Background

Powered Two Wheelers (PTW) referring to motorcycles and mopeds (up to 50cc) are an increasingly popular mode of transport. In Europe, there are approx. 37 million PTW in circulation and their number is rising. PTW offer an excellent and environmentally friendly alternative for people seeking individual mobility, in particular in congested areas. PTW use has more than doubled over the last two decades.

In spite of the great result achieved in reducing PTW riders fatalities during the past 12 years in Europe (the riders killed per 10,000 PTW registered has more than halved between 2000-2012, passing from 2.68 to 1.32 – source IRTAD), PTW riders still face a higher risk of accidents and fatal or serious injury than car drivers due to the PTW higher vulnerability (e.g. lack of bodywork). Moreover, huge differences between countries in terms of road safety performance exist: bringing  the worst performing countries (above 2 riders killed per 10,000 PTW in circulation – source IRTAD) closer to the best performing ones (below 1 rider killed per 10,000 PTW in circulation –source IRTAD) should be a challenging but feasible objective.

The benefit of this COST Action is to tie together the main scientific fields needed to create a holistic PTW safety concept: Accident research, Biomechanics, Road traffic, Vehicle dynamics, Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), Rider behaviour and perception, Active and passive safety system design and development, Innovative protective gear, and System testing. This COST Action joins experts in all relevant fields related to PTW safety issues in a systematic manner across industry and academia in Europe, for the coordination of research and exchange of ideas, data, researchers and results.

To deliver effective and efficient PTW safety solutions, different steps must be undertaken:

1. Raise riders’ awareness and increase riders’ acceptance of technology (i.e. riding can be fun and safer at the same time). Technology is not the PTW riders’ enemy.
2. PTW, as a single-track vehicle with no integral protective structure, is intrinsically less protective  than a car. Therefore, there are no simple solutions.
3. Only by using several technologies and know-how at the same time, PTW safety can be increased. These technologies have been (partially) developed during the past decades, but: they need reliable accident data to be further developed, reliable biomechanical models to be assessed and they need to be integrated.
4. Produce a clear and comprehensive roadmap able to guide the definition of fundamental standardization and regulatory activities concerning PTW safety.

The holistic approach in the Safe2Wheelers COST Action means to put together: awareness, data and models, different technologies, different know how and backgrounds.

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