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SafeRider…..Rider Safety the EU Way??

February 7, 2010

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Plymouth, England – If you perused the UK’s, alleged, largest circulation motorcycle newspaper this week you may have seen the item on the European Union SafeRider Project. So what is going on here is it rider safety improvement or the EU apparatchiks beating the last bit of fun out of biking.

So what’s SafeRider? The aim of SafeRider is to study the potential of Advanced Rider Assistance Systems (ARAS) and On Bike Information Systems (OBIS).

For the uninitiated ARAS applications are, Speed Alerts, Curve Speed Warning, Frontal Collision Warning, Intersection Support. While OBIS applications are eCall, Telediagnostic Service, Navigation and Route Guidance, Weather, Traffic and Black Spot Warning. In short technology capable of warning motorcycle riders when they’re speeding, cornering too fast, too close to the vehicle in front or likely to be collision involved. Not to mention ring up the dealer and book a service appointment, call the emergency services when you fall off and flash everything you ever wanted to know to a head-up display projected on to your visor.

The stuff of science fiction, afraid not, for SafeRider is costing 5.3million €uros has twenty European partners some of best automotive engineers in the world and is part of the Seventh EU Framework Programme (FP7). Framework Programmes are major milestones in EU policies they define priorities in research which is later used to achieve objectives in EU policies. In this case improving rider safety.  

A SafeRider prototype system which will include satellite navigation, speed limit mapping and warning, curve speed warning and collision detection is to be fitted to nine motorcycles/scooters and trial tested in the UK this June. Public demonstrations, in this case public means a few journalists and motorcycle worthies, will be held at the Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA) test track in Nuneaton in early November.

Good stuff, except for one minor point err the European Commission would like SafeRider to become mandatory on all new road bikes within five or six years.

Ok who asked us? Well not worry the Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations (FEMA) is looking after our interests, in fact they being paid to do some of the work on SafeRider. Then there have been a number of briefings and seminars attended by the Motorcycle Action Group and other European rider representative groups. So all the lobbyists know about SafeRider, question is do you.

Can we be sure that questions like – How much will it cost? Who pays? What about information overload? How about risk compensation? Will it be mandatory? What are the alternatives? Why? – have been, are being and will be asked.

Can we be sure that a group of people, most of whom are not road safety professionals, will not consign us to a technology overloaded future? Just because we can do it does not mean we have too. The last word in the bottom line after ‘safety’ is ‘common sense’.

More on SafeRider here…..

Last week the good folk at the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) chugged off to see Ian Lucas MP, Minister for Business and Regulatory Reform, at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The BRR news hound has obtained a copy of the official communiqué issued after the meeting. You can read it here…..

Have fun!

© Back Roads Rider 2010

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Blue permalink
    February 7, 2010 9:31 am

    I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry reading that MCIA document, in the end I punched a hole in the wall.

    It ground my gears reading those words “constructive dialogue” isn’t that a euphemism for we sat around in the comfy chairs, eat biscuits and waffled on and on, then planned more meetings of waffling. Lets hope Ian Lucas sticks around long enough after the next election.

    And I especially enjoyed the line “the MCIA is calling for equal status in the automotive field”. Well they are off to a great start, with the MCIA’s help we now pay to park our bikes, I’m beginning to feel so much more equal to the car drivers now.

    Thanks MCIA, because you’re worth it!

  2. Dave permalink
    February 9, 2010 9:05 am

    Hmmm, in my experience the more you insulate people from the task of driving / riding the less involved with it they become and the more likely they are to kill someone else. ABS? read tailgating (‘cos you can stop on a 6 pence with ABS…) Traction Control? Just plant your foot down ‘cos you can’t wheel spin. Satnav? No need to pay attention to road signs or markings. It’s bad enough hearing car drivers bleating on about thier satnav taking them the wrong way, hearing bikers complain that their bike told them it was safe to corner at X mph but didn’t warn them about the mud on the road or the tractor parked round the bend will be almost unbearable. Let’s take a step back to proper road craft values and get people to use their eyes, ears and brains, or is it too late for that now?


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