Spanish riders were recently questioned on the subject
Could air-bags become mandatory for motorcyclists? We have seen neon vests been made mandatory for new riders in some states so perhaps the idea is not quite as far fetched as it might first seem, particularly considering the Australian publics penchant to go full nanny state these days at the drop of a hat.
Spanish riders were recently quizzed on the subject by The Asociación Mutua Motera (Spanish Motorcyclists’ organisation) and received damning feedback regarding rider support for the concept of mandatory airbag vests or jackets, despite support for the riding gear in general.
The opinion pole received 2,547 responses on the question of airbag vests or jackets becoming mandatory in Spain – not immediately but as a likely requirement for intercity riding. The policy would seem to be aimed at riders traveling at higher speeds, for longer distances and on roads outside of cities.
The results found found that almost two-thirds of riders (65.49 per cent) were completely against mandatory airbag vests or jackets under any circumstances. 29.05 per cent said yes, with 5.46 per cent offering no opinion either way. Of those who did say yes, that included 21.08 per cent (of total respondents) who supported compulsory use at all times, not just on intercity roads or trips.
The remaining respondents for mandatory airbags was split into 7.66 per cent for their mandatory use only on intercity roads, and a much smaller 0.31 per cent saying they should be mandatory only in cities.
Feedback from respondents on associated social media channels suggested that while many riders see the value in the additional safety and protection an airbag vest or jacket could provide, support for their use to be mandatory was low. Concerns included the price of these products, or affordability, that safety garments receive no special tax exemptions, alongside their government’s failure to invest in suitable infrastructure or meet promises like legalising intercoms for motorcyclists.
It’s likely to be a similar story in Australia, with airbag vests or jackets still a significant investment for most riders, with the level of gear used also varying greatly.
Another policy change facing Spanish motorcycle riders, is France making glove use on a motorcycle mandatory, with adoption across EU nations frequent when a single nation introduces a new law or requirement. As a result the Spanish government is exploring this option, with a concern being the lack of certification for gloves.
The trend is a common one, with legislation often placing the responsibility back on riders to manage their own safety at their own expense, with FEMA recently criticising Europe’s road safety plan for failing to take into account motorcyclists and their unique needs.
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