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Stop treating motorcyclists like criminals of road

Published 29/11/2011

European legislation is being proposed that will actively discriminate against and criminalise motorcyclists because of the inadequacies and failures of others.

In essence, the EU wants to enact into law various measures, under the guise of road safety, that will seriously curtail motorcyclists's freedoms by comparison to other road users.

The most idiotic of these is to force motorcyclists to wear full high-visibility clothing and make it a criminal offence not to.

The Irish Republic says it will enact this legislation unilaterally by 2014. Its road safety authority calls it a positive safety measure and - along with those who would make it a Europe-wide law - cites research allegedly showing motorcyclists are hard to see.

What this research underlines is that other road users aren't looking properly. If this notion is to be believed, we are being told that drivers will pull into the path of an oncoming motorcycle more often than they won't - even when that motorcyclist is dressed to the highest level of visibility.

The single most common causative factor in road collisions involving motorcyclists and other vehicles is that the other driver, usually of a car, didn't see the motorcyclist.

Making criminals out of motorcyclists only treats a symptom, not the cause, alienates a vulnerable class of road user that is already under pressure and is a lazy-minded and insidious approach to the problem.


Bangor, Co Down

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