After 25 years of continuous fight at national and European level, FEMA finally made Member States recognise the problem of existing road restraint systems with regards to motorcyclists, and made them commit to finding a solution.
Thousands of dead and seriously injured motorcyclists, hundreds of demonstrations, numerous presentations, discussions and shouts of anger throughout Europe have been necessary before Member States’ representatives recognised the problem caused by guardrails and decided to find a solution.
Road restraint systems in Europe have so far been designed and tested to protect all categories of vehicles, except motorcycles. This situation has not been amended but rather reinforced with the development of a European standard. Although the standard proved to be inadequate for motorcyclists, Member States rigorously applied it. Motorcyclists immediately denounced the problem, calling for the EU standard (EN1317) to be adapted and to take their specific characteristics into account. Indeed, when impacting, colliding or simply sliding on a road, motorcyclists are obviously not protected by traditional ‘road restraint systems’. On the contrary: these turn into a major additional hazard when the motorcyclist impacts the supporting poles.
Aline Delhaye, General Secretary of the “Federation of European Motorcyclists? Associations” (FEMA) attended her first CEN/TC226 1 meeting last week in Oslo, Norway, since the association was granted the liaison status last January as representative of European motorcycle riders.
During the meeting, Aline Delhaye managed to explain motorcyclists’ concerns about existing EN1317 standard and currently designed guardrails and convinced TC226 members to start working on the issue of motorcyclist protection with regards to road restraint systems.
In its resolution 287, CEN members unanimously accepted in principle to work on the protection of motorcyclists in respect of road restraint systems and asked the Chairman, the Secretary and the convenor of WG 1, in consultation with FEMA, to prepare the scope for a new work item based on the existing standards, regulations and technical specifications in the CEN member countries’.
CEN/TC226 last week’s vote marks a milestone for FEMA and its members in their collective fight to have protective guardrails which do not turn into additional road hazards in the unfortunate case of an accident.
Aline Delhaye says: “The CEN resolution is a great success for the whole rider community and we can celebrate this as a first step towards victory! To obtain such a positive result at our first meeting with CEN members was unexpected. One would have thought FEMA lobby work would have lasted years before obtaining such positive move forward. I was particularly pleased to notice a broad understanding and recognition of the problem among TC226 members, which I believe is mostly due to FEMA members? constant work and pressure towards road authorities, standardizing bodies and the general public at national level.”
The next challenge will be to ensure that the work undertaken will not take ages, as it is sometimes the case for EU standards.
Note to editor:
- CEN: European Committee for Standardisation – TC226: Technical Committee on “Road equipment” The CEN, the European Committee for Standardisation, was founded in 1961 by the national standards bodies in the European Economic Community (EEC) and EFTA countries.
- Today, CEN is contributing to the objectives of the European Union and European Economic Area with voluntary technical standards which promote free trade, the safety of workers and consumers, interoperability of networks, environmental protection, exploitation of research and development programmes, and public procurement.
- On behalf of governments, the European Commission or EFTA Secretariat may request the European Standards organisations to develop standards in support of their policies by issuing formal ‘mandates’.
FEMA – Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations
Rue des Champs 62, 1040 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 (0)2 736 9047 / Fax: +32 (0)2 736 9401
FEMA National Member Organisations
MAG Austria – MAG Belgium – CMF Czech Republic – DMC Denmark – MCTC Denmark – MP69 Finland – SMOTO Finland – FFMC France – Biker Union Germany – BVDM Germany – Kuhle Wampe Germany – MOT.O.E Greece – MAG Ireland – Coordinamento Motociclisti Italy – LMI Luxembourg – NMCU Norway – MAG Netherlands – GAM Portugal – SMC Sweden – IG Motorrad Switzerland – BMF United Kingdom – MAG United Kingdom – AMM Spain – EMOK Turkey