Traffic legislation and safety in Europe concerning the moped and the A1 category (125 cc) motorcycle

A literature and questionnaire study commissioned by the Swedish National Road Administration
Schoon, Chris
A study, commissioned by the Swedish National Road Administration, of the safety aspects of mopeds and the light motorcycle A1 category (max. 125 cc) has been carried out. The study consists of a comparison of European countries. An important part of the information was gathered using questionnaires that were filled in and returned by all EU countries except Greece and Ireland, and two non EU countries, Norway and Switzerland. In addition, several European databases were used, among which CARE. A literature study of crash analyses was also carried out. Using questionnaires, information about national moped regulations was obtained, such as: minimum ages for riding a moped, theoretical test, practical tests, speed limits for urban and rural roads, compulsory helmet use and the existence of registration plates and documents. Concerning the A1-category, information was gathered about the minimum age for riding, a necessary practical test for transforming from an A1 (light motorcycles, < 125 cc; < 11 kW) to an A-normal licence and the possibility of driving a 125 cc motorcycle with a car driving licence. European databases (U.N. Statistics, ECMT, and CARE) were used to determine the relative moped safety for the European countries. This is expressed in the crash rate (the number of killed mopedists as a percentage of the total number of killed road users) and the vehicle rate (the number of killed mopedists per 100,000 mopeds). CARE was also used to determine the share of 14-15 year old deaths among the 14-18 year olds for those countries where the minimum age for riding a moped is 14 years. The Dutch data was used to obtain insight in the mopedist and motorcyclist rates per age group; these were expressed in casualties per million kilometres travelled. To determine the numbers of crashes for the A1 category, a German study appeared to be very useful, especially concerning the 16-17 year olds. Various European countries encountered the same problems concerning the following subjects: tuned-up mopeds, separation of mopeds from other traffic, and the minimum age. These problems are discussed, and where there are relevant measures, these are mentioned. For the Netherlands it was calculated how many casualties could be saved by the implementation of such measures. The measure that 'saved' the most is raising the minimum age from 16 to 17 years, or from 16 to 18 years. Because this measure faces considerable opposition, a Dutch study of the public support for this measure is examined extensively. International data shows that the crash rates for mopedists and motorcyclists are high in comparison with, for example, motorists and cyclists. It seems that the anti-tampering measure that was introduced for mopeds a few years ago, can be sidestepped. Also, the new EU regulation that promotes the use of the 125 cc motorcycle by setting the low minimum age of 16 years and permitting motorists who have had their driving licence for a few years to drive a 125 cc motorcycle without having to pass an exam, seems to be bad for road safety. Regarding this, we recommend sharpening the EU anti-tampering of mopeds and light-mopeds regulation, as well as the European Commission proposal of October 2003 to harmonize the driving licence regulations.
Report number
58 + 3
SWOV, Leidschendam

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