It may feel a bit too science-fiction for most, but self-driving cars are already here. And they're here to stay.

Ford, Google, Uber, BMW. Just some of the many companies which have invested in driverless developments. All with big plans to change the industry as it edges its way into an autonomous driving future.

The predictions for when are a bit foggy. Some claim that by 2020, there'll be 10 million of them on the road. Others say that by 2025, there'll be 250,000, and by 2035, 54 million. By 2040, they could make for up to 75% of cars on the road, and by 2050, nearly 100%.

So what could it mean for bikers?


Safety First

With all their safety devices, it's likely self-driving cars will reduce accident figures. And less human error and inattention should reduce it further.

At the point when they become affordable to most, the only human drivers left will be the ones who choose to drive. Those passionate about driving and thus more attentive. Reducing the likeliness of SMIDSY, making it safer for motorcyclists.


Lane Splitting

Lane splitting could be easier, too. With self-driving cars sensing what's around them with an efficiency most human drivers lack. Imagine cars could communicate with each other. They'd be able to send a message to the car in front, which would send a message to the car in front of that. 'A motorcycle is coming past', it would signal. The cars would move over to allow room as you pass by with a feeling of self-importance. Superb!

No worries about the cars freezing in their tracks when a bike comes past. They're already programmed to handle such situations. But would we even need to filter anymore? A future with self-driving cars promises one with smoother traffic flow. Roads where all the cars work in unison. A synchronised harmony. And a safe and beautiful environment for bikers.


The End for motorcycles?

Look further ahead, though, and things are almost certain to change. Give it 30, 40, or even 50 years, and motorcycling might be looking a bit bleak.

Why? Imagine this: Roads become more and more dominated by self-driving cars. The decrease in road accidents due to less human error is now most evident. What does the government do when almost all the cars on the road are self-driving? Will they ban non-self-driving cars on public roads? How long will it be before motorcycles follow suit?

Riders already get a pretty bad rep and some might say unequal treatment to drivers. It's unlikely the government will have a keen interest in saving the motorcycling industry.


So where does that leave motorcyclists?

Banned from public roads, riders might take to the tracks. Much the same as how horseriding is now a hobbyist activity instead of the method of transport it used to be. More tracks would appear to accommodate for this increasingly popular recreation. Maybe there would be fewer bikes manufactured. Maybe prices would go up...

Nobody actually knows. But hopefully motorcycling will live on for a long time yet.

What are your thoughts about the future of motorcycling in a somewhat and or fully autonomous car environment? Share them with us at


26/09/16 - I'd expect a driverless car to be more predictable and aware than the texting, phoning, munching, drinking, makeupping, jabbering human drivers as the computer will be focussing totally on the task in hand, driving!

          28/09/16 - well said and true

26/09/16 - even if they build these, you do not have to buy one

26/09/16 - This is one driver that won't be using one.

26/09/16 - I've read your article with interest. I've considered the future for motorcycling in amongst the probably automated future and it looks bleak. What I have considered though is the possibility and implications of the self riding motorcycle! Here's my article on my blog...

26/09/16 - Hate to say it but I reckon in a hundred years there won't be any powered two wheelers except in museums and maybe racing. . ..wearing Michelin suits..

26/09/16 - NO pretty much the same was said about the infernal engine invention but we still have push bikes and horses being used as transport will be very amusing?? when the nav systems are hacked on this daft idea and they act like cheese skittles with terrified occupants inside looking horrified and screaming like it's a Blackpool big dipper ride!

26/09/16 - It would be many years before driven cars are off the road completely and even then, there will still be classic cars having to be driven. So maybe 75+ years from now before the roads are totally driver free. There will still be pedestrians. So I don't see how it will affect motorcycling. Could even have the result of increasing motorcycle use, as drivers want the pleasure of driving, rather than being driven.

26/09/16 - Shouldn't that have a 'Fisher Price' logo on it..???

26/09/16 - The way things are going the younger generation cannot afford the price of a full power motorcycle license, I've been in the motorcycle trade since 1971 and there is a sharp decline in young motorcyclists. You only have to visit a bike rally to see that most folks are in their later years of biking. It won't be self-drive cars that cause the downfall of motorcycles but time for the bikers around now to fall off the perch and governments with their anti-motorcycle attitudes discouraging youngsters with multiple tests and training at sky high prices.

          27/09/16 - Same in Ireland, it's crazy. I've got a few young friends that wanted bikes but are going for cars because they are so much cheaper to get on the road. And nobody wants to be dangerously overtaken continuously because they're on a little 125. Mostly it's the money though, they've just been priced out as a valid option for most people.

          27/09/16 - To be honest I think the government should treat new car drivers in the same way in having a power limit. With a bike 9 times out of 10 it's your own neck on the line, but with a car you could do god knows how much damage and kill a lot more people. I've never owned a car, I'm 61 now and been riding since 1971, one other sad thing I've noticed over the years is the total lack of respect for bikers by some car drivers to the point of being dangerous, but with a lack of police traffic patrols bad driving goes unoticed, what's that, they now use cameras, it was pointing the other way mate.

