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Corona crisis: motorcycles should be part of the ‘new normal’

The British Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) wants motorcycles included in transport plans in the transition from lockdown back to normality. At his moment the government seems to focus on bicycling and walking for those that will be unable to commute by public transport.

According to the British government encouraging people to commute by bicycle will be a key part of proposals for transport as travel restrictions for the pandemic lockdown are eased; however, motorcycles are not mentioned.

Commenting on the media rush to suggest that cycling will be a substantial solution, MAG’s Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, said: “The idea that cycling alone can replace all the transport needs of those who will be unable to commute by public transport is for the birds. The average cycle trip in 2018 was a mere 3.3 miles. Potentially, cycling could replace bus travel in London as the average trip was 3.7 miles but nationally, average local bus trips are 5.3 miles. The average trip on the London underground was 8.9 miles and on average surface rail trips are 30.9 miles. During lockdown, we have not all moved closer to our places of work. At an average trip distance of 13.4 miles, motorcycles can clearly replace far more public transport trips than cycling, whilst also offering congestion reduction benefits over cars.”

‘Leaving motorcycles out of plans to help the transport system to get going and the economy back on the road to recovery is an oversight of massive proportion.’

Colin went on to say: “Any action that improves the safety of cycling and walking is to be commended. However, the plight of motorcyclists must not be forgotten in this dash for cycling infrastructure. We have serious concerns that road space segregation and cycle safety measures often increase risks for motorcyclists: something we highlighted at the last City of London meeting prior to lockdown. We are vulnerable road users too. It is vital that MAG and motorcyclists are consulted on the many plans to accommodate cycling that are being rushed through without opportunity for comment and scrutiny from other road users.”

MAG Chair Selina Lavender

MAG Chair, Selina Lavender, said “Motorcyclists already wear a form of Personal protective equipment (PPE) as standard. Motorcycles provide social distancing, flexibility and range that cycles don’t. There is no need to fast-track major changes to the roads’ infrastructure, though a few more authorities opening their bus lanes to motorcycles would be sensible. Leaving motorcycles out of plans to help the transport system to get going and the economy back on the road to recovery is an oversight of massive proportion.”

MAG Director of Communications & Public Affairs, Lembit Opik, said: “Motorbikes and scooters are self-evidently safer than bus and train travel when it comes to virus transmission. Motorcycling guarantees social distancing, with most being ‘PPE-ready’ the moment they get on their machine, in a way that those using trains and buses are not. It’s a ready-made solution, and the Government should rapidly highlight this to the millions of commuters looking for virus-resistant ways to travel.”

Tim Fawthrop, MAG London Regional Rep, said: ‘I nearly lost my life to Covid, and consider myself fortunate to now be on the long road to recovery. Like many others, I am avoiding public transport, which is potentially where I picked up the virus initially. I plan to avoid all public transport for the foreseeable future. As soon as I have the strength, I will return to riding my motorcycle in accordance with whatever guidelines are in place at that time. Getting back on the bike and on the open road will lift my spirits and aid my recovery. I am saddened that the Government has not yet included motorcycles in their plans. As motorcyclists, we are aware of the benefits of our favourite form of transport and how they can support society in the fight against the effects of this horrendous virus. It is time for policy-makers to listen to us.”

MAG (a long standing member of FEMA) has long promoted motorcycles as the most sustainable form of private motorised transport and will keep promoting motorcycles as a vital part of any ‘new normal’ transport system that emerges.

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