MPs' shock call for bike speed limiters

Published: 29 March 2007

A new threat to fit bikes with speed limiters has surfaced this morning.

The Government has been told to look at limiting the top speed of motorcycles by MPs.

Research should look into introducing speed limiters such as one developed last year which can take control from riders, The House of Commons Select Committee said.

A report by the Committee published last week praised a Government-commissioned motorcycle fitted with the technology, called Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA). It said: “The Government’s work on ISA is encouraging. We recommend that the Government commission a companion piece of research on the viability of introducing speed limiters on motorcycles in order to stimulate a sensible debate of the options.”

It said measures were necessary because: “Motorcycle accident rates are far too high.”

It also cited emissions as a reason, claiming: “It is unacceptable that the heavier of these vehicles [motorcycles] are more polluting than cars, this may be another
argument in favour of reducing the maximum power and speed that is available on these vehicles.” It made no comparison between high performance cars and the average motorcycle.

 

The report followed an inquiry into the progress of the Government’s Motorcycling Strategy, which aimed to ‘mainstream’ motorcycling and improve our safety. It criticised the Strategy for encouraging motorcycling. It said: “We question whether the safety case and environmental concerns detailed in this report bear out such a policy.”

 

The Department for Transport (DfT) is expected to respond to the recommendations within two months.

MCN won a promise from roads minister Stephen Ladyman in September that speed control for bikes would “never be mandated”. The commitment came after we exposed secret tests of an ISA bike in August, 2006, and then went on to ride the bike ourselves.

A DfT spokesman said: “The Government has no plans to put mandatory intelligent speed limiters on motorcycles. We are committed to improving motorcycle safety. That is why last year we spent around £1.5m on THINK! publicity aimed at improving road safety for motorcyclists. In addition, the new edition of the Highway Code will strengthen messages to drivers reminding them to be aware of and look out for motorcyclists and we also have implemented measures to improve highway engineering to provide a safer road environment for motorcyclists."

MCN will be updating this story continually as we find out more - so keep coming back for the lastest developments, including what campaigns will be run to oppose the recommendations.

We will also be making sure all motorcyclists know how to make their voice heard on the issue to their MPs. In the meantime, make your opinions heard by posting to the "Discuss this" link at the foot of this page.

The report also expressed support for a new Bill which aims to clamp down on anti-social mini moto riders by requiring all non road-going bikes to be road legal and display number plates. The report said: “Provided that the cost and the administrative burden is not prohibitive, this Committee does not see why a scheme could not be taken forward, or at least trialled, in a large conurbation such as Manchester.”

comments powered by Disqus
  • Speed is being blamed for high bike accident rates