Road safety – Cecile Petit: I would like to have a constructive dialogue with the representatives of motorcyclists –

Cecile Petit: I would like to have a constructive dialogue with the representatives of motorcyclists

Road safety - Cecile Petit: I would like to have a constructive dialogue with the representatives of motorcyclists -

In an interview with Site, the new interministerial delegate for road safety Cecile Petit specifies how she intends to carry out her new missions, in particular with regard to motorized two-wheelers.

In an interview with Site, the new inter-ministerial delegate for road safety, Cecile Petit (read), specifies how she intends to carry out her new missions, especially with regard to motorized two-wheelers which are part of her "priorities".

Magistrate by training, mother of four children (one of whom rides a scooter) and herself a moped driver "in his youth", Cecile Petit plays the card of openness by wishing"have a constructive dialogue with the representatives of these users (bikers, Editor’s note) to reflect together, with objectivity and serenity, and understand all the reasons for this excess mortality (two-wheelers, Editor’s note) to work on the solutions to be implemented".

A clear desire for "objective and serene" dialogue that should be greeted and followed closely, but useless on the other hand to rely on any adaptation of the highway code to the specificities of driving a two-wheeler: Cecile Petit is not in favor of increasing the maximum authorized speed of motorcycles (as we suspected) or of regulating traffic between queues. As for the non-obtrusive parking on the sidewalks, it is the responsibility of the local police. Interview.

Site: Congratulations on your appointment to this key position in road safety policy! In your opinion, what were the criteria for choosing the Prime Minister and the Minister of Transport to entrust you with these responsibilities? ?

Cecile Petit : My quality of magistrate was able to contribute to it and I worked for a long time for the justice of the minors. Prevention, accountability and, possibly, punishment are the three foundations inherent in the function of judge. These are also the three priority axes of the road safety policy to change the behavior of drivers, involved in more than 90% of fatal accidents. These three concepts will therefore guide me in my new missions which will be part of the continuity of the current policy..

Site: You indicated during your presentation to the press (read) that motorized two-wheelers would be one of your priorities. What are the first steps you plan to take in this regard? In what state of mind do you approach the question of accidentology of two-wheelers? Don’t you think that whatever measures are taken, two-wheelers will be by nature (absence of bodywork) always more exposed than motorists in the event of an impact? ?

Cecile Petit : The safety of motorized two-wheelers is a real concern because this category of user represents more than 23% of road fatalities, while they only represent 1% of traffic. This is why the government has decided to act as a priority vis-à-vis this population during 2007. This excess mortality is first of all linked to the vulnerability of these users (low weight of the vehicle, fragility of protection), but also insufficient consideration of this vulnerability by motorists as well as by motorcyclists themselves. It is also due to inadequate anticipation of the behavior of other drivers by users of motorized two-wheelers. Finally, with regard to motorcyclists, compliance with the rules, in particular the speed limit, is insufficient. This is why, in the first place, I wish to have a constructive dialogue with the representatives of these users to reflect together, with objectivity and serenity, and to understand all the reasons for this excess mortality in order to work on the solutions to be implemented. I will also rely on the work of the two-wheeler commission of the National Road Safety Council (CNSR). Several important decisions have already been taken by the Prime Minister during the Interministerial Road Safety Committee (IRB) of July 6, 2006 to reduce the mortality of motorized two-wheelers:

A compulsory three-hour training is now necessary for holders of the B license for more than two years who wish to drive a light motorcycle. This training obligation concerns people who have obtained or will obtain their driving license as of January 1, 2007.

The switching on of dipped beam headlamps during the day becomes compulsory from March 2007 for all motorized two-wheelers, including mopeds and light motorcycles, making them more visible to all other road users. road and thereby contributing to improving their safety.

In addition, the financing mechanism "One euro per day license" has been extended since September 16, 2006 to applicants for a motorcycle license, and a new thematic module "vulnerable users" is introduced in the theoretical test of the driving license..

Site: If we admit that motorized two-wheelers are more exposed in the event of an impact and therefore have a greater risk of being killed in an accident, don’t you think it would be more advisable to communicate on the number of accidents of two-wheelers (responsible and not responsible) rather than the number of fatalities? We might realize that bikers are not unconscious people, as we sometimes tend to present them, and that they are on the contrary very aware of the risks they run by using a two-wheeler … With this in mind, don’t you think that a modification of the highway code on certain subjects specific to two-wheelers would be justified, in particular in terms of speed limits, traffic between lines or parking? ?

Cecile Petit : Even if it is difficult, from the accident file, to attribute full responsibility for an accident to the user (it is often the result of multiple factors), we have been communicating on this subject for years. Thus, in 2005, 48% of mopeds and 39% of motorcyclists were presumed to be responsible for the accident in which they were involved. That said, it is not our intention to stigmatize this category of road user. There are many safe and rule-abiding motorized two-wheeler riders. However, because of their vulnerability, motorized two-wheelers are the first victims in the event of accidents. This is why they must take greater account of the risks to which they are exposed, by respecting the highway code which is there to protect them and by anticipating the behavior of other users. All studies show that they often overestimate their ability to react in the event of a fortuitous event, which puts them at risk when such an event occurs. For these reasons, it is not possible to make adjustments to the regulations relating to the speed limits that motorized two-wheelers must comply with. Regarding the practice of movement between lines, it is a dangerous practice for users of motorized two-wheelers, because the reduced space between the cars makes drivers of motorized two-wheelers very vulnerable to the slightest deviation from the path. Although a tolerance exists when the lines of cars are stopped or circulated at very low speed, I am against the regulation of this practice because it does not appear to me to be likely to save lives. For the parking of two-wheelers ordered in urban areas, this question falls within the competence of the local police authorities..

Site: What is your experience in the world of two-wheelers? Have you ever ridden a motorbike or scooter, as a driver or passenger? Your entourage ? Your children ?

Cecile Petit : I drove a moped in my youth and one of my daughters rides a scooter. I am therefore aware of the dangers to which a driver of a motorized two-wheeler is exposed, but I also understand the advantages offered by this means of locomotion in a large city like Paris..

Site: What if you had a magic wand ?

Cecile Petit : I would dream of a road where mopeds, scooters, motorcycles and cars circulate in peace and friendship, not to mention pedestrians. An ideal world, what…

Interview by Eric MICHEL

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