Bikers' protest blocks A1

Hundreds of bikers staged a rolling roadblock on the A1 in protest about proposed new EU rules on how they maintain their bikes.

The riders held up traffic for about half an hour as they rode in convoy at 40mph from Carrville, near Durham, to Washington services at lunchtime.

The bikers say proposed EU rules would make their hobby more expensive. Credit: ITV

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG), which organised the demonstration, has accused the European Commission of an 'assault' on bikers. It says the regulations would making biking more expensive, by making an ABS braking system compulsory and by forcing them to pay a professional for certain repairs and modifications.

Rachel Leonard, the group's regional representative for the North East, explained why they feel so strongly about the plans.

The protest was one of several across the country in protest at the plans. The Commission says the draft proposals had been drawn up to improve safety and limit emissions.

But the Department for Transport has also raised concerns about the cost and timescale of the plans, and has suggested the UK should be allowed to retain control over rules on vehicles built by amateur enthusiasts.

The bikers' cause has been supported by the UK government. Credit: ITV

The bikers were supported at the protest by the North East Labour MEP, Stephen Hughes.

"I think this fresh raft of anti-bike proposals are totally unacceptable. They're the latest in a long line of proposals that seem to suggest somebody inside the European Commission has a downer on bikes and biking."

– Stephen Hughes MEP

The bikers pulled off the A1 at Washington, and the road is now open as normal.