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London Motorcycle Champion Wanted – Now!

August 26, 2009
Wanted London Motorcycle Champion Please!!

Wanted London Motorcycle Champion Please!!

Maida Vale, London, England – Champion an ardent defender or supporter of a cause, sounds good to me. Just what we want in London, an independent Motorcycle Champion to look after our needs and issues.

Well we have got a sort of London Motorcycle Champion, secreted away in Victoria Street as part of the Transport for London (TfL) London Road Safety Unit (LRSU) is the LRSU Motorcycle Unit. Two men a desk and a £1.75 million budget, as one of them is also the TfL Project Manager for the London Safety Camera Partnership lets make that one and a half men.

I welcome any and all road safety improvements that make life easier and safer for bikers and scooter riders. London’s got a fantastic BikeSafe and ScooterSafe programme, innovative research on motorcycle safety issues. Excellent media interventions on motorcycle and scooter safety etc. Yep the LRSU has certainly pressed all the right buttons on those road safety essentials, Education, Training and Publicity. What’s more with membership of the European Safer Urban Motorcycling project (eSUM) all this stuff is getting an airing in Europe.

Let me put those last two paragraphs into context. The TfL annual budget is £9.3 billion; the budget for London cycling in 2009/10 is £111 million. The £1.75 million in the London Motorcycle Unit kitty has to cover the Transport for London Road Network (TLRN), and provide casualty reduction funding for the 32 London Boroughs under the Local Implementation Plan or LIP process. So from that perspective £1.75 million really isn’t much, is it.

Now the next bit may be seen as a bit harsh particularly on the scarlet pimpernel of the LRSU, its Head, Chris Lines. You see I just have this bad feeling that the LRSU Motorcycle Unit is just a bit of tokenism to keep us quiet.

Why?? Well when this Motorcycle Unit thing kicked off about four years ago TfL hinted that ‘the Unit’ would champion issues like road safety, ok box ticked. Bikes in bus lanes, box ticked for the next 12 months then what, Head of Unit conspicuously absent in mess over Livingston ‘fixing’ the data on the bus lane issue. Parking. Ok it’s down to the Boroughs but where’s the ‘Unit’ intervention in Westminster then. Fighting our corner on the congestion charge, don’t think that charging us has gone away, it’s on the agenda. Promotion of our mode as a sustainable alternative to the car. Box definitely not ticked.

So that’s why I reckon its time that we had a proper London Motorcycle Champion. After all they have Motorcycle Champions in Spain, France and the Netherlands so why not here. Someone, independent from TfL, associated with the London Assemble perhaps to front up our issues on road safety, parking, sustainability etc etc and in general drag the image of our mode into the 21st century.

Yes we need a London biking Champion, an Ambassador, to spread the word and soon!!

© Back Roads Rider 2009

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