26/09/16 - Plenty of kids up my local park on motorbikes and scooters - and some have passed their tests and bought big bikes. Why won't self-driving tech be adapted to bikes anyway - I can ride mine with hands off the bars!

26/09/16 - Can't see racing one of these round Brands οΏΌπŸ˜‚ Guess that's a big fat NO from me

26/09/16 - Not a chance, they will be easier to over take, n less chance of being taken out by one

26/09/16 - something for the scrotes to chuck rocks and beer bottles at instead of trains

26/09/16 - There will always be bikes, Victory Motorcycles.

26/09/16 - Like any other advances drivers will be motivated to switch by a raft of incentives (such as road tax incentives for low emissions) including lower insurance, priority lanes, access to restricted zones and even higher speed limits due to increased safety. Imagine lane 3 of motorways being restricted to autonomous vehicles which were permitted to travel at 130mph! They haven't banned bicycles in a world dominated by powered vehicles so hopefully the motorcycle will survive...but they may be electric...

          28/09/16 - An electric motorcycle would be better than no motorcycle.

26/09/16 - What a stupid question!

26/09/16 - Google b*****ks,haven't they seen the P100d?

26/09/16 - Who do you sue if a self drive car kills your daughter ?

26/09/16 - Looks like an Isetta bubble car.

26/09/16 - I'm not driving 🚘 that pisspot

26/09/16 - Neva

26/09/16 - No

26/09/16 - I can't see that getting my adrenaline going.

          26/09/16 - don't be daft,, governments don't want us to have fun, we all have to be boring slaves for the system

26/09/16 - If its driverless ..why have wing mirrors ?

27/09/16 - There's already been a fatality involving one of these in America!! Let a few more occur and that will be the end of them for a long time.

27/09/16 - Will self driving cars, and other forms of AI, lead to a lack of humans to ride motorcycles? I think that is the more pressing issue.

27/09/16 - If you don't have to drive them, can you take 1 of the to the pub ? lol

27/09/16 - No chance

27/09/16 - Reminds me of the Scinclair C5 a solution to a problem no one has. If you don't want to drive get a bus it's way cheaper than some poxy Windows Based donkey motor

27/09/16 - how long will you be stuck in it while it tries to find a parking spot

27/09/16 - Is it april fool's day?!

27/09/16 - An irresponsible person might suggest placing obstacles in front and behind driverless vehicles, so they can't move

27/09/16 - More like there'll be less motorcycles getting run over by car drivers on mobile phones , these driverless cars will go well until it short circuits and decides to go across a field some where lol !

          27/09/16 - Or, as has happened already doesn't 'see' something that is there and crashes into it.

27/09/16 - Self driving police cars may be fun .

27/09/16 - Not a chance, if you think about it then bicycles would be banned too, But hey us bikers have always been rebels

27/09/16 - Do they just go holidaying etc, on their own if so will it be to the same place. like" Disney self drive land", just saying.

27/09/16 - Never ever what a stupid Question

27/09/16 - Well it is a proven fact that bilers make better drivers. So put all non bike riding car drivers in these types of cars. Then let all bikers use normal cars

27/09/16 - I would rather boil my fetid b**lend in used engine oil than ride in one of those abortions.

27/09/16 - No no no no no no no

27/09/16 - Motorcycling survived the advent of the Mini in 1959. 'Nuff said.

27/09/16 - As long as there's a bone in my body I'll be seeking out ways to F--- up driverless cars..

28/09/16 - No thanks

28/09/16 - Unlikely motorcycles will be banned, I don't believe the UK has ever banned a vehicle once it's been allowed on the road.
Horses still have right of way, almost nobody argues that seat beats aren't safe, but cars manufactured pre seat belts aren't banned and don't even have a requirement to be retro fitted with them.

28/09/16 - self drive....and ride your bike...not gonna happen....

28/09/16 - NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

28/09/16 - The DVSA have been seeking opinions recently, so it'll be interesting to see what the results of their consultation will be.

28/09/16 - Never happen... never

28/09/16 - Knackers to em

29/09/16 - No chance

29/09/16 - The people who posed this question quite obviously do not ride motorcycles!

29/09/16 - Not a chance, in answer to the question. Motorcycling is about being in control, and exhilaration. That couldn't be further from motorcycling than flying off to the moon.

29/09/16 - I don't get self driving cars ! The whole idea for most people is to enjoy the experience of actually driving the thing. No one follows the speed limits all the time I don't care what people say , can you imagine getting into a vehicle without a steering wheel or pedals and the drudge of following a conveyor belt of autonomous boxes , also will this mean you don't need a driving licence as actually you won't be doing anything in the box you are sat in . Can you just send the kids of to school in it ? I know ford were very smug about having developed a car without said steering wheel and pedals would you in all honesty put your life in the hands of a computer as it steers you into danger and you have no control as you sail of the end of a cliff ,What about all the classic car owners ? mainly very monied , are they going to be banned of the roads as well as motorbikes , this all smacks of manufacturers and government forcing something on people that they actually don't want , why would anyone want to purchase a car in the this dystopian future it would be better to invest in CHEAP AFFORDABLE public transport , I for one will never be buying one of these dodgems there is actually no point in owning one.

Posted by Daisy Cordell
for Wemoto News on 26 September 2016 in Technology



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