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Motorcycles to get speed limiters

Published: 19 September 2008

Motorcycles will be fitted with speed limiters linked to satellites to prevent them ever exceeding the limit under plans announced by Government.

The devices could take control from riders by automatically cutting power whenever a speed limit is exceeded.

Watered-down versions which can be overridden or which only warn riders they are speeding are also under consideration.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said today it was in talks with the motorcycle industry over how the technology could be made available for riders to take-up voluntarily.

A spokeswoman confirmed plans revealed earlier for cars also applied to bikes.
The move dramatically breaks a Government promise that plans for motorcycle speed limiters would go no further. In 2006, after MCN exposed trials of a Suzuki Bandit 650 fitted with the technology, the DfT said:

“We’ve learned lessons and don’t need to do any more research. There are no plans to mandate this. As far as we’re concerned, for bikes and speed control that’s pretty much the end of the road.”

Today a spokesman said: “We’re not proposing any more research. What we’re saying is that we want to make sure that if there is a demand – and we were talking about drivers generally but that could include riders – then we would want the systems to be available for people who want them.”

He said the biggest obstacle was the creation of a nationwide digital speed limit map needed for the devices to detect when a limit is broken. 

“The first thing we’re going to do is publish some advisory standards for local authorities to use in recording speed limit data for theirs roads,” he said, adding: “It’s early stages.”