An important agreement has been reached in Brussels by the EU Transport Ministers, based on a proposal drawn up by the European Commission
The Council of the European Union has reached an agreement on the proposal to reform and tighten up road infrastructure management rules, contained in the European Commission’s Third Mobility Package. The objective is to reduce road deaths and serious injuries.
The reform of the Directive on the Safety Management of Road Infrastructures will extend the scope of application also to expressways and other major roads that are part of the Trans European Transport Network (TEN-T). Among other things, the directive will also cover roads outside urban areas built with European funds.
What is interesting about the agreement reached at the meeting on 27 November, is that it will become mandatory to take into account weak users in road safety management procedures, including motorcyclists.
The proposal now introduces an overall assessment of road network safety, a kind of snapshot of the quality in terms of road safety covered by the Directive, which may be useful for assessing the risk of accidents.
The authorities will use this data to develop more targeted road safety checks or specific measures.
It should be borne in mind that the weaker users, i.e. pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, unfortunately, account for almost half of the road deaths in 2017.
Dolf Willigers, Secretary General of FEMA (European Federation of Motorcycle Associations) was particularly satisfied with this turning point of the European Council and described it as a pleasant surprise. “The Council decision is exactly what we were asking for, he said. This is great news for motorcyclists. From now on, road administrations will have to take into account weak users, including motorcyclists, across the whole network of major European roads. This will lead to greater security for us. It is now up to the European Parliament to follow this good example.
We must wait for the necessary technical time for Parliament to allow the new rule to enter into force or to amend it. But the words of the FEMA secretary, who usually works in contact with the community political world, betray optimism in this regard.
For this to be translated into positive results, however, individual member states will also have to play their part.
Of course, deviating from Community rules and procedures will become more difficult in cases of new road construction or major renovation work, perhaps financed by European projects. As usual, however, it will take our commitment as citizens to push in that direction