Motorcycles Banned From Highways in the Future?

A rider who goes by the name "Thorsblood" posted a thought-provoking article on HarleyChatGroup asking the question if motorcycles...

A rider who goes by the name "Thorsblood" posted a thought-provoking article on HarleyChatGroup asking the question if motorcycles will one day be banned from our nation's highways...

At issue is a speech from Mark V. Rosenker, Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, given just a few days ago (Apr 11, 2007). The speech detailed the direction our federal government is moving towards with regards to two new highway safety technologies:
  • Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)

  • Integrated Vehicle-Based Safety Systems (IVBSS)
Both of these technologies involve small electronic sensors and transmitters placed along highways, bridges, and signs, that pick up information from the roadways and transmit them to devices built into cars and trucks. The idea is that this information could be used to provide useful information to drivers and to even take control of their cars to maintain a safe flow of traffic.

What Thorsblood pointed out is that this technology seems to exclude motorcycles, and that this may ultimately cause motorcycles to be banned from using "intelligent highways". That is, Rosenker gave examples of how this technology will help car drivers, but did't include a word about motorcycles.

Thorsblood went on to say that this technology is being deployed in Europe and Australia and in those regions there is already discussion about motorcycles not being included in this new technology, and that motorcycle interest groups need to step up and make their voices heard.

To add my dark-twisted thoughts to this, federal government could very well be interested in gaining more control of people using highways through these technologies, to automate law enforcement tasks, monitor the whereabouts of an individual, and therefore enact legislation to exclude incompatible vehicles from these highways.

Certainly motorcycle manufacturers can equip bikes with these technologies, up to a certain degree. That might prevent a ban of motorcycles from these highways. But it will also result in a change in the way we ride motorcycles. These intelligent control systems may prevent us from riding too fast, too slow, lane splitting, or too close to each other. It could eliminate all advantages of riding a motorcycle.

It's often been said that as gasoline prices go higher, more people will ride scooters and motorcycles, and that this will force government to rethink its transporation strategy. However, if biofuels like ethanol can gain greater usage, it could become cheaper than gasoline, and that could keep people in their cars.

Will ITS and IVBSS take more freedom away from riding motorcycles? Or will it utimately cause motorcycles to be banned from certain highways?


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