SAFERIDER project – riders provide vital ‘reality check’

SAFERIDER PROJECT – statement by FEMA Research Steering Group

The Saferider project was set up under an EU initiative for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) projects. The objectives of this initiative are to develop commercial ICT products in Europe in order to be more competitive on the world arena.  

The project is made up of a Consortium of researchers and manufacturers looking at Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and In Vehicle Information System (IVIS) that already exist for cars, trying to see if they can adapt them to motorcycles.  

FEMA was asked to participate as the representatives of the end users to monitor the development of the project and provide a ‘reality check’ for the Consortium. At a meeting in Brussels, the FEMA President told the Saferider Consortium that
“Fundamental to our role as the defender of riders’ rights in Europe, is that any technology must be developed in such as way that the rider has complete control of his or her machine. This is central to FEMA’s philosophy”. 

FEMA got the partners to include in the project, a focus group of experienced motorcycle trainers (who have already expressed their reservations about the proposed systems) as well as a pan European survey to make sure the riders’ voice is clearly heard. The survey gathered opinions from 5,000 riders using 6 languages and was promoted by national riders’ organisations in each of their countries. 

As it would be impractical to gather personal comments from each response, some simple questions were devised to investigate how useful – or not – the riders see different ICT technologies. However, the survey remains capable of impartially demonstrating the riders’ opinions of different technologies and must form part of the final report of the Consortium to the EU Commission. If the majority of riders reject these systems, then that must be reported. 

FEMA’s participation in the SAFERIDER project has been criticised by some riders, but history shows we can easily be ignored if we stand on the sidelines. We can no longer afford to simply shout our disapproval after decisions have been made – we must be at the centre of the debates on transport and on the future of mobility if we want to steer governments and research organisations in the right direction.