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British motorcyclists unite: stronger together

Motorcyclists’ associations in the United Kingdom are combining forces in the National Motorcyclists Council that was launched on 5 March 2021.

The National Motorcyclists Council (NMC) is a new initiative, designed to help bring the UK’s leading motorcycle rider organizations together. The NMC’s fundamental purpose is to represent motorcyclists with a single voice on significant issues such as government policy, safety, motorcycle sports and regulatory matters where there is a great deal of common ground.

The NMC’s founding members are the Auto Cycle Union, the British Motorcyclists Federation, the Institute of Advanced Motorists, the Motorcycle Action Group and the Trail Riders Fellowship.

Experienced motorcycling lobbyist Craig Carey-Clinch is NMC’s Executive Director (photograph by Wim Taal).

According to the NMC, motorcycling in the UK is currently undergoing once-in-a-generation changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the introduction of new technologies such as electric and autonomous vehicles, evolving demographics that are changing the popular understanding of what it means to be a motorcyclist and more. That is why it has never been more important for motorcyclists to have effective representation, and it is hoped that the NMC will allow all of these organizations to achieve more on the behalf of the country’s motorcyclists than any of them could achieve alone.

For leisure motorcycling and for the sport, there are issues which threaten continued freedoms to ride, which include access to national parks, green roads riding and access to motorcycle sport venues. The NMC states that there is also a growing need to protect motorcycling’s heritage. Motorcyclists need to be at the table as policies are created and technologies developed. Not just in the area of decarbonisation, but also for vehicle-to-vehicle technologies and ‘smart’ roads systems, where many technological developments are occurring without taking motorcyclists into account.

The NMC will act to support the work of current motorcycling organizations, but in important key areas will augment this through presenting a unified voice for all where NMC members feel this is needed. This will provide a decisive and clear voice to both government and other stakeholders.

The British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF) and the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) – both members of FEMA – are actively involved in the newly launched National Motorcycle Council; we asked them why the NMC is important to them.

MAG Director Ian Churchlow and BMF Chairman Jim Freeman (photograph by Wim Taal).

BMF Chairman Jim Freeman said: “The BMF has supported this initiative since its inception. We believe that it meets a long-standing criticism of the diverse lobbying interests in the world of motorcycling. We need to be seen as a powerful transport interest, offering solutions to those who live in the cities, and the countryside. Having a single voice, at a national level, promoting an agreed strategy, will make us, collectively, hard to ignore at a parliamentary and ministry level. We represent many thousands of members, from road riders, to sporting interests, to commuters and those who ride off tarmac. We encourage the country’s motorcyclists to give the NMC their full support as it represents their interests. Stronger, together!”

Ian Churchlow, MAG Director and representative to FEMA, said: “The NMC provides a communication platform that facilitates resource alignment. It enables riders’ rights and other motorcycle sector organizations in the UK to mount a cohesive defence against adverse legislation. The NMC should act as a force multiplier, adding strength and clarity to our campaign messaging when a collective voice is required.”

Colin Brown, MAG’s Director of Campaigns and Political Engagement, said: “As a founding member of the NMC, MAG sees the obvious advantage of ensuring that the motorcycle lobby has a collaborative approach. We have seen the success of co-operation between lobby groups in other sectors. We are happy to be a founding group of the NMC along with IAM RoadSmart, the ACU, TRF and BMF. Each group brings its own value and MAG will lend its influence, vitality and energy to this project.”

Top photograph by Wim Taal

This article is subject to FEMA’s copyright