The Road to Zero Initiative Advances In the U.S. Motorcyclists Play an Important Role.

In October, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) unveiled a new initiative dedicated to eliminating all traffic-related deaths in thirty years. “Road to Zero” is the concept that achieving zero traffic-related deaths is achievable through new policies and solutions. First initiated in Sweden in 1997 as “Vision Zero” the program has been adopted by many European. The U.S. version made progress last week with the holding of a symposium and invited speakers to discuss the challenges and choices with the concept. The event also offered participants the opportunity to partake in “breakout sessions” to discuss proposed actions on how to achieve the lofty goal.

The only entity representing the motorcycle community present at the symposium was the Motorcycle Riders Foundation’s Vice-President of Government Affairs, Megan Ekstrom. Ekstrom was invited to participate in one of the breakout sessions focused on how to create a safer environment for other roadway users with modes of transportation outside of traditional automobiles. Working directly with DoT officials, Ekstrom emphasized the need to prevent crashes rather than concepts focused on how to have “safer” crashes.

Specifically, she addressed the need for additional training and awareness programs for other drivers teaching them strategies on how to be alert, identify, react and interact with motorcyclists on the road. She suggested that this could be achieved by targeting education towards new drivers on the road and even encompassed in driver education programs as well as included as part of the testing for drivers’ licensing requirements. These sorts of activities and strategies could help to make motorcyclists safer on the nation’s roadways and help contribute to achieving Road to Zero’s goals.

Other participants in the coalition emphasized alternative approaches; most centered around how to crash ‘safer’ rather than to avoid crashing. Dr. Grant Baldwin, Director of the Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spoke to participants touting the requirement of universal helmet laws as one of the Agency’s key recommendations in achieving zero traffic deaths.

As the Road to Zero initiative moves forward over the next few months, there will undoubtedly be opportunities to shape the program in different ways. For the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, their emphasis will be focused on how to prevent crashes between motorcycles and automobiles and measures that can be taken suggesting that education and awareness to prevent crashes is the preferred strategy for the motorcycle community.

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6 Responses to “The Road to Zero Initiative Advances In the U.S. Motorcyclists Play an Important Role.”


  1. 1 Chris Jan 3rd, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    I can think of a bunch of draconian measures that will reduce deaths while simultaneously making motorcycle riding about as much fun as a day trip to the shopping mall while carrying a slot machine.

    Looking for ways to reduce highway fatalities is a positive thing, but setting a goal of zero deaths is fantasy and, regardless of what measure is used, the program will be a failure by that measure. How about starting with 50% fewer deaths and see where that goes?

    Since I don’t like to complain without offering some sort of solution, let me give it a try. After making helmets mandatory, let’s slaughter, wipe out, drive to extinction, all species of animals that may run into the roadway and cause an accident. If zero is the goal, this seems reasonable enough.

  2. 2 Willyd Jan 3rd, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    Hopefully some, if not all, dot officials will take Meagan and her proposals seriously. I can’t believe there are not more comments out there Motorcycle Brothers and Sisters. If you haven’t already joined a motorcycle advocacy group such as the AMA or others please do. This is serious stuff!!!

  3. 3 John Apparition Jan 4th, 2017 at 8:26 am

    A tip taken from the road game “Punch Buggy”
    Teach children to see Motorcycles instead of Volkswagens they will develop an awareness.

  4. 4 bigalyts Jan 4th, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    I have been riding for many years and the biggest Danger i see in the Roads and Highways is what I don’t see until its to late and that us Debris. Good old fashioned crap on the Roads and Highways! Now the key is OPEN BEDS ON PICK UP TRUCKS!. ALL PICK UPS SHOULD HAVE A DEVICE, STRAPS CARGO NET ON EVERY SINGLE OPEN BED TRUCK…….PERIOD

  5. 5 CWGLIDE Jan 4th, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    A goal of ZERO related deaths, really??? In 2010, the latest year for which there are national statistics, 403 people were killed in motorcycle accidents involving deer, one of the lowest totals in three decades. This is only deer related deaths according to Insurance Information Institute. The deer population is exploding in part due to lack of predators. In 1930 the US white-tailed deer population was down to about 300,000. Today, estimates of how many there are range as high as about 30 million. That’s a 1,000-fold increase in less than 100 years. DOT needs to target a realistic goal an addressing types of motorcycle related deaths. That would be more realistic in dropping the amount of related deaths. To say ZERO is not realistic.

  6. 6 nicker Jan 7th, 2017 at 12:01 am

    Reduce the number of drivers on the road by giving every other human a frontal lobotomy at birth, making them incapable of oprtting anything more complicated than a cup & spoon.

    Alternatively outlaw automatic transmissions, making driving increasingly too complicated a task for today’s average moron to even contemplate….

    Clearly engineering every task to pander to the lowest common intellectual denominator isn’t working…. 🙁

    -nicker-

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