Ireland says NO to safer barriers

MAG Ireland is disappointed to bring you news that Ireland has voted against a standard which would have meant an end to the use of lethal wire rope safety barriers on Irish roads.

At the CEN (European Committee for Standardisation) meeting in Stockholm on Thursday 16th June 2011, the delegation from the NSAI (National Standards Authority of Ireland) voted against the draft proposal for standard EN1317-8. MAG Ireland will be issuing a full statement on this in due course.

As a founder member of FEMA, The Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations, MAG Ireland would like to draw your attention to the following statement by FEMA in response to this vote.

The original article is on the FEMA web site (click here) and the text reads as follows;

CEN misses historic opportunity to save European motorcyclists’ lives by turning ready-to-be-voted guardrail standard into mere technical paper

On Thursday, June 16, CEN’s technical committee on road equipment (TC226) held its annual meeting in Stockholm. The draft standard for motorcyclists protection systems which was ready for vote, was turned into a mere Technical Specification by the United Kingdom, Germany, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, and Ireland. FEMA expressed great disappointment and thanks those who have worked hard in preparing what could have become a milestone in the history of motorcycle safety.

The Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations (FEMA) is sad to announce that its efforts to get adopted the draft standard for motorcycle-friendly guardrails have not been successful. Despite the commitment of several CEN delegates and technical experts throughout the preparation process, the draft proposal for an EN1317-8 was not put for formal vote. Worse: despite the adopted resolution 319 calling for a European Standard, TC226 committee turned the proposal into a Technical Specification, to the extreme satisfaction of some stakeholders, who feared that such a standard could have completely changed the parameters of the European road restraint system market.

EN1317-8 proposal was based on the Spanish standard, which has proven efficiency records: neither fatal nor seriously injured accidents ever since the installation of approved protective guardrails. Out of the 14 represented Member States, 6 only voted in favour of the proposal: France, Belgium, Norway, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, of course.

FEMA’s General Secretary, Aline Delhaye, who has actively participated in the preparation of the draft since 2008, says: “I can only acknowledge CEN/TC226 decision with great regret. I believe CEN members missed an historical opportunity to make the history of motorcycle safety. What will be done with this Technical Specification is a mystery to me. I have my doubts about the legitimacy of the arguments put forward by those who voted ‘no’ to a European Standard. But there we are.”

Though very disappointed, FEMA members will of course keep on working at improving statistics, supporting research projects improving protection systems and testing requirements, drawing awareness, and calling for the European standard on road restraint systems (EN1317) to take motorcyclists into account by integrating the technical specification as part 8 of EN1317.

Update – 7th July: MAG Ireland has written to the NSAI in relation to the position they took on the vote. It has been widely reported that the draft standard was voted down because some countries felt the standard was not sufficiently developed, and that further research was needed. However, MAG Ireland had been told by the NSAI that they intended to abstain. In the event they voted against the proposal before TC226. Accordingly, MAG Ireland is seeking clarification for the reasons behind this change of position before issuing a statement on the matter in due course.