MAG wants the UK government to prove self-driving cars are safe for bikers

The Motorcycle Action Group wants to be shown evidence from the government that self-driving vehicles will not be dangerous for UK bikers.

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The UK Motorcycle Action Group has asked the government prove that self-driving vehicles will not put motorcyclists at risk on the country’s roads. 

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) believes that self-driving vehicles will present a risk to motorcycle riders when they are allowed on UK roads.

Research conducted by the Netherlands Vehicle Authority (RDW) in 2016 found that in cases where a motorcycle was riding close to the edge of their lane, the autonomous technology in cars (such as adaptive cruise control) struggled to adapt to that positioning, and action had to be taken by the driver to avoid contact. Since the government eventually intends to use self-driving vehicles to ferry children to school, this seems like something that would have to be eradicated from the technology.

From 2023, new tests are set to be introduced for self-driving vehicles that will more stringently test the autonomous technology’s ability to detect motorcycles.

At the same time, the UK government plans to allow some vehicles - including lorries, cars  and coaches - with self-driving features to be used on UK roads. This was announced last week as part of a plan for a full rollout of self-driving vehicles in the UK by 2025. 

“It is a source of great concern that – once again – the interests of motorcyclists are an afterthought,” said MAG Chair, Neil Liversidge. “ Years of development of these systems have not taken sufficient care of motorcyclists’ interests.  Whilst the elimination of driver error may be a laudable goal, it is of no interest if that error is simply replaced by automatic incompetence.  

“We will be holding the Government and authorities to account and demanding to see genuine evidence that these vehicles will not place riders at higher risk than human drivers do. Given that independent testing is yet to commence, I find it hard to understand how the [Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps] can be so confident that the roll-out is sensible at this time.”

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