Two-wheeled vehicles, unlike cars, vans and trucks, don’t have a protective shell around them. As a result, riders of these increasingly popular modes of transport have a significantly higher risk of being involved in a serious crash.
A new report, released earlier this month by DEKRA, a company based in Stuttgart, Germany that conducts automotive testing, inspection and crash research, highlighted the high crash risk for riders of two-wheelers and the need to take effective action to address it.
“There is a whole host of things we can do to counter this trend with a lasting effect,” Clemens Klinke, a member of DEKRA’s Management Board, said at the presentation of the organization’s Road Safety Report 2020.
This year’s report examined two-wheeled modes of transportation, both motorized and non motorized, from a variety of perspectives. The use of these vehicles, which includes motorcycles, mopeds, bicycles, e-bikes, scooters and e-scooters, is expected to increase over the next few years. The annual report focuses on a different topic every year.
Insufficient risk awareness, flouting the rules of the road, excessive speed, driving under the influence of alcohol, distraction and insufficient consideration for other road users were among the factors responsible for crashes involving riders of two-wheeled vehicles.
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These tendencies “can be efficiently counteracted by responsible behavior,
interaction and communication between road users, and the proper assessment of one’s own capabilities,” Klinke said.
In addition to understanding the impact of “human error,” other effective measures to combat the serious injury and death toll include improving roadway infrastructure, like installing better crash barriers and targeted speed monitoring at collision hot spots, and widespread implementation of in-vehicle technology, like active safety assistance systems, particularly for motorized two-wheeled vehicles.
For example, in the European Union, several safety features are now required for new motorcycles:
- Antilock braking systems (ABS), which prevent the wheels from locking and allow the motorcycle to come to a stop more safely, reduce the risk of a crash and a serious fall for the rider; and
- eCall, which can activate the emergency response system more quickly and allow responders to pinpoint the scene of a crash if riders cannot call for help themselves.
The report made a series of recommendations aimed to help attain greater road safety:
- All riders of two-wheeled vehicles (motorized and non-motorized) should always wear a suitable helmet to reduce the risk of head injury.
- All riders of two-wheeled vehicles should be aware of how important active and passive lighting equipment is for their safety.
- All road users should be taught the rules of the road.
- Children should be given cycling proficiency lessons to learn the basic rules of the road as early as possible.
- Periodic safety inspections should also become standard for motorcycles, rental bicycles, and e-scooters.
- Motorcycle anti lock brake systems (ABS) should be rolled out more widely, and perhaps be required on smaller powered two-wheelers.
- Software manipulation on pedelecs (electric bicycles that must be pedaled) should be made more difficult and be punishable by law.
- Alcohol limits should apply to riders and compliance should be monitored.
- Infrastructure should be expanded and maintained for all road users. Maintenance of cycle paths, for example, is imperative to ensure cyclists’ safety.
“We all have a duty, by conducting ourselves in a risk-aware manner and abiding by the rules and safety standards in place,” Klinke added, “to make our own contribution to bringing down the number of crashes,” in the long term.”
“Human errors should not lead to death,” Adina Vălean, the European Commissioner for Transport, said in a video statement. “We must remember that it is human to make mistakes, and mistakes should not lead to death and serious injury.”
To access DEKRA’s most recent Road Safety Report, related research, and previous annual reports, click here.
Source: Forbes – Business