Road safety – Daytime running lights: new bulldozer measure for road safety –

Daytime running lights: new bulldozer measure for road safety

Road safety - Daytime running lights: new bulldozer measure for road safety -

The 5th Interministerial Road Safety Committee, meeting yesterday under the leadership of the Prime Minister, decided to experiment with lighting the lights during the day for all vehicles. At the risk of further melting motorcycles in traffic…

Based on the Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Hungarian, Slovenian, Polish (winter) and most recently Italian (rural) examples, the government decided yesterday to "recommend to all users the use of dipped beam headlights during the day, outside built-up areas, from October 30, 2004". The experiment will continue."until the summer time change on March 27, 2005"and will be subject to"precise assessment"which will allow, depending on the results, to abandon it, to continue it as is or to make it compulsory.

A new "bulldozer" measure perfectly in line with the current race to the bottom policy: people being unable to know for themselves when to turn on their fires, they have to keep them on all the time. "Even on a beautiful sunny day", specifies the Minister of Transport,"because it will allow you not to be surprised by a tunnel". Indeed, it is unstoppable … Luckily, the automatic activation of the horn from the start of the engine and until it is extinguished, to our knowledge, has not yet been retained….

Mandatory for motorcycles for 20 years in order to make them more visible, the lighting of fires generalized to all vehicles obviously risks drowning bikers even more in traffic … This is what the French Motorcyclists Federation fears. angry (FFMC), which just launched "a cry of alarm"extensively reported by the media:"to make this decision is to damage the lives of bikers. There will be more injured and killed. The government will be responsible! The switching on of the motorcycle codes allowed these vehicles to be better identified by other users and thus, to reduce accidents. Generalizing this measure to all vehicles is certainly going to worsen the number of motorcyclists injured because they were not seen", warns the FFMC which is therefore already calling motorists"not to turn on their daytime codes, so as not to endanger the most vulnerable road users".

An argument refuted by the government, for whom "all the work on the subject shows that motorcycles do not need to be recognized but to be seen and to see other vehicles"…

Asked by Moto-Net on the interest of hoping to reduce on the one hand the number of fatalities of motorists while risking to increase the number of bikers on the other, the Minister of Transport ensures that "this has not been the case in countries where this measure exists". On the contrary, since Gilles de Robien explains without batting an eyelid that"this measure also protects bikers because they will see the cars better "… It is indeed well known: most motorcycle accidents are due to the fact that bikers, distracted by their phone, their newspaper and their CD player, sheltered behind their helmets and firmly installed on their two wheels, don’t pay attention to cars if they are not lighted…

In short, the government is "really convinced"the interest of this measure for bikers,"otherwise you can imagine that we would not have proposed it !", further specifies the minister.

All categories of users combined, the possible gain thanks to this measure "can be estimated, according to experts, at a range of 5 to 8% of fatalities and 8 to 10% of injuries", estimates the government. Note, however, that a group of experts composed among others of researchers from INRETS (National Institute for Research on Transport and Safety) stressed last year that"the absence of negative effects on motorcyclists has not been sufficiently demonstrated and the effects of daytime running lights on other users (pedestrians, cyclists or two-wheelers) have not been clearly established". Still according to INRETS,"the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Transport has confirmed that switching on the daytime running lights is an effective road safety measure, even if the absence of adverse effects on other categories of users needs to be confirmed". The Commission therefore recommended to Member States"continue the assessment on four aspects: the magnitude of the reduction in accidents, the effects on vulnerable users, the consequences on the environment and the costs of the various technical solutions".

Regarding the cost, an evaluation carried out internally by a large car manufacturer and which Moto-Net was able to take note of estimates that the overconsumption induced by such a measure would amount to nearly 2%, ie "600 million liters of additional gasoline per year in France". Which represents "annual electricity overconsumption of around 1.6 million MWh"- the equivalent of half a section of an oil-fired power station – and"an additional consumption of 20 liters per year per motorist", without counting an additional release of 4 grams of CO2 per kilometer and per vehicle … No gain to achieve the objectives set by the Kyoto protocol for reducing greenhouse gases, which provides for an average maximum release of 140 grams per kilometer and per vehicle whereas today it is around 200 g !

In addition, concerning the rise of queues (read), the interministerial delegate for road safety Remy Heitz still plans to put in place "from the start of the school year, a working group bringing together representative organizations of motorcyclists and the police, so that a proposal can be made at the next Interministerial Committee, at the end of 2004 or the beginning of 2005".

In the end, considering bikers as a negligible quantity by aiming to reduce the number of car fatalities at the risk of increasing the number of motorcycle fatalities is certainly defended at the statistical level. But then, why not follow the logic to the end and leave them alone once and for all ?


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