Returning From Brussels

Right To Ride’s Trevor Baird is heading back from Brussels after attending the 2010 International Motorcyclists Conference on the 28th and 29th June.

The conference was organised by FEMA (Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations) in partnership with the Canadian and Australian motorcycling associations and the European Commission with the theme of, “Motorcycling into the 21st Century”.

Did the conference live up to expectations – was there full dialogue – what about the launch of the European Motorcyclists’ forum?

Full report and pictures to follow.

What We Said Before We Went

According to FEMA: “For all, the Conference is a unique opportunity to learn about the latest developments in motorcycle technology and safety, gain insight to the next policy innovations in urban transport and infrastructure, and exchange views on the role of powered two-wheelers in mobility across the globe.”

“On the first day of the Conference the European Commission will officially launch the European Motorcyclists’ Forum, a platform for discussion which will include this year a high-level round table on motorcycling in the 21st Century, to exchange ideas, discuss challenges and offer solutions. Along with a session dedicated to safety and mobility, presenting the views of motorcyclists and transport policy makers, and addressing the current developments of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS).”

“Highlights of the event will also include a working session on infrastructure – presenting issues for riders, cases from North America, Europe and Australia as well as successful policies. Human factors will be addressed in the user forum of the European and international 2-BE-SAFE research project. In both sessions, transport experts from around the world will be presenting their results and debating the outcomes.”

“The programme also includes dedicated sessions on the next generation of motorcycles and sustainable mobility. The new technology to tackle this challenge will be showcased with the latest developments deployed in motorsports, and their potential in driving market innovation.

Test tracks on the Conference site will include a demonstration of zero emission motorcycles, giving attendees the opportunity to test new motorcycles as well as electric powered two-wheelers.”

“The 2-day international conference will be combined this year with FEMA’s 13th annual MEP Ride, bringing Members of the European Parliament and motorcyclists together for a festive ride around the European capital.“

All seems grand in the world of European motorcyling and with the powers that be, with open dialogue – forum – platform and all round general conviviality.

Open Dialogue In Brussels

Promoting the event through an EU newsletter “On The Move – For Safer Roads in Europe” – pdf and on the European Commission Road Safety website, the Commission comments “The European Motorcyclists’ Forum will provide the platform for such a dialogue, allowing stakeholders to assess the problems that motorcyclists are facing and to consider and implement appropriate solutions”.

The newsletter states that, “A key factor in this is awareness raising, particularly amongst the young. Under-25s account for around a third of EU motorcycle deaths and the vast majority of fatal accidents result from human error. Emphasising the need for caution when riding a PTW is vital for cutting fatalities.”

Further stating that, “This should be accompanied by structural measures to make road infrastructure safer and more rider-friendly and by adequate deployment of advanced safety technologies on two-wheeled vehicles.”

Although the newsletter recognises that PTWs offer potential benefits, which is offset by the risks posed, the Commission is making sustained efforts to tackle the safety issue in the long term. It is doing this by developing an integrated approach to changing behaviour, implementing new technology and enforcing safety rules.

As regards behaviour, the newsletter says, “the necessary changes and greater shared responsibility of all road users can be achieved through open dialogue to increase public awareness of the issue and active participation of all involved parties in implementing tighter safety measures.”

Right To Ride’s View

Dialogue in its purest form means conversation, but looking at the programme, it looks like this conversation will be on their terms as they have already proposed the solutions.

The way we see it, we don’t have problems with our motorcycles, our problems are with those that want to save us from ourselves. We don’t want throttle control and other “warning devices”.

We don’t need anti-tampering legislation and more restrictions, or psychological analysis to find out how risky we are.

What we need, which is what we’ve been telling them for years, is – wait for it – good, cost effective training for novice and advanced riders and training for car drivers so that they look for us.

All Is Well For Safety and Mobility?

Video from European Commission Road Safey website!

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