the foreigners back home, who do you think they'll pick on when that turns out not to solve any of their problems? Probably economically many of the people in poor areas who voted along with them out of frustration. But one-on-one, cyclists make very easy targets for bullies.

Avatar
Yorkshire wallet | 7 years ago
2 likes

Brexiters tend to be climate change deniers, and so uninterested in "green" transport, they are also keen on “localism

What is this unsubstantiated nonsense!?

Avatar
matthewn5 replied to Yorkshire wallet | 7 years ago
2 likes
Yorkshire wallet]</p>

<p>

Brexiters tend to be climate change deniers, and so uninterested in "green" transport,&nbsp;they are also keen on “localism[quote

wrote:

What is this unsubstantiated nonsense!?

According to a ComRes poll,  18 per cent of people who intended to vote to leave also disagreed with the statement: “human activity is causing climate change”, compared with 10 per cent of those planning to vote to remain, so nearly double the rate for Remain voters. Source: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/tactics-of-climate-change-scept...

This was also commented on by a number of social attitudes surveys associated with the referendum. Here for example is Lord Ashcroft's polling on social attitudes among Leave (blue) and Remain (yellow) voters. You'll see that Leave voters were 69% for the statement that "the green movement was a force for ill" (Source: http://lordashcroftpolls.com/2016/06/how-the-united-kingdom-voted-and-why/)

 

Avatar
700c replied to matthewn5 | 7 years ago
1 like
matthewn5]<p>
</p>

<p>[quote

wrote:

Brexiters tend to be climate change deniers, and so uninterested in "green" transport, they are also keen on “localism

Quote:

What is this unsubstantiated nonsense!?

According to a ComRes poll,  18 per cent of people who intended to vote to leave also disagreed with the statement: “human activity is causing climate change”, compared with 10 per cent of those planning to vote to remain, so nearly double the rate for Remain voters. Source: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/tactics-of-climate-change-scept...

This was also commented on by a number of social attitudes surveys associated with the referendum. Here for example is Lord Ashcroft's polling on social attitudes among Leave (blue) and Remain (yellow) voters. You'll see that Leave voters were 69% for the statement that "the green movement was a force for ill" (Source: http://lordashcroftpolls.com/2016/06/how-the-united-kingdom-voted-and-why/)

 

Ironic, therefore, that by voting remain you back the big businesses, such as car manufacturers, who, when not literally lying and cheating on emissions, were successfully lobbying to maintain woefully low standards for pollutants in the EU market, harming those breathing in the emissions, such as cyclists.

As usual things aren't as clear cut as those who like to polarise the debate would have you believe.

Avatar
frogg | 7 years ago
3 likes

"a pre-Brexit story, which listed workers’ rights that exist thanks to EU legislation" ...

I'm French; what we see here these days is a full attack on workers rights, with a goal from the socialist!!! government to rip protections, increase work hours (for the same wage of course), deregulate non-working days, at night, move back retreat, etc etc ... Think you have heard of strikes here.

Ultimately, the goal is to have the same workers rights as Poles, not the contrary you see. If it's still  too much for the corrupt EU bureaucrats and their donors, we will have to back down even further to Ukrainians and ultimately to Turkey's workers rights. But with the added gender and religion non discrimination of course !!! It's a big plus.

Ah yes, so much for EU regulations ...

 

 

 

Avatar
BBB replied to frogg | 7 years ago
1 like
frogg wrote:

"a pre-Brexit story, which listed workers’ rights that exist thanks to EU legislation" ...

I'm French; what we see here these days is a full attack on workers rights, with a goal from the socialist!!! government to rip protections, increase work hours (for the same wage of course), deregulate non-working days, at night, move back retreat, etc etc ... Think you have heard of strikes here.

Ultimately, the goal is to have the same workers rights as Poles, not the contrary you see. If it's still  too much for the corrupt EU bureaucrats and their donors, we will have to back down even further to Ukrainians and ultimately to Turkey's workers rights. But with the added gender and religion non discrimination of course !!! It's a big plus.

Ah yes, so much for EU regulations ...

Do you actually know anything about the labour market and workers rights in Poland and other countries you mentioned or you are just making some massive ignorant dickish assumptions?

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