The EU has provisionally agreed that all new cars sold in the UK and Europe from 2022 will be fitted with systems to prevent them from exceeding the speed limit.
The good news for us is that the proposals will not apply to motorcycles.
The system will be called intelligent speed assistance (ISA). It will use GPS data and road sign recognition cameras and sound a warning and automatically slow the car down if it is above the speed limit.
Drivers will be able to override the system by pressing hard on the throttle (expect a healthy aftermarket in devices designed to defeat the limiters!).
Other devices to be made mandatory from 2022 include emergency braking assist, black box data recorders, lane departure warning systems, attention and distraction recognition, and vulnerable-road-user detection.
Although the UK is set to leave the EU, the government has indicated that the regulations will also be introduced here.
The UK’s delegation to the European Parliament said that “black box” data recorders will be used for research, and not to assign blame in crashes. Information they gather will not be given to insurers, the group added.
Surely, it’s only a matter of time before this information is used in prosecutions. I can’t see the authorities ignoring all this potentially incriminating data. The days of enjoying yourself on the road are numbered.
According to Nick Broomhall of the Motorcycle Industry Association, the measures are intended to pave the way for fully autonomous vehicles. “These measures will test the technology with a view to weaning people off cars where they are in control by gradually taking the control away from them. When they are behind the steering wheel it will come to the point where the car is virtually driving itself. These regulations are for proving these systems.”
I don’t know about you guys but I like riding/driving. Being aware of my surroundings and acting and reacting accordingly is part of the pleasure. I don’t want to be just a passenger in my own vehicle.
Broomhall went on to confirm that “as things stand, and despite an oblique reference to L-category vehicles”, there is nothing in the proposals that will affect motorcycles.
“My feeling is that motorcycles are not included because of the technological challenges. You don’t want to be riding along and suddenly have the brakes put on or have your speed restricted on a vehicle which is not inherently stable.”
We can all breathe a sigh of relief. For the moment.