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MCIA on leisure riding during lockdown: “Let’s stick to the rules’

The MCIA body issues an open letter urging motorcyclists to be responsible during this lockdown period and reserve travel for only essential reasons

The MCIA (Motorcycle Industry Association) has published an open letter urging motorcycle riders to only venture out for essential reasons during this lockdown period in the UK and not be irresponsible with leisure outings.

The UK entered a lockdown period on March 23 – which was extended by three weeks on April 16 - with measures introduced to restrict movement outside the home to only essential journeys, such as food and medical supplies, and one form of exercise a day.

The use of motorcycles (PTWs) has been at the forefront of the lockdown as a means of providing safe, necessary support to the public and key workers to transport themselves and goods.

However, while the MCIA’s open letter reflects the excellent role many are playing at this difficult time, it calls out those who have flouted rules to take a ride purely for leisure, saying it risks creating an incorrect perception of the industry. 

It warns if riders aren’t responsible by risking breakdowns or worse, it could be placed under stricter scrutiny in future.

The full open letter from the MCIA:

Dear Rider,

One of the unexpected consequences of the current situation is that motorcycles and scooters are showing their true worth.

Whether they are delivering essential items like medical supplies, food, things to fend off lock down boredom, or taking care of self-isolation on key workers’ commutes, powered two wheelers shine in a crisis.

Of course, riders know that PTWs don’t need a crisis to shine. Their agility, small footprint and light weight mean they don’t cause congestion, damage roads or consume swathes of valuable space for parking. Their low and zero-emission engines help the environment. They minimise commutes and leave more time for the important things in life.  And they put a smile on your face.

It’s great to see that most riders are complying with the Government’s instructions about essential travel and when riding are doing so responsibly, but unfortunately some are not.

The sun is shining, you’re bored of lockdown, the roads are empty and your ride is itching to go.  It’s very tempting, but before you grab your keys and helmet, consider this:

As riders, we all have a responsibility to motorcycling, if it is to survive without restrictions.  As riders, we are ambassadors for motorcycling and how we ride, what we ride and, at the moment, the fact that we are riding at all, creates a perception about us all.  In the eyes of many, PTWs are noisy, anti-social, dangerous and often ridden irresponsibly.  Is your leisure ride reinforcing that view? 

We know that bikes and scooters are perfect for self-isolation, but what if you have a breakdown or a puncture? You’ll probably need the help of someone to sort the problem.

If you haven’t ridden over the winter, you may be a bit rusty.  It’s easy to get over-confident when the sun is shining and traffic is light, so what happens if you pitch off?  Police, recovery truck, paramedics all involved. 

And you may have noticed that the NHS is a little preoccupied at the moment and could probably do without any self-inflicted cases taking up beds.

For the good of motorcycling and its place in the future transport mix, let’s all stick to the rules on this. They don’t discriminate against riders, most leisure activities are disrupted, so clean your kit, watch MotoGP re-runs and wait until we can all get out on the road again.

Earlier this week the MCIA confirmed to Visordown that it does not consider motorcycling to be a form of exercise during lockdown

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