ACPO and MCIA call for more motorcycle use

12.00 | 9 December 2014 | | 8 comments

The Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) and Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) have launched (8 Dec) a policy document designed to encourage greater use of motorcycles on UK roads, which the partners say “should improve road safety as a result”.

The document, ‘Realising the Motorcycling Opportunity; a motorcycle safety and transport policy framework’, has been developed in response to a slowdown in the reduction in rider casualties. 

ACPO and MCIA say “encouraging rather than discouraging motorcycling should contribute to better safety outcomes”, pointing to European data which shows that when a greater percentage of traffic is made up of motorcycles, mopeds or scooters, riders are less likely to be involved in an accident.

The policy document calls for motorcycles to be included in mainstream transport policy and sets out a framework of practical recommendations addressing how this might be achieved.

The partners also say there is a “growing body of evidence” which shows that if more people started their road careers on a motorcycle, scooter or moped, this would lead to improvements in driver behaviour towards all vulnerable road users.

Measures called for in the paper include: education for all road users; one theory test for all road users (currently there are different tests for motorcyclists and car drivers); compulsory road user awareness lessons within the school curriculum; and a culture of post-test training for all vehicle modes.

Deputy chief constable Tim Madgwick, ACPO’s motorcycling lead, said: “After taking over as ACPO motorcycling lead, I wanted to ensure that casualty reduction was still a priority and am pleased that we have been able to work together (with MCIA) to build this framework which should see some real advancement in improving road safety, particularly for motorcyclists.

“The framework places education at the heart of it with some proposed transformations to improve the theory test and greater recognition and use of BikeSafe and the RIDE scheme.”

Steve Kenward, CEO of the MCIA, added: “For too long the Government, local authorities and transport planners seem to have deliberately avoided talking about motorcycle use, a practice which will increasingly fail as a method of reducing rider accidents. 

“Motorcycles need to be treated as a legitimate form of transport which can save time, space and money for commuters, while having the added benefit of reducing congestion for all road users.”

Steve Baker MP, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Motorcycle Group, said: “It’s time for officialdom to stop seeing motorcycling as a problem. Increased motorcycle use offers affordable access to personal transport and an antidote to congestion.

“If we want to reduce congestion and improve the quality of people’s lives, we need to embrace all forms of two-wheeled transport. This document gives a clear framework as to how that can be achieved while improving safety for all road users.”


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    A comment that struck me as an excellent observation of the “issues” relating to “safety” was by Kevin Williams (Survival Skills motorcycle trainer) who commented on his Survival Skills facebook page:

    “What’s missing is verification that any of the many interventions mentioned have any effect. Education gets a good mention as you’d expect but there’s nothing that suggests we all need to go back to school to learn to ask the right questions. Rather than attempting to explain why riders crash, we might be better off asking how it is that some riders don’t fall off – a far more radical question and one that might allow us to design interventions that work”.

    Also, I agree with Andy – Italy is a very good example of this – where there is a heightened awareness of scooters because of the fact that they are everywhere.

    Elaine, Northern Ireland
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    I cannot help think there is some hypocrisy here. It is good to hear that powered two wheelers are being encouraged, but in London the new ULEZ has now had the exemption of motorcycles lifted – they must pay £12.50 per day when entering despite motorcycles making up just 1% of all vehicles in the London zone from 2020, 24hrs a day, 7 days a week. Secondly, the new Forth bridge across the Firth will be of motorway status preventing moped riders and learners from crossing. Along with the adjacent existing road bridge that has been used by all becoming a ‘dedicated public transport corridor’, which will also bans mopeds and learner drivers the result of which will cause moped riders and learners a 30 mile detour to cross with a further hour of travelling time. This is not encouraging.

    Derek Reynolds, Salop.
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    Yes Andy that may be true. I stated such in my first thread on this matter. That there may be a time when the proportion of two wheeled vehicles is considered so dense and commonplace that drivers have to accept them on our roads. Until that time all increased numbers of two wheeled vehicles will be at greater risk.

    Bob Craven Lancs. Space is Safe Campaigner.
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    Isn’t the opposite true though – the more cyclists and motorcyclists on the road, then drivers will get more used to looking out for them.

    Andy, Warwick
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    I cannot disagree with Idris as I have said exactly the same thing about cyclists. The more people are encouraged the more in danger they are going to be. As I have also said that the increase in usage of bicycles on our roads is going to have a greater adverse effect of anyone taking up motorcycling.

    Already the chief instructor for the Cycling Federation is advocating a centre of lane position as the primary position for cyclists in order that they will be in a safer position rather than the secondary position which he advocates is in the cycle lane.

    In the central position and travelling at say 12 mph (or any speed below the speed limit) a cyclist will be able to control the actions of other traffic and prevent overtakes etc. thus making it the safest place to be. In this situation they will come into conflict with motorcycles who are trained to be in this position but travelling at greater speeds up to limit in order not to slow the general speed of traffic down.

    If a motor vehicle was to do what is advocated for cyclists then the driver would be guilty of driving without reasonable consideration, however there is no such offence caused by a cyclists

    bob craven Lancs….Space is Safe campaigner.
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    I have it on good authority that not even the most senior police officers receive any training in statistics – and it shows. The plain fact is that the risk of being killed, per mile, is some 40 times greater on motorcycles than in motor cars.

    The fundamental problem with this plan to encourage more people to travel more dangerously, is that while smaller percentages might crash, the numbers crashing will almost inevitably rise. In other words, it is highly unlikely that reducing risk could overcome increasing numbers.

    Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield
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    There was a government White Paper about 10 years ago that said exactly this, but no local authority would take the initiative. We will be promoting PTW’s as part of the modal shift exercise at our own County Council HQ…with proper training it is a safe, economical and fun way to commute. They are most definitely part of the solution.

    Iain Temperton – Norfolk
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    Unfortunately with any increase in twv traffic there will be incident consequences as with the expected increases in the number of cyclists. That is until it reaches a combined proportion of traffic whereby car drivers expect to come across and have to take into consideration any two wheeled vehicle. That could be scooters, motorcycles and cycles.

    A problem that I foresee occurring is the conflict between motorcyclists who can use their acceleration, narrowness and versatility to make progress, up to speed limit or thereabouts and leave 4 wheeled vehicles behind. This will occur particularly at traffic signals and cyclist who will due to there lack of acceleration and speed at times and by being given priority at lights will eventually come into conflict with his cousins on powered two wheels.

    That being said this article is in line with a previous article which to my mind supports my previous suggestion that there should be a combined effort to produce a cohesive plan of action in the training of motorcyclists and one that will accommodate all the various interested bodies from professional to volunteer in a unified action to bring about a safer rider.

    Bob Craven …. Space is Safe Campaigner….
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