Spain requires an airbag for student motorcyclists

by Lorraine Williamson

MADRID – Spain is introducing a new obligation for student motorcyclists in Spain to have an airbag. The requirement for motorcyclists, as a whole, was dropped in June 2021 after many protests from motorcyclists and stakeholders. 

The initiative came from the Spanish Ministry of Transport and the DGT Traffic Service. Consequently, it could have led to an airbag requirement for motorcyclists. However, in June, the Spanish Interior Minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, made it clear that the wearing of airbags for motorcyclists in Spain will not be mandatory for the time being. 

Initially, they wanted to base the new requirement on new accident studies to examine the benefits of airbags in everyday life. A study by DGT shows that their use by motorcyclists can reduce the number of fatal crashes among them by 35%. The use of the airbag reduces chest injuries, which account for 35% of deaths from motorcycle accidents. Until February 23, there were 28 motorcyclists killed on the Spanish roads. 

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Mandatory airbags for student drivers 

A year later, the subject of airbags is picked up again. This time, however, through the Spanish parliament. Here a proposal was submitted by MPs. Contrary to last year’s proposal, it is no longer a question of making them mandatory for all motorcyclists, but of motorcyclists learning to drive. 

The attitude of the Spanish Motorcyclists Federation 

The Spanish Motorcyclists Association (ANM) believes that the use of such restraints could only benefit learning drivers. However, on the condition that the airbag systems must be provided by the motorcycle driving schools. Apprentice drivers must then wear them during their practical lessons and not just during the motorcycle driving test. 

Disadvantaging less wealthy drivers 

The ANM reiterated its rejection of a blanket airbag requirement for motorcyclists, as it would seriously penalise less affluent drivers. Because if you can’t afford the airbag system, you won’t be able to ride a motorcycle in the future. 

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