Motorcyclists need influential role in AV safety debate

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Motorcyclists need influential role in AV safety debate.

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) has explained why motorcyclists need
an influential role in the autonomous vehicle (AV) safety debate.
Responding to a consultation on a self-driving vehicle safety standard,
MAG rejects subjectivity in favour of rigorous real-world measurement.

The Government announced plans in August to roll out self-driving
vehicles on UK roads by 2025, with trials on motorways starting in 2023.
A consultation asking for views on a proposed safety standard for
self-driving vehicles closes on Friday 14th October. Recognising that
self-driving technology cannot be 100% safe, the bar suggested is that
self-driving vehicles should be as safe as a ‘competent and careful’
human driver.

MAG’s consultation response rejects the proposed standard, saying that
it is far too subjective. It calls for a far more complex and rigorous
measurement backed with removal of licences and models that fail to
achieve a statistical target.

Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, said:

“Given the level of technological and scientific rigor needed to develop
self-driving vehicles it is incongruous to then set a subjective safety
target. You wouldn’t send a rocket to land on the moon while saying
‘hopefully it will end up somewhere in the vicinity of the moon’.
Motorcyclists face being the first vulnerable road user group that will
interact with self-driving vehicles. It is clear that there are many
concerns which are entirely valid. Motorcyclists will play a role in
the debate, and it must be influential. Self-driving technology should
be developed to benefit humanity; we see no sense in forcing humanity to
adapt to fit in with any of its shortcomings. If these vehicles cannot
safely interact with us as human riders, then they have no place being
rolled out.”

MAG welcomes any prospect of improved safety of riders. The
consultation points out that the average driver in the UK does not meet
the standard of competent and careful. However, improved safety must
not be achieved at the expense of the freedom to enjoy riding motorcycles.

Critically, MAG’s response asks policymakers to note that not all road
use is purely for utility purposes. Use of the road as a form of
leisure is a legitimate use of the nation’s road infrastructure.
Therefore, riding a motorcycle for pleasure needs to be protected
throughout the process of technological developments.

The full consultation response can be seen here: