Motorcycle detection to be included in EuroNCAP tests from 2023

As of 2023, EuroNCAP will be testing the ability of car safety systems to spot & react to motorcycles on the road. Hopefully making the roads safer for all.

EuroNCAP motorcycle detection systems tested

It’s been a long time coming, and it’s genuinely baffling that this hasn’t been done sooner, but as of 2023, EuroNCAP (European New Car Assessment Program) will be testing new cars that are fitted with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) on its ability to spot and react to motorcycles on the road. 

Currently, cars that have a star rating of 4 and above may not react sufficiently to motorcyclists on the road. Despite the EuroNCAP star-scheme being voluntary, it is not reflective of the true standard of detection and reaction systems to aid drivers to detect vulnerable road users, therefore not truly doing their job as intended. 

In 2016 - as per British Motorcyclists Federation - research conducted by RDW (Netherlands Vehicle Authority) showed that whilst some cars with then-innovative detection systems were able to spot motorcycles in the middle of the lane, they lost sight of the riders who were closer to the edge of the lane.

That is a massive problem for drivers who may naturally rely on adaptive cruise control systems, or blind spot detection if there is a filtering motorcyclist. In fact, recent motorcycles (like the BMW R 18 B and KTM 1290 Super Adventure S) can have radar detection for adaptive cruise control features.

Admittedly 2016 is now 5 years in the past, but new systems (called AEB/LSS VRU systems) will be tested on their ability to react to vulnerable road users, i.e. brake or steer autonomously. 

The instant reaction may rightly be ‘well drivers just need to pay more attention’ - but in a world where new safety gadgets in cars are marketed with EuroNCAP stars, it makes a lot of sense to ensure that these safety gadgets are doing what they should for motorcyclists and other vulnerable road users.

Test scenarios for the cars will include: approaching a stationary motorcycle, approaching a motorcycle travelling at speed, overtaking and lane changes, and turning at junctions and straight roads. 

Something I have noticed when riding past Tesla’s, in particular, is their real-time ability to pick up what’s around, and I’ll often catch a glimpse of a motorcycle in the real-time detection on that massive central display. No idea how reliable it is for safety purposes, mind. 

These tests will also influence future technological advancements in safety, as manufacturers pursue the top marks for safety tests. So we all win, really. 

Watch: BMW R 18 B (2022) review - with motorcycle detection systems!

New BMW R 18 B (2021) Review | Meet the official Rock N' Roll Cruiser! |

Want to find out more about EuroNCAP and the road safety tests?

More information on the BMF site. Also, check the Motorrad article.