Motorcycling Takes Its Case To UK Parliament

2012 Motorcycle Lobby Day

The UK’s main motorcycle organizations have declared Motorcycle Lobby Day a great success. The Rider are Voters (RAV) badged event on March 7 brought together the key motorcycle organizations in a day of activities aimed at MPs (members of parliament) and Ministers and was organized to highlight key issues where the motorcycle world is calling for direct and positive action by the Government.

Nearly 50 riders and businesses attended a lobby meeting in one of Parliament’s committee rooms. Attendees also held individual meetings with their MPs.

The meeting, which was hosted by Steve Baker MP, was followed by an Associate Parliamentary Motorcycle Group reception which was attended by over 20 MPs and addressed by DfT Minister Mike Penning MP. Mr Penning spoke about the importance of motorcycling and pledged to bring the motorcycle test review to a positive conclusion.

Organised by RAV partners, the Auto Cycle Union (ACU), British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF), the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) and the Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCI), Lobby Day promoted several key messages. These combined the importance of keeping awareness of the rider licensing review and the type approval campaign high among MPs. Other key policies which emphasised the social and economic importance of motorcycling and the industry were also highlighted.

The Government has been conducting a review of the motorcycle test and there is an expectation that a properly revised, fully on road test will start to be available from 2013. It is important that the Government fulfils this commitment and Ministers have expressed their determination to do so.

The Third European Driving Licence Directive will also be implemented in 2013. This will bring further pressure on motorcycling, business and jobs unless implementation is conducted properly. There are also concerns about a DSA proposal for a register of motorcycle trainers.

Riders and industry are concerned about European proposals for a new ‘Type Approval’ framework which covers the design and construction of motorcycles. The proposals are complex and could result in significant costs and bureaucracy to business and riders. This could threaten jobs and economic development, particularly in the area of so-called ‘anti tampering’ proposals.

Unclear timetables, a lack of clarity for technical requirements and the undemocratic aspects of so called ‘Delegated Acts’ (where officials can make regulations without proper scrutiny) are also causing concern. The Government’s close attention to the proposals has been welcomed, but as the issue progresses through the European system, it is vital that the Government maintains a strong line during ongoing European negotiations.

Government also needs to do more to maximise the opportunities that motorcycling can bring to transport policy, environmental policy, the economy and business. In particular:

  • The motorcycle industry’s economic contribution – over £7billion per annum, according to an MCI 2010 survey. Government should include the industry in business policy development and support the motorcycle, components and accessory manufacturing base and supporting industry sectors as part of the Prime Minister’s policy to ‘rebalance’ the economy. Triumph Motorcycles in particular is the UK’s largest solely British owned volume automotive manufacturer and, along with other British manufacturers, deserves wider recognition.
  • Motorcycle sport is worth over half a billion pounds per annum to the UK economy (MCI/ACU/AMCA survey). Government needs to take action to support efforts to safeguard the sport, particularly efforts by the sport governing bodies to bring better standards to off road motorcycle sport.
  • With motorcycles still emitting on average significantly less Co2 than the car average, Government is called upon to embrace the ‘PTW option’ in transport policy and including motorcycling in strategies to reduce transport Co2 and also to support the emerging alternative powered motorcycle sector.