Wednesday, 12 October 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
215. Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the research taken to support the proposed regulation making the wearing of high visibility clothing compulsory for motorcyclists; if he will consult with motorcyclists, the motorcycle industry and other interested parties before the introduction of any such measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29007/11]
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): EU Regulations regarding motorcycle standards are under discussion in the EU at present. The Road Safety Authority (RSA) represents my Department at these discussions and I am informed that the proposals relate only to vehicle standards, not to the vehicle’s use or the driver, and specify the standards to be applied to new motorcycles. The proposals present a legal framework for the type approval and increased market surveillance of mopeds, motorcycles and quads, which will replace and simplify the existing Framework Directive 2002/24/EC.
Contrary to suggestions that have been made by various parties, the proposed Regulations do not include provisions for mandatory wearing of high visibility clothing by motorcyclists, banning older motorcycles from urban areas or changes to driver licensing. The proposed Regulations are designed to improve the safety of those who belong to a vulnerable road user group and who account, proportionately, for the highest fatality and injury rates among all road users.
The main elements of the proposed Regulations relate to mandatory anti-lock braking system, prevention of tampering with the powertrain and automatic use of headlamp on. The Regulations are also designed to reduce vehicle emissions for these types of vehicles, which, statistics show, currently are not reducing in line with other road vehicles such as cars, buses and goods vehicles.
The Road Safety Authority has recently published an information note on the proposals on their website, and they are inviting feedback from stakeholders and the general public before 29th October, 2011. The RSA’s Motorcycle Safety Action Plan has an action for the compulsory wearing of high visibility vests by 2014.
This initiative is based upon research into road traffic collisions involving motorcyclists. Observation studies conducted by the Road Safety Authority have in the past reported already high visibility clothing wearing rates of approximately 40% by motorcyclists in Ireland and it may be higher now. The RSA are carrying out a follow up study which is due to commence this month. The RSA will have analysed the data and will release the findings by the end of the year.
In the event that there are high wearing rates by 2014, the Road Safety Authority will then re-evaluate the need for compulsory wearing of high-visibility vests. However if there is a need to make a high visibility vest compulsory, the Road Safety Authority will not make a decision on the type of high visibility vests without consulting with motorcyclists and the industry. It is the intention of the RSA to encourage the use of high visibility vests by offering them free of charge to motorcyclists.
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