"Very positive" meeting between NMC and DfT minister

A meeting between NMC members and the DfT minister, Richard Holden MP, has been described as "very positive" by the NMC Executive Director.

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The National Motorcyclists Council has met with the Transport Minister, Richard Holden MP, to discuss motorcycle policy, including training and the licence structure.

In general, the National Motorcyclists Council (NMC) is positive regarding its meeting with Richard Holden MP, and the outcomes of it. 

The NMC concluded, after the meeting, that Mr. Holden is “open to developing better policies for motorcycling as part of the Department for Transport’s approach to overall transport matters and the future of transport,” according to a release from the NMC regarding the meeting.

NMC Executive Director Craig Carey-Clinch said: “This was a very positive ministerial meeting and Mr. Holden was clear about what he does and doesn’t know about motorcycling and was keen to know more. His strong support for motorcycles in bus lanes was very welcome, as was his open mind about many of the issues that the NMC raised. NMC members were able to raise individual issues and received a positive reception to these.”

However, despite the overall positivity surrounding the meeting, the NMC says that, in the meeting, “it was very clear that the long-standing view that motorcycling is a safety problem to be solved and not a transport opportunity to be supported, is still firmly embedded in some parts of the DfT.” This is something which the NMC believes actually creates safety issues, and is therefore a subject on which it seeks to push change.

The NMC was joined in the meeting by senior executives from the British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF), IAM RoadSmart representatives, and members of the Trail Riders Fellowship (TRF).

The BMF raised issues regarding the role of motorcycles in government transport policy, and its relative absence in such policy, as well as the issue of licencing and CBT improvements.

Anna Zee, BMF Political & Technical Services Director, said: “I think this was a good meeting. Mr. Holden was very ready to listen also to admit there were things he didn’t know about. The main points I wanted to make on the BMF’s behalf were on inclusion of motorcycling at all transport policy levels and that motorcycles must be considered when evaluating automated and autonomous driving systems and I think he took those on board as well as the issues raised by other NMC members. 

“The issue of CBT improvements that have been stalled since before the pandemic was raised; we have a small hope that something might actually happen in that quarter.”

Those present from IAM RoadSmart raised safety issues such as the inaccessibility of high-quality motorcycling gear, and suggested that removing VAT from such items would reduce the cost and therefore improve accessibility. Additionally, road conditions and potholes were raised by IAM RoadSmart. 

The TRF raised the issue of riding on unsealed roads, and highlighted the physical and mental health benefits of riding such roads.

The full NMC report from the meeting can be read on the NMC website.

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