After the first and second Mobility Packages, the European Commission completes the process of delivering a new industrial policy strategy on mobility with the publication of the Third Mobility Package.
On the 17th of May, the European Commission published the Third Mobility Package. This communication concerns road transport and is called ‘Europe on the move, Sustainable Mobility for Europe: safe, connected and clean’. One of the conclusions is that “mobility is the cornerstone of freedom of movement of people and goods, which is fundamental to the smooth functioning of the European Union”. Several elements in the communication are important for motorcyclists. In fact, one of our wishes comes true.
The EU member states called upon the Commission to “prepare a new road safety policy framework for the decade after 2020, including an assessment of road safety performance taking into account the targets and objectives set out in this declaration”. The European Commission gives special attention to vulnerable road users, including motorcyclists. The communication mentions speeding, driving under influence of alcohol or drugs and the failure of to wear helmets as significant contributing factors to road accidents. We can imagine that not wearing a helmet leads to more severe head injuries and possible fatalities in case of an accident, but we cannot see how it contributes to more accidents.
The European Commission gives special attention to vulnerable road users, including motorcyclists.
The European Commission uses the ‘Safe System’ approach. The Safe System accepts that people make mistakes and aims to ensure that such mistakes do not give rise to fatalities or serious injuries. As part of this Third Mobility Package, the Commission is adopting two proposals to further the goal of road safety. One aim is to transform EU vehicle safety standards to include, for example, the latest safety features, and the other to improve safety management of road infrastructure. The Commission also plans a new procedure to map the risks of accidents.
One of the most important measures however is the plan to extend the scope of legislation beyond the Trans European Transport Network (TEN-T) to primary roads relevant to cross-EU transport. Have they really listened to us? This is exactly what FEMA has been asking and lobbying for.
Another important element is that the Commission finally wants to invest money in road safety and especially safe road infrastructure. Maybe the EU can finally allocate some money to develop barriers that are safe for motorcyclists? At the same time, the annex contains a tricky sentence: “The Commission will identify the need for further action, for example in relation to the definition and implementation of the notion of ‘safe speed’; cyclist helmets and protective clothing for motorcyclists; and/or graduated licencing for novice drivers”. We do not know what exactly is meant here, but we need to be alert, that much is clear.
Maybe the EU can finally allocate some money to develop barriers that are safe for motorcyclists?
The Third Mobility Package is not only about road safety: a lot of attention goes to connected and automated mobility. Important here is that the Commission clearly states in the annex that a code of conduct should be developed “for the safe transition to the higher levels of automation, to make sure that requirements and procedures take road safety considerations (mixed traffic, interaction with other road users, platooning) fully into account”. In other words: (partly) automated and connected vehicles are not to provide a hazard for not-connected and -automated vehicles like motorcycles.
Finally, a lot of attention goes to ‘clean mobility’: next to the support of a European battery industry, road transport needs to be cleaner. One of the measures is putting forward a methodology that will allow users to make a straightforward comparison of the pricing of these different fuels. Another is the promotion of electro-mobility.
Our conclusion is that road safety is in the picture again. After several years of having attention only for exhaust emissions (especially the diesel fraud and its consequences) and automatic driving cars, the Commission recognizes the need to invest in road safety in general and particularly in safe road infrastructure. Hopefully this will lead to better and safer roads. This is something we are already working on.
Written by Dolf Willigers