March 2011 – Force Feedback Throttle Withdrawn – Success!
The Consortium agreed to withdraw the device because it failed to prove to be a worthwhile product (although the pressure from riders and organisations such as FIM, must have influenced their decision).
But FEMA says, “….more research is definitely needed and SAFERIDER was only a start.”
Is more research a good or bad thing?
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.
We and those who supported us objected to the “Force Feedback Throttle” in SAFERIDER for one simple reason.
We argued that any restriction on the throttle is dangerous and we gave well constructed reasons for our objections.
No To Throttle Control News
For specific updates regarding No To Throttle Control.
And the Saferider Project.
No To Throttle Control!
No To Throttle Control News - Click Here
SAFERIDER saga goes on and on……..
However the SAFERIDER saga goes on and on…….. with a BBC report on the involvement of MIRA in the UK within the European Saferider, at Right to Ride we are absolutely flabbergasted at this report, Saferider and all its partners continue to show no understanding of motorcycling and more importantly us the motorcyclist.
The BBC report and our subsequent article had a reaction from FEMA (Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations), who were partners with MIRA in the SAFERIDER consortium.
What the BBC report and the FEMA article failed to mention was that the very reason for our “No To Throttle Control” campaign was because of the development of the Force Feed back Throttle as well as the integration of warning functions by the SAFERIDER consortium, that would distract the rider.
The FEMA press release concludes: ”SAFERIDER however, succeeded in creating an interest around intelligent transport technologies for two-wheelers, including recognition of the need to investigate the link between technology and the riding task. This, in itself, represents a positive step for motorcycling.”
Or in plain speak, the SAFERIDER project was promoted throughout the scientific community as an example of HMI systems. On the other hand, it created consternation for many individual riders such as ourselves, who were ignored when we tried to have a dialogue with the Consortium about our concerns regarding the systems.
“No To Throttle Control” – Still Applies!
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 that our concerns were considered an attack on 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.
IT advanced rider systems for motorcycles do not end with SAFERIDER. Manufacturers are developing their own “safety systems”. Some look good and if they help us to be more comfortable and have a better ride, who would say no? On the other hand, some seem to be completely insane.
Whatever way these systems are developed, our arguments and reasoning still apply to the “force feedback throttle” aka “Intelligent Speed Adaptation” because this system is inherently dangerous.
May we suggest to future consortia, before putting together proposals on Intelligent Transport Systems for motorcyclists, why not ask motorcyclists what we want and ask motorcycle trainers what we need – first!
“No To Throttle Control”
Back With A Vengance
We first reported in June 2010 that EVSC (Electronic Vehicle Speed Control) was back with a vengeance through the re-introduction of the Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) – or – speed control system that removed the ability of the rider to accelerate when the motorcycle reaches determined speeds, in a European Union (EU) Commission funded project called “Saferider”.
The EU funded Saferider project was attempting to move system control technology forward with, Advanced Rider Assistance Systems (ARAS) being developed for motorcycles in order to warn the rider of a potential crash or collision in a number of scenarios, including a variation of the Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) – or – speed control system.
Force feedback in throttle: A throttle with programmable return force is being developed. “In the project the motorcycle will be equipped with a force controlled throttle able to tune the return force through a servo controlled electric motor in order to communicate a speed reduction warning”.
The authors also state that “imminent warnings cannot be turned off by the rider. This is due to the fact that imminent warnings only occur in cases that lead to great danger for the riders’ safety (2008:61).
In spite of consultation at the beginning of the project with expert trainers who stated that ALL systems must have an on/off switch and that the warning systems being developed must not de-stabilize the bike or distract the rider, it appeared that the trainers’ advice was dismissed or ignored.
Right To Ride’s, Trevor Baird, said, “From my experience of having ridden an ISA equipped motorcycle in trials conducted in Great Britain, I can only condemn the force feedback throttle as dangerous because of the propensity of the system to de-stabilize the bike.”
If the project consortium gets acceptance for the throttle control system – by default – because there is nobody to protest and nobody to challenge them, then what will stop the proposal of compulsory throttle control in the not too distant future?
Experience has taught us that when you work with the authorities and decision makers, it is always a good thing to define a red line that you will not cross – the principles which you will not compromise under any circumstance. The red line for Right To Ride is clear:
We say – “No To Throttle Control”
No To Throttle Control – Campaign
We had previously reported that, “EVSC (Electronic Vehicle Speed Control) was back with a vengeance through the re-introduction of the Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) – or – speed control system in a European Union (EU) Commission funded project called “Saferider”.
Of the five warning systems being developed in the project, the Force Feedback Throttle was the most dangerous.
