Motorcycles – The Added Value Factor

8th January 2010

Motorcycles and mopeds are no longer branded dangerous by the European Commission’s website – EUROPA which is dedicated to road safety.

Right To Ride protested about the statement, “Motorcycles and mopeds are the most dangerous mode of transport in the EU.” to Mr Antonio Tajani – Vice President for Transport Policy at the European Commission Directorate-General For Energy And Transport.

As a direct result of our protest, we received a letter from DG TREN stating that the Road Safety Unit has now deleted the statement from their home page in which they stated that “Motorcycles and mopeds are the most dangerous mode of transport in the EU does not bring added value”.

We also communicated this concern to rider groups in the UK, Ireland and to FEMA (Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations) and to our Northern Ireland MEPs.

Right To Ride’s, Trevor Baird, says, “Right To Ride has the same fundamental principle to promote riders’ interests and defend riders’ rights along with other rider organisations in the UK and Europe, for this reason we believe that communication amongst riders is our greatest strength and dialogue with the authorities goes beyond boundaries and ideology.”

However the statement, “Riding a PTW (Powered Two Wheeler) is also much more dangerous than using another motor vehicle.” remains on the “knowledge” document in the “specialist” page on the Europa website.

This text is quoted from the output of a project, “Powered Two Wheelers – Web text of the European Road Safety Observatory” and is from a scientist’s view point, written without input from motorcycle user groups. The European Commission covers any quoted text with the disclaimer, “The opinions expressed in the studies are those of the consultant and do not necessarily represent the position of the Commission”.

In our opinion this statement implies that any form of motorised transport, from an electric bicycle, car, van, to a HGV may be dangerous and we believe that this does not reflect a balanced view by the Commission because it omits to include scientifically based research from the perspective of European motorcycle riders, their representatives and experts.

If we consider the statements on the Europa website, “The overwhelming majority of motorcycle and moped crashes are caused by human error” and “Motorcycles and mopeds are more vulnerable than cars or trucks, because they are less stable and provide less protection.”, we can determine which vehicle or rather which driver is more dangerous to another vehicles or drivers/riders.

Therefore we may come to the conclusion that an HGV is more dangerous in a collision with another vehicle because of its size and weight even though the driver is highly trained and tested.

Equally we could say that cars are far more dangerous (statistically) because of the sheer number of deaths of vulnerable road users – including pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists – which are the direct responsibility of car drivers.

It is our view that if the EU Commission wishes to reduce casualties on European roads, then it makes sense to look at the core issues rather than identifying one mode of transport as “the problem”.

Why Worry!

Well the so called experts who wrote the offending text on European Road Safety Observatory (ERSO) website – which ended up on the Europa website and in a full report supported by the European Commission – has been quoted by another bunch of experts in the literature review of the – National Motorcycle Action Plan Technical Report, Road Safety Authority (RSA), Rep. of Ireland – published in April 2009.

So while this remains on the EU website, the anti motorcycling text will be quoted by expert after expert and used to formulate proposed motorcycle legislation which will need always to be fought against!

Page 65 of the RSA document

Powered Two Wheelers Website

3.8.5 This was published by the European Road Safety Observatory on 02 September 2008.

3.8.6 It is available on the European Road Safety Observatory (ERSO) website and is aimed at road safety professionals. ERSO is the Gateway into a Central Resource of European Road Safety data, knowledge and links. The pilot website is one of the final results of SafetyNet, which is an integrated project funded by DG-TREN of the European Commission.

3.8.8 ………….Riding a PTW is also much more dangerous than using another motor vehicle.

Page 67

3.8.12 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 PTWs may be more acceptable if alternatives are made more attractive.

Full Report Click Here 874kb pdf


Road Safety Knowledge Base – Powered Two Wheelers

Making roads safer for motorcycles and mopeds

Powered Two Wheelers – Web text of the European Road Safety Observatory – Source of Dangerous Motorcycles position 2008 written without input from motorcycle user groups. Click Here pdf 289kb

FEMA Response to European Road Safety Observatory – 2009 Click Here pdf 64kb