Shooting The Messenger!

As many of our supporters and fellow riders know, we at Right To Ride have carried out a campaign to raise awareness about the development of an ITS product named the “Force Feedback Throttle” in the project SAFERIDER.Click For - No To Throttle Control Logo

Our concerns were shared by many throughout the world including well known experts and riders that have been in the “business” of promoting and protecting our interests over many years.

Trainers who were initially involved in the project raised their objections, not because of any “Luddite” mentality. That was never the aims or objectives of our campaign. After all, riders use technology of sorts on motorcycles and generally welcome any device that makes riding easier and more comfortable.

Even so, any motorcyclist, car or truck driver is fully entitled to raise concerns about ITS devices being developed in any given project, that in their view, may “take control”, “restrict riding”, or “enhance visibility for big brother’s eye”. In fact the former Federation of European Motorcyclists, Federation (FEMA) President Hans Petter Strifeldt made FEMA’s views clear to the Consortium at the SAFERIDER User Forum in 2008. “The purpose of FEMA’s involvement in the project was to ensure that any device developed in the project would not take control away from the rider”.

We argued in our correspondence to the Consortium and to the EU Project Officers that the Force Feedback Throttle would do exactly that.

We and those who supported us objected to the “Force Feedback Throttle” for one simple reason. Because we argued that any restriction on the throttle is dangerous and we gave well constructed reasons for our objections.

BMW Effort

Adaptive and Cooperative Technologies for Intelligent Traffic

BMW has already done the leg work and got some of the systems (that the SAFERIDER consortium allegedly failed to develop) up and running.

SAFERIDER Consortium

The SAFERIDER consortium published a number of articles about their project and given that these documents were in the public domain, we felt that it was appropriate to open a dialogue with the Consortium and EU Project Officer.

Therefore to learn of comments about so called individual riders attacking the project is in our view, short sighted and suggests that the consortium had no interest in the views of expert riders who may tell them something different to their own opinions.

The trainers involved in the project provided their opinions and expert comments on the devices that the project consortium aimed to develop in early 2008 and overall, they were somewhat sceptical about some of the devices and gave their reasons.

We also raised our concerns about the time required for the devices to signal a warning of a potential crash scenario, we did this in the knowledge that the average crash scenario occurs within 2 seconds. In this case, all considered, we felt that this was reasonable and accordingly, we published an article of that very topic.

Motorcycle Minds Article – Click Here

In the event, the latest FEMA newsletter suggests that the project was a failure:

“Be reassured, SAFERIDER project systems deployment in the market is not for tomorrow, quite the contrary as the impact on riding tasks could not been validated through proper testing, not to mention the market price of the developed systems. While this may seem good news to ITS-skeptics, this failure also means that motorcycling still remains pretty far away from the smart and integrated transport system transport engineers are currently conceiving. Does this mean that motorcycling will be left out? “No”, say motorcycle experts supported by representatives of the European Commission; more research is definitely needed and SAFERIDER was only a start.”

FEMA Newsletter – Click Here

Spending 5 million Euros

What that comment suggests is that the 5 million Euros spent on the project was a waste of time and money. That is regrettable, because Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) can and do play an important part for motorcycles and motorcycling. ITS have a place in terms of providing support and information.

Whether the Consortium’s inability to produce a viable and workable device of any kind summarizes its own shortcomings is a moot point. What it does suggest however, is that for the next time, before embarking on a project to develop “life saving” devices for motorcyclists, perhaps they may wish to heed a word of advice: speak to trainers and “real” experts before putting together a proposal.

Nobody likes to say “I told you so”, but in this case, if the hat fits, then in our view, the SAFERIDER Consortium should well and truly wear it.

No To Throttle Control Campaign on Right To Ride EU

 

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