USA – Vision Zero

handlebars_header-250USA – The Motorcycle Riders Foundation – MRF – reports that Congress is looking to develop and implement it’s own version of Vision Zero which the MRF say, “Make no mistake that the full implementation of Vision Zero in America would eliminate motorcycling as its known now.”

The MRF full report states – Vision Zero is the concept that it is possible to drop the fatalities within the road transportation community to zero and that it should be done at all cost. Vision Zero plans are lofty and admirable, but the approach is just not plausible.

At the core of Vision Zeros philosophy, life and health can never be exchanged for other benefits within the society, rather than the more conventional comparison between costs and benefits, where a monetary value is placed on life and health, and then that value is used to decide how much money to spend on a road network towards the benefit of decreasing how much risk.

The plan also places human life and health as a priority over mobility and other objectives of the traffic system. It also describes how we should build roads with no possibility of a side or frontal impact, and prohibition to use those roads on more vulnerable road users.

Another part of plan is speed limits; should the plan be adopted in full American speed limits would plummet to 19 miles per hour in areas where there is contact between pedestrians and cars, and 43 mph for all other roads.

The creators envisioned a slow moving, padded fantasyland right at home in a Disney movie, not the real world.

Vision Zero began in Sweden in 1997 and has since been adopted in some part at least by Netherlands and United Kingdom.

In the United States some major cities are also adopting the concept; so far New York, Portland, and San Francisco are all on board. A lawyer in Boston gives out a law school scholarship in the attempt to get the city to take look at considering the idea.

Last week Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced H.R. 1274, a bill that would make money available to local governments to develop and implement Vision Zero plans.

A mandatory national helmet law would just be the jumping off point.

Make no mistake that the full implementation of Vision Zero in America would eliminate motorcycling as its known now.

Of course it is everyone’s wish that no one would become injured or killed on our roads.

Every life is precious and every American should do all in their power to reduce bloodshed on the roads.

But simply slowing every vehicle and prohibiting other “vulnerable” vehicles from the traffic mix, all while padding the roadways and interior of vehicles and installing cameras everywhere to find the scofflaws, is the stuff of science fiction, not the real world.

Vision Zero has a blind spot; it does not take into account any budget, financing or the effects on the economy by slowing traffic.

Zero fatalities is always the goal, however when you have moving parts operated by human beings traffic safety will always have a component that will never be a control for: human behavior.

Right To Ride Comment

At Right To Ride we say that parts of Vision Zero can be picked out to be advantageous for motorcyclists, in Norway the authorities with the riders organisation, NMCU, has implemented vision zero roads that are “motorcycle friendly” here in Northern ireland we have persuaded our authorities to identify a road that “vision zero” for motorcycles could be employed.

For motorcyclists the suggestion of a vision of zero fatalities, “Vision Zero” harks back to 1997. Sweden’s, Claes Tingvall, one of the authors of the 1999 Vision Zero road safety document, stated back then that, “Motorcycles are incompatible with Vision Zero… It will never work to combine motorcycles with our ambitious road safety.”

However since then and as recently as 2012 at the European Motorcycle Forum in Cologne, organised by the Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations (FEMA), Claes Tingvall in his presentation at the forum clarified the statement that was picked up by rider organisations as anti-motorcycling.

Mr Tingvall has said at various times in the last few years – “he no longer saw motorcycles as incompatible with Vision Zero and that progress toward zero motorcycle deaths needed to focus on rider behaviour rather than vehicle or road design. The motorcycle community work on road safety in Sweden is forward thinking and the results achieved are very possible the best in the world.

The truth is the motorcycle community is probably more safety orientated than any other user group in the community when it comes to the road transport system it actually cares more about safety.

Riding a motorcycle is not unsafe but it can be, there are user groups within the motorcycle community who ride with extremely low risks there are motorcyclists who ride with extremely high risks, it gave us the insight that if it can be so safe to riding a motorcycle then it must be possible to do it for all”.

However this is Europe and it appears that riders in the USA have a problem with the worst excesses of Vison Zero being adapted and modified to the detriment of motorcyclists there!

Original Source – Motorcycle Riders Foundation – Click Here

Leave Your Comments on Right to Ride EU – Click Here

Links & Information

Motorcycle Riders Foundation – On Facebook

Claes Tingvall – Vision Zero

Hear what Tingvall said of motorcyclists and road safety at a conference in Sweden in April 2011

Audio of Claes Tingvall presentation at the FEMA Motorcycle Forum 2012 – it is well worth listening to this all the way through – Click Here
Norway’s Vision Zero Motorcycle Road 2008 – pdf – 3.4mb – Click Here

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