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Brexit and vehicle safety features: transport organisations issue a plea

What safety technologies will be lost to the UK when we go it alone?

A wide ranging collection of transport organisations have jointly called on the government to improve new vehicle safety standards in spite of Brexit.

There are European Commission plans to enhance mandatory safety technologies - but their future is uncertain following Brexit.

In a joint letter and briefing to Roads Minister Jesse Norman MP, Brake, the Association of Car Fleet Operators, Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation, European Transport Safety Council, Living Streets, the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety and RoadPeace say improved minimum vehicle safety standards are needed to reduce deaths and serious injuries on UK roads.

Last year the European Commission published a list of 19 safety technologies which it is considering to make mandatory. In its letter, the group urges the Minister to support these measures and champion continued improvements under UK legislation following Brexit.

The technologies under consideration for new cars include Automated Emergency Braking, Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA), an overridable system for helping drivers stick to speed limits, as well as updates to crash testing requirements to protect occupants and people outside vehicles. The EC is also considering measures specifically for lorries, to protect people and foot and bicycles, including improvements to lorry drivers’ direct vision (what they can see out their windows).

Vehicle standards were last updated in 2009 and significant advances in vehicle technology, which have taken place since then, "make it prudent to raise the bar and implement further cost effective life-saving safety measures as standard," the group says.

The coalition concludes that improved vehicle safety standards are "crucial to ensure the effective delivery of the 'safe system' approach adopted by Britain, driving towards the ultimate target of zero road deaths and serious injuries.”

Last year we reported how uncertain times are ahead for the cycling trade, and its customers, following Brexit, according to industry experts.

From changes to the cost of exchanging products and services, which could be passed on to customers, to the effect of Brexit on safety regulations and workers’ rights, and even infrastructure, it’s impossible to predict exactly what will happen, but some informed guesses can be made.

Following last June’s Brexit vote Halfords, which possesses an estimated 20-25% of the UK cycling market, lost almost a quarter of its share price in a few days.

According to the industry news site, brands who were previously considering investing in the UK seem to be getting cold feet, saying they’d be looking into costs and shipping before making a decision. It says suppliers are estimating a 10 to 15 per cent rise in goods prices, thanks to exchange rate changes. This could well be passed on to the consumer, as well as necessitating efficiencies within the bike industry.

Meanwhile, the UK won't be at the negotiating table when changes to regulations and standards are discussed. One example of where this could be problematic is if, say, the UK wanted higher speed limits on e-bikes, and the EU didn't.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on

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