Dangerous – EU

23rd December 2011

A couple of months back, we at Right To Ride wrote to José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission regarding the European Commission’s proposal – Approval and market surveillance of two – or three-wheel vehicles and quadricycles.

In our letter to the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, we laid out constructively the issues surrounding the Commission’s proposal, as well as our concerns regarding some of the text contained in the European Commission Road Safety website “Specialist Knowledge page on Powered Two Wheelers” which states:

  • “Riding a PTW is also much more dangerous than using another motor vehicle.”
  • “Discouraging or restricting the use of PTWs may be more acceptable if alternatives are made more attractive.”

We pointed out in our letter, that while we appreciated that there are a lot of important issues being dealt with by the European Commission, these motorcycle issues are just as important to motorcyclists here in Northern Ireland (31,250 approx.), Ireland (36,000 approx.), Great Britain (1.5million approx.) and indeed throughout the whole of Europe (33.5 million approx.).

We called for clarification from the Commission that would allay the fears of the European Motorcycle Citizen. We asked for a statement that the European Commission is not attempting to completely remove motorcyclists from EU roads and asked what the Commission’s position regarding motorcycles (Powered Two Wheeler – PTW – Mopeds – Scooters – Motorcycles) is.

We have now received a detailed reply which was filtered down to the Head of Unit for Road Safety at the European Commission, Isabelle Kardacz who replied to us on behalf of the President of the Commission.

Her reply was to the point. She stated “Let me make it very clear that the Commission’s position concerning the use of motorcycles and mopeds is not, and has never been, to ‘remove motorcyclist from EU roads’.

Read this in full – Click Here

Dangerous – EU

18th June 2010

Over the last few months we’ve been corresponding with the EU Commission Road Safety Unit (DG MOVE) regarding the europa website and the comments “Motorcycles and Mopeds are the most dangerous form of transport.

We complained about this to the Commissioner and received recognition from Mr Tajani that this comment “did not add value” and was removed.

We then pointed out to DG MOVE that the problem had not gone away because the comment about motorcycles and mopeds being dangerous was still on another of their websites

European Commission – Road Safety – Powered Two Wheelers –  Click Here

There were further inflammatory comments including:

“A further reduction in number of PTW accidents is only possible with a very restrictive licensing system with access only at higher age limits, more extensive training and testing, lower power to weight ratios or restricted top speed. These measures will not be popular with present user groups or the PTW industry. Discouraging or restricting the use of PTW’s may be more acceptable if alternatives are made more attractive”.

After a flurry of emails, we received a letter from the Commissioner’s assistants.

In a nutshell, they wrote that because the website content was the result of a project which the EU Commission funded they are obliged to publicise the results (deliverables).

What we gathered from this letter is that the Commission cannot do anything about it – even if it is scientifically wrong.

However they wrote that they (the Commission) are willing to consider the inclusion of other research on motorcycles and mopeds to balance the comments in the Safetynet document.

On the europa website we saw that the OCED Workshop in Lillehammer has been linked and that on the knowledge page at the top of the page the text, “The opinions expressed in the studies are those of the consultant and do not necessarily represent the position of the Commission.” has appeared.

We replied that the European Road Safety Observatory report is now two years old and it has effectively been superceded by the ITF/OECD Workshop in Lillehammer (in 2008).

We also wrote that we hoped for the future any new “deliverable” must include a more positive attitude to motorcycling, while recognising that motorcycle safety is an ongoing process and should encompass all stakeholders in this process.

European Forum

On the 28th and 29th June, Right To Ride attended what was hailed as the 1st International Motorcyclists Conference in Brussels, organized by FEMA (Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations) in partnership with the Canadian and Australian motorcycling associations and the European Commission.

The Conference was also the launch of the European Motorcyclists Forum by the European Commission’s Madame Isabelle Kardacz, Head of the European Commission Road Safety Unit.

The objective of the Motorcyclists Forum was to give the users of PTWs (motorcycles – scooters and mopeds) the opportunity to put their views directly to the research community and the decision makers.

Conference

The conference started with the Round Table “Motorcycling of the 21st Century”. This was followed throughout the next two days with numerous presentations which covered a multitude of issues relating to safety, risk, technology, attitude, behaviour, road infrastructure and electric motorcycles.

For Right To Ride the most important question was whether the EU Road Safety Unit wished to comment on the Knowledge base Europa website which contained statements to the effect that motorcycles are dangerous and should be restricted and discouraged.

The reason for this question was to understand whether the Commission was effectively serious in its dialogue with riders.

After an exchange of views, there was no direct response to the question, although conversations held later on, clarified the situation – which was that we should see the Commission’s Road Safety website changed to enable stakeholders to contribute to the contents.

Full Details – Click Here

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