MP urges commuters onto motorcycles – as long as they are electric

In a response to a white paper sent to the transport secretary by leading motorcycle groups, the advice is to take up electric bikes

London BMW R1250 RT

PRESSURE is mounting on the UK government to realise and embrace the potential that motorcycles, and scooters have in the modern world.

Indeed, it was just over a week ago that the Government pretty much totally ignored the positive role that the powered two-wheelers can play, in a post-COVID-19 UK and beyond.

The response from the UK’s most important motorcycle groups was fierce, with the BMF, MAG, the VMCC and the TRF joining forces to push the government into noticing the UK’s 1,000,000 strong motorcyclist community.

The paper the jointly sent a white paper to the transport secretary, Grant Schapps, not only outlined the ways the UK government could help motorcyclists, but also the ways in which motorcyclists can help to deliver positive change to the entire country. And it seems like people within the houses of power are starting to take notice.

Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Motorcycling Group (APMG), Chris Law MP, said:

“I very much welcome this initiative and the partnership between the organisations which created it. Motorcycling does have an enormous role to play in any transport policy if we are to see a long-term reduction in congestion and pollution, and the Parliamentary Motorcycle Group has long advocated this. The riders’ code announced last week provides invaluable advice to those using motorcycles during the Covid-19 crisis, and I urge all motorcyclists to take it into account and ride safely during these extraordinary times. As Chair of the APMG, I strongly urge Ministers and the Department for Transport to fully recognise motorcycles as a transport mode.”

In a written response to a Parliamentary Question raised by Christopher Chope MP, Rachel Maclean, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) and MP for Redditch, stated:

“The Department’s guidance issued on 12 May refers to ‘Private cars and other vehicles’ as an alternative to using public transport, and encourages the public to ‘consider all other forms of transport before using public transport’. This would include private vehicles such as motorcycles and mopeds where the journey to be made is appropriate.

“Motorcycles are an important way of getting around, and we are working on a number of projects, including sorting out potholes, which are a problem for people on motorcycles and other two-wheeled vehicles. I encourage people to adopt the electric motorbike.”

While the notion of going electric at this time is something that many riders don’t feel ready to do, due to even the best electric motorcycles lacking range and recharge times compared to comparable petrol powered bikes, it does at least go to show that the pressure asserted on the government is starting to work.

COVID-19 motorcycle guidance

The official guidance from the motorcycle coalition to riders in lockdown is as follows:

  • As lockdown measures are eased, whether you ride for essential reasons or just for recreation, observe social distancing and good hygiene measures at all times to help halt transmission of the virus.
  • Ride alone or with, at most, one other person, other than members of your own household.
  • Stay well away from other people. Take food and drink etc with you.
  • Be COVID-safe at fuel stops.
  • Do not gather in crowds.
  • Know what COVID safety kit you are going to take with you and use it sensibly.
  • Plan your route so you can always return home safely the same day.
  • Know how you are going to deal safely with any emergencies.
  • Do not ride at all if you or members of your household have symptoms and need to self-isolate.
  • Think carefully about the risks if you are over 70 or have a pre-existing condition.
  • Don’t damage the image of motorcycling in the lockdown by riding irresponsibly.
  • Be aware that, at present, the guidelines for leaving the house for other than essential reasons may be different in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.