After pressure from British motorcyclists’ organizations BMF and MAG (both members of FEMA), Oxfordshire County Council has withdrawn a controversial briefing document that claimed ‘Statistical evidence suggests motorcyclists are a danger to themselves’.
The document also stated ‘Motorbikes are mostly still using fossil fuels to run, meaning they are environmentally unsound, not sustainable, and contribute to air pollution’.
BMF and MAG member and independent Councillor John Broad raised the alarm after finding this claim and similar statements he felt were ‘sweeping and not justified’ in a briefing document on the council’s Local Transport and Connectivity Plan.
Councillor Yvonne Constance, responsible for the briefing document: “I thank the motorcycle community for raising comments on the Local Transport and Connectivity Plan Motorcycle Topic paper. I am sorry that they feel that it is biased in its outlook as this was not the intention but accept that it was construed this way.”
‘Motorcycles are legitimate and legal – and for many a vital mode of transport’
Welcoming the news, BMF Chairman Jim Freeman said: “BMF is pleased to learn of Oxfordshire County Council’s revised proposals regarding the Local Transport and Connectivity Plan. As Chairman, I’d like to thank Councillor John Broad, one of our members, for alerting us to this situation. We support every effort that he’s making on behalf of ordinary motorcyclists in Oxfordshire. The BMF’s Political and Technical Services Director, Anna Zee, is working on a detailed response to the survey, looking at all aspects that affect riders, to be in place before the consultation period ends. The BMF are happy to work with other groups that represent rider interests and we feel that a united front will serve us all best.”
MAG’s Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, said: “MAG gives credit where credit is due. Oxfordshire County Council has accepted comments we made, plus those of many others who responded to the survey. The amended document no longer contains references to motorcyclists posing a danger to themselves, nor does it contain the incredible statement that motorbikes make a disproportionate contribution to noise pollution. We still disagree with elements of the document. However, the Council’s rethink, based on our feedback, means we can have a productive conversation to create an informed and balanced policy. Motorcycles are legitimate and legal – and for many a vital mode of transport. The Transport Policy must cater for this transport mode in a reasonable way. We welcome the opportunity to work closely with the Council to develop a good policy position. This has always been our sole motivation and we will continue to do all we can to ensure motorcyclists are fairly treated.”
Top photograph courtesy of Royal Enfield.