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Motorcyclists present their road safety wish list

When it comes to reducing casualties among motorcyclists, it is essential to get the riders’ views on road safety.

In the world of road safety it is quite common that people talk about motorcyclists, but it is not common that we are talked with. To change this, motorcycle experts presented members of the road safety community with feasible solutions for road safety issues.

During the seminar ‘Reducing road deaths among motorcycle riders’, organised by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), motorcycle experts were given the opportunity to present their views to a large audience of over 240 members of the road safety community.

The scale of the problem is serious: over 45,000 users of powered two-wheelers lost their lives on European roads in the last ten years. And even with numerous road safety programmes in place, the deaths among motorcyclists are declining more slowly than among moped riders and other road users.

Jesper Christensen

One of the presenters at the seminar was Jesper Christensen, general secretary of Swedish motorcyclists’ organisation SMC but also a member of the Board at FEMA and Mobility Director at FIM (a member of ETSC). Jesper talked about the dynamics of motorcycle crashes and the importance of Advanced (Anti-lock) Braking Systems in his presentation of the results of an extensive survey among motorcyclists that experienced a crash.

  • 1578 motorcyclists from 30 countries replied to the survey.
  • 36.3% of the motorcycles had Advanced Braking Systems, 12% had traction control.
  • 35% of the riders did not use their brakes prior to crashing and of these, 46.8% had ABS brakes fitted.
  • Only half the riders on ABS-equipped motorcycles reported braking before they crashed compared to two-thirds of those on a motorcycle without ABS.
  • 65% of riders admitted to hospital were traveling under 70 kph (44 mph).
  • Speed does not appear to have a strong effect on injury severity.
Jesper concluded his presentation by showing the motorcyclists’ wish list, which sums up a number of relatively easy steps for authorities to take:

  • Governments and road owners must focus on and show that motorcycles are part of Vision Zero.
  • Road authorities must follow their own book of rules:
    – Ensure predictable friction
    – Ensure a smooth, clean road surface
    – Ensure that there are no dangerous roadside objects
    – Ensure run-off zones or ‘good for all’ guardrails
    – Facilitate good visibility
    – Let motorcyclists use bus lanes
    – Create safe parking facilities
  • Update the driving licence directive with risk- and accident-based focused education, including a general understanding of other vehicles for all.
  • Enforcement should not just target speed violators but also target riders and drivers without a valid driving licence.

Asked about recent proposals to introduce differentiated speed limits for holders of A1, A2 and A motorcycle licences (90 km/h for A1, 100 km/h for A2 and 110 km/h for A), regardless of the general speed limits, Jesper was very clear: “That is the most dangerous proposal I have heard in a long time. There should not be different speed limits for cars and motorcycles and there should certainly not be different speed limits for different categories of motorcycles.”

Other important presentations: Martin Winkelbauer from the Austrian Road Safety Board KfV presented the results of research into motorcycle crash causation in curves and he showed how the number of motorcycle accidents in curves can be seriously reduced by applying road markings that ‘guide’ motorcyclist through a curve. Kay Schulte from German road safety organisation DVR explained the importance of a European Training Quality Label for high-quality post-license training programmes. Jessica Truong of the ‘Towards Zero Foundation’ made the case for Anti-lock Braking Systems on all powered two-wheelers (it is currently mandatory on all new motorcycles over 125cc).

Written by Wim Taal

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