A coalition of the UK’s largest biker organisations has submitted a White Paper which calls for the government to recognise the role of motorcycles and scooters during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
The coalition includes the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG), the Vintage Motorcycle Club (VMCC), the Trail Riders Fellowship (TRF) and the British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF) – and together they’ve commissioned a White Paper which was submitted to the Secretary of State, Grant Schapps MP earlier today. It has also been submitted to the three devolved administrations.
The document calls for the government to take the role of motorcycles and scooters into account, as the UK continues to deal with the coronavirus outbreak. More specifically, the White Paper;
– Breaks down how the crisis is affecting motorcycle and scooter riding.
– Considers conditions under which motorcyclists and scooterists can continue to ride safely during the five Alert Level phases.
– Outlines the case for a government-supported code of guidelines for riders to maintain social distancing.
– Establishes the need for reviewing how current restrictions affecting riding can be lifted in future lockdown phases.
– Outlines the case for encouraging the use of motorcycles and scooters – in addition to walking and cycling.
– Opens the discussion on policy which could help to encourage commuters to take up riding motorcycles and scooters – to help them avoid public transport in line with government guidance.
To take a look at the document in full, click HERE.
Despite initially ignoring motorcycles and scooters as alternatives to walking and cycling during the ongoing coronavisus crisis, on May 12, Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps MP said during a debate: “Motorcycles are an enormously important way of getting around— 2.7 billion miles were travelled by motorcycle in 2018, the last year for which we have data. We are working on a number of projects, including sorting out potholes, which are a huge problem for people on motorcycles and other two-wheeled vehicles. I also encourage him—at whatever age—to adopt the electric motorbike.”
His statement came in response to a question asked by Julian Lewis – MP for New Forest East and member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Motorcycling. He said: “As an alternative to using public transport during the crisis, what assessment has my Right Hon. Friend made of the desirability of ageing bikers like me once again using motorcycles for travelling to work, and will he be taking any steps to incentivise motorcycle usage as the lockdown is gradually eased?”
And with Shapps recognising the role of motorcycles and scooters, the coalition of biker groups believe that now is the time to open discussions with the Department for Transport (DfT).
Speaking about the submission of the White Paper, MAG Chair Selina Lavender said: “A new transport normal can only be achieved by consensus of all road user groups. We look forward to consulting with the government to ensure that motorcycles are given their rightful position in that new normal.”
VMCC Chair Bob Clark said: “The VMCC is the UK’s largest motorcycle club, although the average age of our membership is nearly seventy. Our members are thus perhaps more concerned with adherence to the guidelines than may be the case with other segments of the population. However, for us, motorcycling is more than transport, and is often the physical and mental exercise essential for our members’ well-being. The VMCC seeks confirmation that those of our members who are fit and healthy can both remain within the law and enjoy the motorcycling that is their chosen form of exercise.”
TRF Chair Mario Costa-Sa commented: “The TRF Code of Conduct provides a key role in training trail and adventure riders, and compliance with COVID guidance is no exception. Trail Riders want clarity; they look to us as leaders of the largest motorcycle groups to interpret and communicate the Government’s public message.”
BMF Chair Jim Freeman commented: “The time has come for the motorcycle to shine as a serious urban alternative to public transport, cycling and walking. For many, the typical public transport journey is too far to be walked or cycled. The car takes up far too much road and parking space.”
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