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MAG wants input into self-driving laws

They might be taking longer to arrive than many have predicted, but self-driving, or autonomous, vehicles seem to be just around the corner, with the UK government planning to have them on the road by 2025, with trials on motorways beginning just next year.

There’s clearly a massive amount of work to be done on preparing society for the changes, and as the latest government consultation ended last month, the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) issued a statement asking for a more influential role for motorcycling in the safety debate and criticising the consultation’s proposal that self-driving vehicles will need to be as safe as a ‘competent and careful’ human driver.

MAG’s director of campaigns, Colin Brown, said, “Given the level of technological and scientific rigour needed to develop self-driving vehicles, it is incongruous to then set a subjective safety target. You wouldn’t send a rocket to the moon 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.”

MAG’s statement reiterates the importance of the leisure side to biking, too. MAG’s response asks policymakers: “To note that not all road use is purely for utility purposes. Use of the road as a form of leisure is a legitimate use of the nation’s road infrastructure, therefore, riding a motorcycle for pleasure needs to be protected.”

MAG’s full response to the consultation is available on its website: www.mag-uk.org.

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