The organisation states that Wim Taal and Dolf Willigers visited Fotini Ioannidou, the newly appointed Head of Unit Road Safety of DG MOVE.
FEMA explains that, “DG MOVE is the Directorate General of the European Commission responsible for EU policy on mobility and transport.”
The rest of the report comments, “FEMA wanted to talk to Ms. Ioannidou and her colleague Attila Eordogh about safe roads for motorcyclists. We talked about barriers, obstacle-free roadsides, clear view, road markings, C-ITS (infrastructure-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-vehicle communication) and road maintenance.
Although the European Union does not have much to say about road infrastructure in member states, there is some legislation when it comes to the roads that are part of the TEN-T network; those are the roads, railroads and inland waterways that are important for the cross-border transport of goods and people in Europe.
The European Union can also play a role when it comes to awareness; the European Commission can point out to the member states the importance of keeping motorcyclists in mind when designing and maintaining roads.
After the meeting with Ms. Ioannidou, FEMA’s general secretary Dolf Willigers stated: “We are convinced that we can have a good cooperation with Ms. Ioannidou, to the benefit of European motorcyclists and moped riders.”
However while it is a very positive move to have such a meeting, if we look back and view the present position of DG MOVE – Mobility and transport as regards motorcycles there are two statements, that hopefully this “new” cooperation can qualify DG MOVE’s position regarding Powered Two Wheelers.
The following statements are STILL contained in the text on the European Commission Road Safety website “Specialist Knowledge page on Powered Two Wheelers” which state:
- “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.”
This text has been there since 2011 when as Right To Ride EU, we wrote to the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso and at that time received a reply from the Head of Unit for Road Safety at the European Commission, Isabelle Kardacz on behalf of the President of the Commission.
“This greater risk is certainly related to the fact that these road users are not protected by the vehicle and therefore are more vulnerable in case of an accident. This is why the Commission has set as a priority for its action to improve road safety for motorcyclists and other vulnerable road users.
EU action on road safety aims at reducing the high number of casualties or fatalities, which result in so much suffering and represent such an important economic cost. For this, a variety of measures have been adopted and more will follow in the future.
These measures may concern various aspects of road safety like vehicle technology, training and licensing of drivers or improved infrastructure, but they are certainly not oriented towards limiting the use of motorcycles, as they are not aimed at limiting the use of any type of vehicle.”
In 2011, the “Specialist Knowledge page on Powered Two Wheelers” on the DG MOVE website was taken from a report produced by the “European Road Safety Observatory” which was at least two years old then. What DG MOVE also told us at the time was because the website content was the result of a project which the EU Commission funded they were obliged to publicise the results (deliverables).
However, in order to cover their backs, after we raised the issue they inserted a “caveat” at the top of the pages which stated (and still states), “The opinions expressed in the studies are those of the consultant and do not necessarily represent the position of the Commission.”
While we understand that somewhere there is a new project being finalised to replace what is on the website, six years have passed and the world continues to look at outdated material.
Perhaps the newly appointed Head of Unit Road Safety of DG MOVE may wish to recognise that it might be prudent to actually remove these statements and reconsider any dialogue to action – on-line anyway.