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Swedish minister: ‘We cannot have centre railings that shred motorcyclists’

The Swedish minister of infrastructure, Tomas Eneroth, wants to increase traffic safety and instructs the Swedish Transport Administration to investigate, among other things, how central railings should be designed.

“This is very nice news and all motorcyclists are overjoyed today,” says SMC’s Maria Nordqvist, who has fought for safer centre railings for more than 20 years.

Swedish minister of infrastructure, Tomas Eneroth.

Centre railings and so-called 2 + 1 roads have increased traffic safety in Sweden in a clear way and the number of serious meeting accidents has decreased drastically. But ever since the railings began to be built just over 20 years ago, Sweden’s motorcyclists, SMC, have fought for better designed railings. SMC was early critical of the fact that motorcyclists can be injured when the driver slips under the railing and is injured by poles. SMC has stubbornly tried to influence responsible politicians.

And now SMC seems to have been heard. Minister of Infrastructure Tomas Eneroth instructs the Swedish Transport Administration to review the traffic environment for motorcyclists and the inquiry will come up with concrete proposals on how we can improve traffic safety. “When we now make a large investment in infrastructure with a budget of over 900 billion, we cannot and must not have a traffic environment that increases the risks for motorcycle drivers”, Eneroth says. “I have been frustrated with this for a long time and now I want to see concrete and clear proposals. It can be about smoother railings, anti-slip protection or that contractors have to clean away gravel and tools in a much better way than today.

The number of fatal accidents with motorcyclists in recent years has been at historically low levels with 28-29 deaths per year. “There are too many. The zero vision must also apply here. There are few road users who are as well trained as organized motorcyclists and I want to see more motorcycles in a safer traffic environment”, says Tomas Eneroth.

‘We cannot have centre railings that shred motorcycle riders, we must be able to do better than that’

Maria Nordqyist, political secretary at SMC.

For Maria Nordqvist at SMC, this is a welcome message and an investigation she has been fighting for too long: “To hear a Swedish minister say that he wants more motorcycles is sensational. This is so welcome. The number of motorcycles has increased worldwide, and the motorcycle is a good way to reduce congestion and improve the climate.”

The centre rail has become a symbol of how the investment in roads and safer traffic prioritizes different vehicles over others. Eneroth wants to change that: “It has been important to stop the crash violence from heavy vehicles. That’s fine, but we cannot put more responsibility on motorcyclists than on other riders. We know that drivers will make mistakes, but that mistake should not lead to a fatal accident. We cannot have centre railings that shred motorcycle riders, we must be able to do better than that.” Eneroth also sees increased digitization and the 5G network as a tool to improve information. Vehicles can talk to each other, and drivers can be told that there are road works, slippery roads and oncoming vehicles behind a curve. “Here I hope that the motorcycle industry is involved in developing those tools. It can make a big difference”, says Eneroth.

The Swedish Transport Administration’s investigation will be presented on 30 October. “This is exactly right in time, and we are incredibly happy that it is happening now. It is a nice day for everyone who rides a motorcycle”, says Maria Nordqvist.

Source: Teknikens Värld

SMC is the Swedish motorcyclists’’ association and a member of FEMA.