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UK votes against safer crash barriers for bikers

The UK has failed to support a vote for a standard which would have meant an end to the use of lethal wire rope safety barriers on roads across Europe.

At the CEN (European Committee for Standardisation) meeting in Stockholm on Thursday 16th June 2011, the UK delegation was amongst the slim majority of countries that voted against the draft proposal for standard EN1317-8.

Spain has invested in motorcycle-safe barriers on roads for a number of years and with their excellent track record in preventing deaths and serious injuries due to collision with the barrier itself, intended to stop cars and trucks passing into oncoming traffic, it was hoped the spanish standard would be adopted Europe-wide.

The original article is on the FEMA web site;

“CEN misses historic opportunity to save European motorcyclists’ lives by turning ready-to-be-voted guardrail standard into mere technical paper

“On Thursday, June 16, CEN’s technical committee on road equipment (TC226) held its annual meeting in Stockholm. The draft standard for motorcyclists protection systems which was ready for vote, was turned into a mere Technical Specification by the United Kingdom, Germany, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, and Ireland. FEMA expressed great disappointment and thanks those who have worked hard in preparing what could have become a milestone in the history of motorcycle safety.

“The Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations (FEMA) is sad to announce that its efforts to get adopted the draft standard for motorcycle-friendly guardrails have not been successful. Despite the commitment of several CEN delegates and technical experts throughout the preparation process, the draft proposal for an EN1317-8 was not put for formal vote. Worse: despite the adopted resolution 319 calling for a European Standard, TC226 committee turned the proposal into a Technical Specification, to the extreme satisfaction of some stakeholders, who feared that such a standard could have completely changed the parameters of the European road restraint system market.

“EN1317-8 proposal was based on the Spanish standard, which has proven efficiency records: neither fatal nor seriously injured accidents ever since the installation of approved protective guardrails. Out of the 14 represented Member States, 6 only voted in favour of the proposal: France, Belgium, Norway, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, of course.

“FEMA’s General Secretary, Aline Delhaye, who has actively participated in the preparation of the draft since 2008, says: “I can only acknowledge CEN/TC226 decision with great regret. I believe CEN members missed an historical opportunity to make the history of motorcycle safety. What will be done with this Technical Specification is a mystery to me. I have my doubts about the legitimacy of the arguments put forward by those who voted ‘no’ to a European Standard. But there we are.”

“Though very disappointed, FEMA members will of course keep on working at improving statistics, supporting research projects improving protection systems and testing requirements, drawing awareness, and calling for the European standard on road restraint systems (EN1317) to take motorcyclists into account by integrating the technical specification as part 8 of EN1317.”

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