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19-03-2010 The demise of dangerous 'safety barriers' gets ever closer!

All over Europe, motorcyclists falling from their bikes run the risk of hitting the support beams of common metal rails, which can result in serious injuries or death. MAG and FEMA have been campaigning for 20 years to improve guardrail standards in Europe, to make sure they offer protection to motorcyclists and not just for four-wheeled vehicle passengers.

Now two Members of the European Parliament, Corien Wortmann-Kool and Wim van de Camp, have put their weight behind FEMA's campaign, urging the European Commission to take action now.

After two decades of awareness campaigns and active national lobbying, products specifically dedicated to protecting sliding motorcyclists are now available on the market. However, the current European standard still does not include anything on motorcyclist protection. Some countries hide behind this and refuse to install more protective systems.

CEN - the European Committee for Standardization, responsible for standards ranging from toys to fire extinguishers - is working on an improvement and produced an acceptable draft late last year. Now it must be accepted by two CEN committees, in March then June, before it becomes available all over Europe.

"We are at a very delicate stage now," says Hugo Roebroeck, FEMA's Campaigns Officer. "a similar draft was rejected in June last year because some CEN members wanted to tinker some more with it. We believe it's not the good way to go: CEN should validate now an acceptable standard that protects riders, and then improve it later. We already lost a year and they can't delay this forever, the motorcycling community won't accept it."

Following this first delay, Mrs. Wortmann-Kool asked the European Commission last year why nothing had been done to help the introduction of motorcyclist-friendly crash barriers. The Commission has an advisory position at CEN, and could help greatly by supporting the process, as it did in the past on other topics.

With the support of Mrs. Wortmann-Kool and her colleague Mr. van de Camp, FEMA wrote to Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas today, urging the European executive to get involved.

"We are confident that more Members of the European Parliament will back us," Hugo adds. "Motorcyclists have worked hard for this. It will be a test for the new college of Commissioners, to see if they are serious about their plans for improving road safety - for everyone."

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