ALERT: Join MoBikeFed & the League in asking Congress for self-driving vehicle safety for people who bicycle and walk

Right now, Congress is debating self-driving vehicle legislation that is far too lax on safety and oversight. Safety statistics show that current self-driving cars are 192 times more dangerous for people who walk and bicycle as human drivers are.

Please click here to join MoBikeFed and the League in asking Congress for safety for people who walk and bicycle.

Sunday, an autonomous vehicle hit and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, AZ, as she was walking her bicycle across the street. While the details of the crash are still forthcoming, the League of American Bicyclists is concerned that these vehicles are being deployed without having to first prove their ability to recognize and respond to people biking and walking in our streets. 

This tragedy marks the first time a bicyclist or pedestrian has been killed by an automated vehicle in the United States. However, recent articles in IEEE Spectrum and in Slate magazine report that detecting bicyclists is one most difficult problems Automated Driving Systems (ADS) technology faces, and testing for bicyclists lags behind other ADS technology tests. This tragedy shows that not all manufacturers’ technology is ready to be tested in communities.

When human drivers apply for a driver’s license we have to pass a vision test. The League believes that all automated driving systems should first have to pass a "vision test" as well — requiring a safety performance standard — proving their ability to recognize and respond to people bicycling and walking, before they are on community streets.

Right now the Senate is considering S. 1885: AV START Act to set guidelines for automated vehicle manufacturers to test their vehicles on our streets.

Please click here join the League in asking Senators to require AVs to pass a vision test proving they can see bicyclists and pedestrians.

MoBikeFed's call to action: Robust safety standards required; Driverless vehicles that do not properly and consistently recognize bicyclists and pedestrians should not be allowed to operate on public roadways

Just ten days ago we submitted comments to the US Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Institute asking that safety and access for the hundreds of millions of nonmotorized transportation users in the U.S. be prioritized in forthcoming regulations about the forthcoming roll-out of autonomous driving systems (ADS).

It is very unfortunate, just ten days later, to see how prescient these comments were and how important it is to build these principles into any future ADS vehicles before are allowed on our public roads.

We call for the following changes to our current system for dealing with self-driving vehicle systems:

  • ADS systems that do not properly and consistently recognize bicyclists and pedestrians should not be allowed to operate on public roadways. All liability for injuries, deaths, and property damage under such systems must be the responsibility of the ADS creator or operator.
     
  • ADS implementation must be implemented in a way the improved safety and mobility for all users, including the hundreds of millions of Americans who walk and bicycle on our public roads every day.  We are very concerned that current proposals for improving detection of people who walk and bicycle by ADS vehicles will result in additional restrictions on the mobility of non-motorized users. Autonomous vehicles must be implemented in a way that improves road safety, mobility, and access for all users, including nonmotorized users. Systems that do not meet these requirements should not be allowed on our public streets.
     
  • ADS safety for all users of our transportation system must be a priority now, not simply in some distant possible future. ADS technology has the potential to greatly improve safety in our transportation system as a whole, and for people who walk and bicycle particularly. However, the exact laws, regulations, and manner of rolling out these new rules and regulations will have a decisive impact on whether that potential for improved access and safety for nonmotorized is completely realized or squandered.
  • Testing of ADS system requires robust oversight, transparency, accountability, and real guarantees of safety performance. A hands-off or voluntary approach to safety performance is not acceptable. Scenarios or regulatory regimes where corporations are allowed to keep vehicle safety information and data secret are not acceptable. It is very clear now that the current model for real-life testing of autonomous vehicles does not ensure everyone’s safety. Testing should be performed transparently, coordinated with local transportation officials, and have robust oversight by trusted authorities. Responsible companies should support a safety standard and call for others to meet one as well.

Please click here join the League and MoBikeFed in asking Senators to require AVs to pass a vision test proving they can see bicyclists and pedestrians.

 

Improving safety for all road users is one of the four primary goals of MoBikeFed's Vision for Bicycling and Walking in Missouri. Ensuring that self-driving automobile systems are safe for all road users, including those who walk and bicycle, is one of the ways we work towards that goal.

Your ongoing membership and generous financial support helps turn our Vision into reality!

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