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MAG UK: Can self-driving vehicles safely interact with motorcyclists?

The British Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) is concerned about the ability of self-driving vehicles to safely interact with motorcyclists.

The British government announced plans to roll out self-driving vehicles on UK roads by 2025, with trials on motorways starting in 2023. Motorcyclists’ organisation MAG – a member of FEMA – responded to a consultation asking for views on a proposed safety standard for self-driving vehicles. Recognising that self-driving technology cannot be 100% safe, the bar suggested is that self-driving vehicles should be as safe as a ‘competent and careful’ human driver.

MAG’s consultation response rejects the proposed standard, saying that it is far too subjective. MAG has some significant concerns over safety, particularly with respect to self-driving vehicles accommodating the challenge of sharing the roads with motorcyclists. A key point that we ask policy makers to note is that not all road use is for utility purposes. Use of the road as a form of leisure – driving or riding a motorcycle for pleasure – is a legitimate use of the nation’s road infrastructure which needs to be protected throughout the process of technological developments.

‘MAG would recommend that motorcyclists are the first ones to be consulted, considered and welcomed into the debate, rather than the current situation where they are considered only as an afterthought.’

MAG’s Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, said: “Given the level of technological and scientific rigor needed to develop self-driving vehicles it is incongruous to then set a subjective safety target. You wouldn’t send a rocket to land on the moon while saying ‘hopefully it will end up somewhere in the vicinity of the moon’. Motorcyclists face being the first vulnerable road user group that will interact with self-driving vehicles. It is clear that there are many concerns which are entirely valid. Motorcyclists will play a role in the debate, and it must be influential. Self-driving technology should be developed to benefit humanity; we see no sense in forcing humanity to adapt to fit in with any of its shortcomings. If these vehicles cannot safely interact with us as human riders, then they have no place being rolled out.”

Click here for MAG’s full response to the consultation.

Source: MAG

Top photograph courtesy of Lukas Barth/Audi

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