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What Motorcyclists Really Want??

May 14, 2010


What motorcyclists really want? A dry road, a sunny day.

Holmfirth, England – Is it a load of old tat, sorry returns and seconds clothing wise, flogged off ‘cheap’ at bike shows or…..

A thought through transport policy that includes recognition of the part that motorcycles and scooters can play in an early 21st century transport system. I’ll go for that. But it’s not up to me to tell you what you want it’s for you to decide that.

This leads to an interesting point. Only 9% of UK motorcyclists are members of the ‘representative’ groups which means that 91% of us are having our agenda decided by people with whom we may not agree or wish to be associated with.

Of course the ‘representative’ groups would argue that governments got to talk to someone and that they take views of non-member bikers into account. However consider the fact that only about 500 people attend the ‘representative’ groups Annual General Meetings, where policies are invariable decided, and you could take away the thought that 500 people are setting the biking agenda for the UK’s 1.2 million riders.

Perhaps its time for something new. After all we have PM Dave Cameron and Deputy PM Nick Clegg, the Ant and Dec of UK politics, telling us that we have a new dawn in British affairs of state the one where politicians actually take notice of the electorate. So how about some form of web-based, bit of the good ole Web 2.0, referenda system to decide what the UK bikes would like from government. Mind you we wouldn’t need the ‘representative’ groups would we, but then 91% of bikers don’t need them now!

Chatter on the ‘social networking’ websites about what deal motorcyclists will get from the new government. With VAT likely to increase it would appear that running costs will increase too. Still that may well have the effect of getting more people onto two wheels as the cost of car ownership rockets.

Cuts in vehicle excise duty (VED). Possibly on the cards if the Lib Dems stick to their green policies of encouraging a switch to low emission vehicles. A zero VED rate for low powered motorcycles and scooters would certainly attract new users and increase sales. As for road pricing? The Conservatives kicked that into touch, except for new build toll roads, where as the Lib Dems consider it essential for all vehicles. Rumours currently circulating that the motorway and trunk roads network may be formed into a corporate entity, sold off and maintained by a private finance initiative. Watch this space!

Philip Hammond MP is the new Secretary of State for Transport. He is faced with cutting over £100million from the Department of Transports (DfT) own budget and dealing with a 25% cut in the £2.1bn local transport budget, paid to local authorities by central government.

One victim of the cash cuts is likely to be road safety. Depending on your perspective that could be either a good or bad thing for biking. As the DfT is focused on evidence based policy, with economics and other analysis playing a pivotal role in decision-making, someone better get down there with a well researched fact based proposal, a road map, for the next five years of biking other wise it’s another miss out.

As an aside. BRR has it on good authority that within fifteen minutes of Hammond’s appointment a courier turned up at the DfT in London’s Marsham Street carrying a letter for him. It was from a roads campaign group asking for a meeting and outlining possible policy initiatives. Bet the biking representative groups didn’t do that.

First come, first served!

© Back Roads Rider 2010

5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 14, 2010 8:45 am

    500 attending the AGMs you say? Try 50! (that’s 50 each, of course).

    Cuts in road safety budgets can only be an improvement – no more “experts” telling riders what’s good for them!

  2. Honda90 permalink
    May 14, 2010 9:46 am

    Is that 91% who just can’t be bothered to contribute/join/get involved? Or 91% that want something different from what the ‘representative groups’ are asking for? MCN would have you believe that those 91% are mostly knee down road warriors who want to go Rossi speeds everywhere before supping a few pints and listening to a heavy rock band. Actually, I reckon around half are just commuters that don’t see themselves as ‘motorcyclists’ any more than most people see themselves as ‘motorist’ or ‘cyclist’ and don’t give a hoot as long as something doesn’t affect them personally.

    So, would Web 2.0 style interaction be any better? I haven’t got my hopes up. I’d rather more people chipped in a small amount to pay informed lobbyists to fight for our interests, under any umbrella you come up with. Yes, we could all turn up for the demos, but most people haven’t got a thought through policy on motorcycles that they can argue through with their local MP, never mind the Ministry of Transport or whatever it’s called this week.

    • May 16, 2010 8:49 am

      Maybe it’s the 91% that have a life – although perhaps it really is 99%.

      Representation of the silent unwashed – but that’s where the problem lies, the so called “informed lobbyists” wouldn’t know their conceptional arses from their elbows.

      What example can we give to demonstrate how the “informed lobbyists” have worked on behalf of all motorcyclists? Let’s see, the Select Committee on the 2DLD? Maybe somebody should read the fine print – that bit that says, well folks you screwed up, but your heart’s in the right place.

      Does Web 2.0 make a difference? well the No to the Bike Parking tax seems to suggest that it can and does –

      it depends on the issue and how it affects people (riders) personally, or whether the people running a particular campaign are good at using the media. Another example of a case in Norway where a young kids was mowed down on his bike/the driver got off – the Web 2.0 action got the case reviewed – see

      So let’s see what happens – especially now that we’ve got Ant and Dec running the show, slashing through budgets with the enthusiasm of Robin and Little John (Disney version).

      The other obvious comment that frequently comes to the fore is – “but we would be worse off without them” (the informed lobbyists) – hmmm – would we?


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