When the bike enters a lower speed limited zone (e.g. riding from a 40mph limit through to a 30mph limit without slowing down) then the force feedback throttle will warn the rider that the bike is travelling too fast.
The throttle reacts by resisting the rider when trying to accelerate. When the correct speed is reached, the throttle returns to full control of the rider.
Throttle control is not all about speed, there appears to be a mistaken belief that, “The throttle on a motorcycle only makes bikes go faster and therefore safety can be improved simply by closing the throttle and slowing things down.”
Motorcycle trainer, Duncan MacKillop, says “The primary function of the throttle is to turn our bikes from something that is statically unstable to something that is statically and dynamically stable.”
“The secondary function of the throttle is to control our suspension. Most riders know that the forks extend when we open the throttle (..). Few riders appreciate that the rear suspension also extends when we open the throttle. This extension of the suspension when we open the throttle gives us lots more ground clearance which is essential in any corner as well as putting the suspension in its sweet spot.”
“Finally, the throttle does the relatively simple job of changing the speed of the bike. With an open throttle, a bike is more stable, has better ground clearance and has improved suspension function. With a closed throttle a bike is less stable, has less ground clearance and reduced suspension function. Of these two states, which is the safest?”
As riders we may not understand all the technicalities of the link between the throttle and the control and stability of the bike, but what we do know is that the balance of riding, accelerating, braking and cornering on a motorcycle requires full control of the motorcycle without interference with the throttle.
Our argument in this paper was oulthat any interference with the throttle would de-stabilize the motorcycle and place the rider in a precarious situation. We set out our reasons in detail why the development of this device – the force feedback throttle – should be stopped immediately and withdrawn from the SAFERIDER project.
The “Saferider” project had a myriad of partners which included the Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations (FEMA), made up of 25 rider organizations across Europe, including the the BMF (British Motorcyclists Federation) and MAG (Motorcycle Action Group UK) from the UK.
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 and this was made clear at the SAFERIDER User Forum by the former FEMA President Hans Petter Strifeldt in 2008.
We wrote to these organisations over a period of three months regarding this fundamental issue of rider control and did received any positive feedback on what they intend to do to stop the development of this system.
FEMA reported in January/February that it had been active on the deployment of ITS in Europe, notably through its involvement in ITS-related research projects such as SAFERIDER and the European eSafety Forum platform to enable them to issue positive recommendations where motorcyclists are taken into account in the development, deployment and management of intelligent applications.
However in the June-July2010 newsletter FEMA commented on an EU Directive which is establishing a framework for the development of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) in Europe that, “Anyone who ever rode a motorcycle or a scooter knows that the rider’s careful control of his machine will dramatically suffer from interferences with steering, braking or throttling. Leaving control to the rider is the best way to make sure he remains safe. That is why FEMA will fight for the safety of riders, using the best weapon at its disposal: plain common sense.”
Our Own Experience
Right To Ride’s Trevor Baird, when with MAG in 2007, had the opportunity to ride a motorcycle fitted with throttle control.
Read what he had to say:
EVSC and ISA Motorcycle – MAG UK 2007 pdf 142kb
FIM – Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme – UEM – Union Européenne de Motocyclisme
Saferider? – FIM comments Public Policy Newsletter – July – August 2010in 2010?
In an early issue of this newsletter we reported on driving around Brussels in an adapted Volvo car.
Exceed the limit and the pedal became harder to operate – but still possible to over ride.
The application of such systems directly to powered two wheelers is not a good idea.
This is discussed in the ETSC report – Vulnerable Riders – Safety implications of motorcycling in the European Union – pdf 147kb.
Saferider is a current EU project, although not one in which the FIM is a partner. (Our colleagues in FEMA are.)
Any project team can research as they wish, but we are disappointed to hear that this team is continuing with a basic ISA system, which simply replicates what works with a car.
Rider training experts at the start of the project gave advice on the complexities of this issue to the Saferider team.
On a PTW throttle opening also affects the suspension settings.
If you want more details just ask and we will reply but there is not space here to go into all the issues.”
FIM Public Policy Newsletter – July – August 2010 - Click Here
Paper To – EU Commission project officer and the Saferider Consortium – pdf 37kb – Click Here
No To Throttle Control! – On Facebook – Click Here
View the Right To Ride report – Throttle Control – Back With a Vengeance – pdf 210kb - Click Here
Saferider – List of Deliverables – 5.1HMI concepts and strategies – pdf 1.4mb - Click Here
Digesting – Throttle Control – Right To Ride’s campaign on “No To Throttle Control” has reached across the Irish Sea and has been acknowledged by the UK motorcycle magazine “The Riders Digest”. – Click Here