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Bikers rev up to throttle speed limit

Bikers do not want their machines tampered with

(Keystone)

Switzerland's biggest motorcyclist association has kicked off a campaign to fight plans to limit bike speeds to 80kmh.

Pro Moto has presented the federal authorities with a petition bearing more than 200,000 signatures urging the government to rethink its "Vision Zero" blueprint.

The motorcyclist association said on Tuesday it would challenge a transport ministry proposal to technically prevent motorcycles exceeding 80kmh.

Touring Club Switzerland, the Swiss motoring association, said research showed that such a speed limit would be dangerous on motorways.

Pius Bruelhart, a motorbike enthusiast, claims that motorcycles could become an obstacle to other road users if their speed is cut.

"Vision Zero would slow down bikers on the motorway to the speed of a truck and as trucks often exceed the speed limit by ten per cent it would mean that motorcycles would be slower than trucks," Bruelhart told swissinfo.

Pro Moto slammed the plans as discriminatory against motorcyclists and said it was opposed to another five of the government's 77 proposed transport reforms.

These include raising the age limit to 18 for drivers of motor scooters, tightening drink-drive laws and reducing the speed limit on major roads to 70kmh.

"We are not against a speed limit of 80kmh [on motorways] - this would mean we are against the law," Roland Fuchs of Pro Moto told swissinfo.

"We are opposed to technically reducing a motorbike's speed to 80kmh."

The association added that it was not against measures aimed at reducing the number of road fatalities, which topped 600 in 2001.

Motorcycle industry

Pro Moto also argues that restricting the speed of motorcycles would not only affect Switzerland's 500,000 bikers, but it would also endanger more than 6,000 jobs in the motorcycle industry.

On Saturday, Pro Moto is expecting more than 20,000 motorcyclists to take part in a demonstration against "Vision Zero" in the Swiss capital, Bern.

Responding to the campaign, the transport ministry said proposals were at an early stage, but stressed that bikers were involved in more accidents than other road users.

Stefan Siegrist of the Swiss Council for Accident Prevention thinks that motorcyclists are more likely to speed than car drivers.

"Motorcyclists are speeding more often than car drivers and they exceed the speed limit much more than other road users, so there is certainly a speeding problem," he told swissinfo.

The Swiss Council for Accident Prevention said that motorcyclists were seven times more likely to be involved in an accident than car drivers.

swissinfo with agencies


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