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Fun, Freedom and Please Someone Like Us!!

July 4, 2009
The Way Forward?

The Way Forward?

Lincoln, England – Ahead of the UK National Motorcycle Week, which runs from 12 to18 July with Ride to Work Day on 15 July, the UK Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) has released a YouGov survey aimed at underpinning its assertion that using a motorcycle or scooter is a cost effective way of commuting to work.

I certainly agree with MCIA’s take there’s no doubt about it using a motorcycle or scooter for the daily work run is not only fun but cuts costs, journey times, pollution and congestion. What’s more if you are into black leather, like me, you get to meet some very attractive people and get served first at the supermarket checkout. But with 4 million people holding licences to ride in the UK and only 1.26 million regularly doing so MCIA’s certainly got its work cut out.

Nothing wrong either in calling on transport planners and employers to recognise the benefits of motorcycling and scootering as a cost-effective and practical means of transport, and do more to support bike and scooter commuting as a congestion busting measure alongside other options such as public transport, cycling and car sharing.

But we have been here before, have we not? In fact for the last 20 years the ‘lobby’ has been calling for motorcycles and scooters to be ‘mainstreamed’ as transport modes. We have a National Motorcycle Strategy, we have a National Motorcycle Council we have got ‘tools’ a ‘toolbox’ and a ‘road map’ so by now motorcycle and scooter commuting should really be on the UK’s transport radar. But unfortunately motorcycles and scooters appear to be in a sort of transport ‘Bermuda Triangle’ an area somewhere off the radar where common sense and choice cannot penetrate.

So what’s the problem? That’s easy to answer as lack of real Government support. Cycling has had the best part of a billion pounds from the UK Government in the last 10 years to promote its ‘benefits. Yes we have cash but it’s put into endless road safety campaigns about safe usage, not into promotion of the mode. Why’s that? Well as a very senior UK Department of Transport Civil Servant told me, “no Government, whatever its political views, will promote and support a mode of transport that is perceived as being dangerous and unsafe”.

Bit of work to do there then!!

© Back Roads Rider 2009

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