PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The American Motorcyclist Association strongly objects to the lack of motorcycling safety strategies in a recently released national report developed by the Road to Zero Coalition, managed by the National Safety Council.
"The AMA is a member of the Road to Zero Coalition and has been an active participant in nearly every coalition meeting since the program began in 2016, because the safety of motorcyclists is so important to the core mission of the AMA," said AMA Vice President of Government Relations Wayne Allard. "We were disappointed to find that our expertise and insights into motorcycling and motorcyclist safety were not sought in the development of this report."
The AMA has sent a letter to the Road to Zero Coalition and to the National Safety Council regarding its concerns and is requesting that the report be amended to address motorcycle safety in a comprehensive manner.
The report, titled A Road to Zero: A Vision for Achieving Zero Roadway Deaths by 2050, was released in late April and lays out a roadmap to achieve the Road to Zero's important and worthy goal of zero road deaths by 2050.
The AMA participated in Road to Zero public meetings and events, but was excluded from the three workshops that led to the development of this report. As a result, the report contains only a single countermeasure to mitigate motorcycles injuries and very little discussion of preventing motorcycle crashes.
"This report should have included such issues as improved infrastructure and further study of the causes of motorcycle crashes," Allard said.
For motorcyclists, one of the key sections of the report is the one dealing with insurance as one way to make roads safer today.
The Road to Zero proposal holds the potential to allow insurance companies to price some drivers and vehicles off the road.
"While we are concerned about unsafe drivers on our roads, we are alarmed at this proposal, which would give insurance companies license to dictate which vehicles can and can't use public roads," Allard said. "There have been previous attempts by insurance companies to ban classes of motorcycles. By endorsing this proposal, the Road to Zero Coalition is accepting the logic that some motorcycles, despite meeting federal and state requirements for use on public roads, don't belong on those roads."
The Road to Zero report also places a great deal of trust in new technology to remove much of the risk and uncertainty from the U.S. transportation system.
The AMA believes there is incredible potential for new advanced driver assistance systems and automated vehicles to prevent a significant number of motorcyclist fatalities in car-versus-motorcycle crashes. But that optimism is tempered by preliminary studies and reports about these systems failing to adequately detect motorcyclists.
"It is vital that motorcycles be part of the testing and development of these technologies, if they are to truly have the safety benefits for motorcyclists that the AMA and the Road to Zero Coalition hope they can have," Allard said.
The report also suggests the simple application of automotive technology to motorcycles, such as automatic emergency braking, without any discussion of the potential for unintended consequences for motorcyclist training or the safety of motorcyclists.