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Norwegian motorcyclists debate with the minister of transport

Norwegian motorcyclists’ organization NMCU organized a debate in their stand at the Oslo Motorcycle Show. NMCU had invited the Norwegian minister of transport, Ketil Solvik-Olsen and he came to the NMCU stand to discuss self-driving cars versus motorcycles.

NMCU (the Norwegian FEMA member organization) also invited car manufacturers Tesla and BMW. Tesla declined the invitation, but Marius Tegneby, communications manager for the BMW Group Norway took part in the debate.

From left to right: Hans Petter Strifeldt, Morten Hansen, Geir Strand, minister Ketil Solvik-Olsen and Marius Tegneby (BMW).

At the very beginning of the debate NMCU chairman Hans Petter Strifeldt asked the minister about the ongoing discussions in the press about cable barriers (or wire rope fences); the minister was very clear and killed a new discussion about reinstalling cable barriers on Norwegian roads. The discussion was started by a ‘Personal Injury Foundation’ that wanted to fight NMCU on this issue.

The backdrop for the debate was the accident last July on the E18 in Drammen, where a 19-year-old female motorcyclist was rammed by a Tesla in autopilot mode. NMCU talked to the minister about how and when to implement self-driving cars on Norwegian roads. NMCU played a video with an interview with the female motorcyclist before the debate. She told her story about her recovery since the accident and she talked about how dangerous it is to have (semi-)autonomous cars on public roads that do not necessarily ‘see’ motorcycles.

Last winter the ministry of transport had an inquiry on how to implement a testing regime with self-driving cars in Norway. NMCU replied to the inquiry with a five-page document, in which thorough objections were raised. NMCU’s main focus was to include powered two wheelers in testing protocols and legislation.

Marius Tegneby for BMW talked about how they will reach the different levels of autonomy in the coming years. The minister and BMW are very enthusiastic about the technology and its possible advantages.

NMCU’s Geir Strand talked about the national issues surrounding autonomous cars versus motorcycles and Morten Hansen, chairman of the FEMA/FIM Europe working group, talked about the process in the European Union and the role of FEMA in the discussions with testing authority RDW.

The debate in the NMCU stand at the motorcycle show drew a lot of attention and just after the debate many motorcyclists asked “How can I be a member of NMCU?”

Watch the video of the debate (in Norwegian).