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MAG demands evidence riders will not be put at risk by self-driving
The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) is extremely concerned by today’s
announcement that self-driving vehicles could be allowed on UK motorways
as soon as next year. With EuroNCAP testing of detection and reaction
to motorcycles only scheduled to start in 2023, MAG wants evidence that
motorcyclists will not be placed at risk.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has today unveiled plans to allow
self-driving vehicles to be rolled out on UK roads by 2025. Some
vehicles, including cars, coaches and lorries, with self-driving
features could be operating on motorways in the next year. Today’s (19
August 2022) plans set out new legislation allowing for the wider
rollout of self-driving vehicles by 2025.
Announcements were made in October 2021 that EuroNCAP will start testing
driver support systems in cars, such as Autonomous Emergency Braking and
Lane Support Systems, on their performance in detecting and reacting to
motorcyclists from 2023.
The Motorcycle Action Group has long expressed concerns that detection
systems do not adequately cope with motorcyclists. In 2016, research by
RDW (the Netherlands Vehicle Authority) showed that cars with an
innovative driving system, such as an adaptive cruise control, were
capable of noticing motorcycles, but when motorcycles rode at the edge
of their lane, the adaptive cruise control did not respond well to them.
In many tests, action had to be taken by the driver of the car to
prevent a collision.
MAG Chair, Neil Liversidge, commented:
“It is a source of great concern that - once again - the interests of
motorcyclists are an afterthought. Years of development of these
systems have not taken sufficient care of motorcyclists’ interests.
Whilst the elimination of driver error may be a laudable goal, it is of
no interest if that error is simply replaced by automatic incompetence.
We will be holding the Government and authorities to account and
demanding to see genuine evidence that these vehicles will not place
riders at higher risk than human drivers do. Given that independent
testing is yet to commence, I find it hard to understand how the
Minister can be so confident that the roll-out is sensible at this time.”