Highwaymen – EU Road Safety

On Tuesday 27th September at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, MEPs voted on and adopted a resolution regarding a report – European road safety 2011-2020.

Prepared and presented by German MEP Dieter-Lebrecht Koch from the MEP Committee on Transport and Tourism (Tran) the report is non-legislative, so is not a proposed regulation or a directive but suggestions for future action.

The main target of the report, “Wholeheartedly endorses the objective of halving by 2020 the total number of road deaths in the EU by comparison with 2010”. The previous, “Third Road Safety Action Program of the European Commission” expired in 2010 and did not meet its goals to reduce road deaths by half. The Koch report calls for further clear and measurable targets to be set for the same period (2011 -2020).

However taking the context of road safety into the real world of a dire economic climate what these recommendations and calls are asking for, is that member states and their agencies spend and focus their budgets on road safety.

For Motorcycling

The report contains specific recommendations and considerations for the safety of motorcyclist which include:

  • Considers that, in car driving lessons, greater attention should be devoted to the phenomenon of motorised two-wheeled vehicles and their visibility.
  • Urges the Commission and Member States to call on their national, regional and local authorities to design their roads in such a way that they do not present any hazards to motorised two-wheeled vehicles; points out that the standard guard rails used on European roads are a death trap for motorcyclists.
  • Calls on the Member States to take prompt action (including replacing the existing guard rails) to refit dangerous stretches of road with rails with upper and lower elements as well as with other alternative road barrier systems, in accordance with Standard EN 1317, in order to lessen the repercussions of accidents for all road users;
  • Draws attention to the danger posed to motorcyclists by tarmac patches, which offer much less grip than the normal asphalt road surfaces;
  • Calls on Members States and road operators to provide appropriately designed facilities to improve safety which are all well equipped with road signs and well lit, and thus more user-friendly, especially for motorcyclists and cyclists;

However there are further recommendations and considerations where we start to have concerns because these can be open to interpretation of what is considered good for motorcycling. As we have said before, the devil is in the detail and we don’t know what those details may include.

Challenge to Transport and Tourism committee and European Parliament

The challenge to the Transport and Tourism committee, Dieter-Lebrecht Koch and the European Parliament which adopted this resolution and report, is simply to provide facts to back up Mr Koch’s statement.

  • whereas the number of road deaths has fallen constantly but the number of fatal accidents involving motorcyclists is stagnating and in many places rising,

If there are no facts to back up the statement regarding the so called static or increased level of fatalities of motorcyclists, to find a way to provide clear and factual data on motorcycle casualties – preferably differentiating between countries that may have issues and countries (such as the UK) that do not.

We also request that Mr Koch deletes the call for the introduction of monitoring equipment by means of which speeding offences by motorcyclists can be systematically detected and punished, which singles out riders in the adopted text and report. This call is discriminatory.

  • Calls for the introduction of monitoring equipment by means of which speeding offences by motorcyclists can be systematically detected and punished;

As the resolution and report has been adopted by the European Parliament then a way should be found in European Parliament procedures to delete these statements.

For the full report on the Right To Ride EU website – Click Here

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