Monday, December 22, 2008

Motorbikes: an ongoing saga

The Longrider comments on the latest load of bansturbatory bullshit from the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).
ACPO has recently submitted a report to the transport select committee seeking motorcycles to be banned from certain areas under the banner of road safety.

Now, you might ask, what ACPO thinks it is doing getting involved in the lawmaking process; after all the police are there to uphold law, not create it. I could understand if their advice was sought regarding the policing of a proposal should it become law, but otherwise, I would expect them to shut up and do the job for which we pay them, that is; policing by consent of the electorate.

Well, I hate to say that I told you so but I did, back in February, when I quoted this article.
Motorbikes should be banned as part of a plan to eliminate road deaths, a safety expert has claimed.

The goal of stopping deaths on the roads has been set by a number of countries including Norway, Australia and Sweden, where the programme has been called “Vision Zero”.

But Norwegian safety expert Rune Elvik said for it to happen, policy makers should consider the radical step of banning motorbikes.

“If they are serious about these lofty road safety ambitions that have been announced then I think such a discussion is needed,” he said in an interview with Motor Cycle News.

“Motorcycling would definitely not be allowed.”

Your humble Devil's attention was drawn to this article by one of his mole's in the European Commission, who pointed out the EU was very interested in Vision 0.
CARS 21 is an EU Commission initiative and, according to my informant, that same Commission is very interested in adopting the Swedish Vision 0 for itself.

But this is a laudable aim, is it not? Well, yes and no because, you see, the EU Commission does not have a "stop" switch, nor even a "this is a fucking stupid idea" warning light; would that they did. And it is relevant because road safety is entirely in the hands of the Commission: the British government no longer has primacy over our road safety laws.

And my mole reliably informs me that the Commission has seized upon the idea that it is human error that causes accidents; thus, they have reasoned, the best way to remove human error would be to automate the driving process. As such, they have been looking at ways of doing this—and it could be integrated with the Galileo project too.

Unfortunately, there is a little fly in this ointment: although the Commission have decided that it would be relatively easy to automate car driving, it would be near impossible to automate the driving of another type of vehicle.


And so it is hardly surprising that ACPO should be proposing a very similar measure, for this is how the EU works. A little lobbying here, a little lobbying there; some pressure brought to bear here, threats of funding withdrawal there: it's the same old game over and over again.

Now, does anyone happen to know if ACPO has received any EU funding? Unfortunately, one cannot submit an FoI request because ACPO are exempt.
ACPO is a private company and the Office of the Information Commissioner has confirmed that the Freedom of Information Act does not apply to the Association, since Schedule 1 of the Act does not include a definition which covers ACPO.

If ACPO is a private company (which it is) who funds it? Who are the directors? Where do any profits go? Can anyone with access to Companies House find me ACPO's accounts for the last few years?

Because I have a bet on with myself that you will find that there is some EU funding on their accounts; other than that, I am also willing to bet that numerous police forces receive either direct or indirect funding from the EU.

Come in, motorcyclists: your number's up...


Gareth said...

Perhaps this is why the push for organ donation by presumed consent continues with earnest.

No bikers out enjoying themselves = fewer transplants.

Roger Thornhill said...

Do you think it is worth asking ACPO for the information and at the same time mentioning that a refusal will be publicised as evidence of their opacity and suspicious motives. "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear".

However, if ACPO are a public company, then surely their books should be published at Companies House?

John East said...

In today's Telegraph:

"Volvo says it aims to produce the world's first accident-proof car.

"This technology helps us take an important step towards our long-term vision of designing cars that should not crash. Our aim for 2020 is that no one should be killed or injured in a Volvo car," said Thomas Broberg, the company's safety specialist.

The Volvo S60, which will go on the market in 2010, will include automatic braking.

This will see the car stop itself when it believes a collision is imminent with either a car or a pedestrian, even when travelling at low speeds."

Think of the hours of fun gangs of yobs hanging around on street corners will have stepping out in front of these cars, either just to see them perform, or more ominously to mug the driver.

Jay said...

I've often used motorbikes as part of the argument against the smoking ban. The potential reasons for banning it are pretty much the same, it's highly dangerous to the individuals doing it, generally considered a bit 'anti-social' by the general population and has potential dangers for pedestrians and of course 'the kids'. If you can ban smoking then of course you can ban motorbikes. No one I ever said that to believed me of course, but then everyone is sodding blind when it comes to the fact that things you do like can be banned just as easily as things you don't. Twats.

microdave said...

I found this site earlier with lots of information and links about ACPO:

cookie said...

What are the relative risks of motorcycle versus pedal bike 'per million miles' (say)? Is there a case that if one was to be outlawed, then by the same reasoning so should the other?

Ian B said...

I think the argument there is that pedal cyclists are generally killed by motorists, whereas motorcyclists aren't necessarily greenie nutcases.

ukipwebmaster said...

More like Year 0 than Vision 0

Longrider said...

One significant difference between motorcyclists and smokers is that we are organised and perfectly capable of joint action should it prove necessary. We would vigorously fight any such proposal.

Oh, and motorcycling is not highly dangerous - it is potentially dangerous if not done properly. A motorcycle is perfectly safe when ridden appropriately by a competent rider.

That said, all of the other similarities with other bans hold up and that is why I have opposed them all - I could see which way the wind was blowing (me next).

Cookie - I don't recall the exact figures for cyclists now, but a few years back I had to look at the killed and seriously injured figures as part of a risk assessment - motorcycling is roughly ten times more risky than using a car or small van - but you have to bear in mind that the government figures give us an average mileage of around half that of a car, which ain't necessarily so.

James Higham said...

Absolute pr---s. I'm just now about to buy a bike and they want to ban them? They have to find mine to take it away. Road safety - what bollocks.