Oxfordshire County Council withdraw anti-motorcycle paper

Oxfordshire County Council has withdrawn a statement it published in a paper that claimed motorcyclists were a danger to themselves

OXFORDSHIRE County Council has back down on its claims that motorcyclists are a ‘danger to themselves and the public’ after public pressure from the BMF and the public on social media.

Visordown first ran the story last week and when we shared the post on social media, there was quite a backlash from our readers. It wasn’t just ourselves and our readers though, a British Motorcycle Federation (BMF) member, John Broad, got hold of the paper, forwarding it on to the BMF Chairman Jim Freeman.

The paper was designed to set out the council’s plan for the future of Oxford's transport system, as you can imagine, motorcycles and scooter were well down the pecking order, as were privately owned cars and vans. But instead of looking at motorcycles and scooters as a method of easing congestion, pollution, and parking problems, the council instead took aim at bikers with some extremely biased and factually incorrect statements.

Just two of the anti-motorcycle statements read: “Statistical evidence suggests motorcyclists are a danger to themselves” and “Motorbikes are mostly still using fossil fuels to run, meaning they are environmentally unsound, not sustainable, and contribute to air pollution”.

The document has been both withdrawn and replaced by the Council, and passages like the one quoted above and to which Cllr Broad expressed his objections have been removed. The new briefing document can be found here.  

The BMF contacted the Council and invited them to comment, and we received the following statement from Cllr Constance: “I thank the motorcycle community for raising comments on the Local Transport and Connectivity Plan Motorcycle Topic paper. I am sorry that they feel that it is biased in its outlook as this was not the intention but accept that it was construed this way.”

BMF Chairman, Jim Freeman said: “The BMF is pleased to learn of Oxfordshire County Council’s revised proposals regarding the Local Transport and Connectivity Plan. As Chairman, I’d like to thank Councillor John Broad, one of our members, for alerting us to this situation. We support every effort that he’s making on behalf of ordinary motorcyclists in Oxfordshire. The BMF’s Political and Technical Services Director, Anna Zee, is working on a detailed response to the survey, looking at all aspects that affect riders, to be in place before the consultation period ends. The BMF are happy to work with other groups that represent rider interests and we feel that a united front will serve us all best.”

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