AMA, NHTSA Take Part in Global Safety Forum

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Create better motorcycle safety training, teach car drivers to watch for motorcycles, and promote responsible riding — these are among the recommendations embraced by the International Transport Forum of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development at its June 10-11 workshop in Lillehammer, Norway, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

The International Transport Forum, comprising high-level officials in the transportation, logistics and mobility arenas in their countries, held the workshop to focus on motorcycle safety. Around one hundred experts attended, from the United States, Europe and Asia making this event perhaps the largest of its kind. Ed Moreland, AMA VP for government relations; Kirk Willard, president of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation; John Chatterton-Ross, Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme director of European Union public affairs; and Hans Petter Strifeldt, president of the European Federation of Motorcyclists' Associations, were among those representing the interests of riders.

Others taking part from the United States included representatives of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety — a Washington, D.C.-based group of insurance companies that recently suggested banning or capping the speeds of "sport" and "supersport" motorcycles.

Participants voiced numerous recommendations, including: creating a tiered approach to motorcycle safety training that builds on existing standards, focuses on risk awareness and risk avoidance and understands the limits of riders and their motorcycles; a call for the general training of all drivers to watch for motorcycles and to share the road; the creation of better braking systems for motorcycles; formal safety meetings between motorcyclists, government policy makers and other interested parties; the creation of more safety messages directed toward motorcyclists; and the suggestion that the motorcycle industry promote and market responsible motorcycling.

Workshop attendees also encouraged training for road planners, as well as highway and traffic engineers, so that motorcyclists are considered in their designs.

"High-level transportation officials from around the world attended this conference to discuss motorcycling and motorcycle safety, so it was critical that motorcyclists made their voices heard," Moreland said.

"Quite often these types of meetings occur in the vacuum of academia, devoid of the opinions and perspective of the people most impacted by the topics discussed," he said. "This meeting was particularly significant because the real-world perspective of riders was given equal weight and our input was recognized on a global stage."

Papers from the workshop will be available soon on the International Transport Forum Web site.