Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by the Motor Cycle Industry Association (RTS 41)



  MCI welcomes The Transport, Local Government and the Regions Committee's decision to undertake an inquiry into the nature and effects of illegal and inappropriate road traffic speed in the UK.

  MCI has long recognised that illegal and inappropriate road speeds have been the cause of accidents and deaths on UK roads and has actively worked with successive Governments to promote safety for motorcyclists and other road users. However, to ensure they are obeyed, speed limits must be realistic, enforceable and easily understood.

  The use of motorcycles over recent years has changed considerably. What was originally considered, and still is, an inexpensive mode of transport has, in recent years, also become a recreational pursuit enjoyed by people from professional classes and backgrounds. The age of riders has changed with that of the general population to one which reflects an older following, increasingly over 30 years of age. This new phenomenon of motorcycle ownership has resulted in the media labelling certain riders in the category as "born again bikers". In addition there has been substantial growth in the sales of Mopeds during the last few years as a congestion busting solution to transport in urban areas. As the sales of motorcycles have continually dramatically increased in recent years the MCI has developed a detailed tailored advanced motorcycling programme to promote safety expertise, and advanced motorcycling, "The Edge".

  The role of illegal and inappropriate speed in respect of:

    causing crashes, and the severity of accidents; reducing the quality of life in urban areas; and the consequences of illegal and inappropriate speed for urban design.

  Tackling the issues surrounding inappropriate and illegal use of speed is a finely tuned balance between:

    1.  Education

    2.  Engineering

    3.  Enforcement


  MCI has traditionally adopted a multi-agency and lifelong learning approach to road user education working in conjunction with the Police Service, youth organisations and motorcycling community in promoting BikeSafe 2000, The Edge, First Gear on Two wheels, and providing resources and expertise for the Driving Standards Agency. The Police Service and Road Safety groups have traditionally taken the lead in this area and it is essential to pursue knowledge, skills and attitudes amongst road users as the fundamental means of ensuring awareness of speeds issues. MCI urges further support and expansion of youth projects with the existing Motor Vehicle and Road User Studies GCSE and road use materials for personal, moral, health and social education better incorporated into the national curriculum. There is further scope for more effective guidance for car drivers promoting better driver awareness. MCI also provides support for UK Youth and was instrumental in the development of the motorcycle elements of the "Momentum" programme. This programme delivers a package of education to young people through motor projects aimed at reinforcing messages about responsible road use.


  The engineering route to managing speed is a drain on police and local authority resources and is very expensive and time consuming. It is primarily the role for Local Highway Authorities to ensure that driver information, speed-control humps etc are used to manage speed on roads. The result is that this process can be variable from one local authority to another depending upon the consultation approach undertaken. Under current guidelines Local Authorities must consult with local groups, however this consultation process sometimes leads to distorted policies on speed. E.g on some trunk roads upon which there has been an extensive local lobby, it has been suggested that speeds have been inappropriately lowered, resulting in additional driver time, loss of concentration and frustration. However, it is crucial that there is not detraction from the consultation process with the local community as, for example, policies appropriate in Central London may not always be appropriate for other areas.

  MCI would welcome a more co-ordinated approach by Local Authorities, based on widespread consultation with Transport Users.


  The last resort for the management of speed is the police, with whom the MCI work closely alongside through the delivery of The Edge programme.

  The extent to which the problems associated with speed should be tackled by:

    better enforcement; road re-design and traffic calming; road re-classification; physical measures to separate vulnerable road users from vehicles and each other (eg barriers); technology (eg through driver assistance and car designs which promote pedestrian protection); education to improve drivers' and motor cyclists' behaviour and pedestrian and cyclist awareness; changes to speed limits; and what specific policies should be implemented.

  The MCI has taken proactive steps with a variety of partners to ensure that its consumers become safer and more advanced motorcyclists. It would further welcome and support consultation to ensure that there is an effective separation between the motorist and other vulnerable road users.

  In addition the MCI would further welcome moves to ensure that at a Local authority level there is:

    —  Clearer, consistently applied and appropriately maintained signage.

    —  Effective positioning of signage.

    —  Consistent highways engineering standards.

    —  Correctly spaced signage at junctions.

    —  Appropriately evaluated speed limits.

    —  Effectively maintained roads.

    —  Regular evaluation.

  All of these enable Motorcyclists and motorists to reach higher levels of safety on the roads.

  The extent to which the problems associated with speed should be tackled by: education to improve drivers' and motor cyclists' behaviour and pedestrian and cyclist awareness.

  In addition to encouraging a lifelong learning process towards motor studies the MCI supports two distinct programmes in conjunction with the police to improve the development of motorcycle rider skills—BikeSafe and the Edge.


  The BikeSafe 2000 initiative is a nation-wide plan of action to reduce the number of motorcycle accident casualties by promoting safer riding. BikeSafe, a multi-agency development, is an innovative policing strategy aimed at raising motorcycle riding standards and reducing rider casualties among a targeted group, in a managed and cost effective way.

  There is a ten-point strategy to the campaign:

    1.  Multi-Agency Approach.

    2.  Motorcyclist Involvement including "Observed Rides".

    3.  Industry Involvement.

    4.  Dealer Involvement.

    5.  Raised Awareness of Potential Dangers.

    6.  Highlight Importance of post test training.

    7.  Raise Motorist awareness to "Think Bike".

    8.  Enforcement of speed limits.

    9.  Enforcement to counter dangerous and careless riding.

    10.  Education and advice on security of motorcycles and regular checks for stolen machines and parts.

  The campaign focuses on taking BikeSafe 2000 displays, to venues popular with motorcyclists or inviting riders to attend seminars. Police motorcyclists mix with the motorcyclists offering advice on machine maintenance and roadcraft. Riders are able to have their riding assessed by police and other advanced motorcyclists who observe their riding over road routes.

  Every rider receives positive feedback and encouragement to take up advanced training with either the Institute of Advanced Motorists, RoSPA or professional trainers in the private sector or to visit a "rider skill shop" co-ordinated by the police.

  Since the project started in April 1997 thousands have taken part in Assessment Rides.

  Complementing the education element of the project is the targeted enforcement of speed limits and dangerous and careless riding. This is achieved by the use of marked and unmarked cars and motorcycles equipped with speed detection technology and video.

  BikeSafe 2000, introduced in North Yorkshire in 1997 was awarded a coveted Prince Michael Road Safety Award for its achievements and originality in raising road safety awareness.

  Following North Yorkshire's introduction of BikeSafe results showed a reduction in killed and seriously injured motorcyclists of 15 per cent 1996-97 and ten per cent 1997-98 despite substantial increase in motorcycle sales, especially of sports bikes.

  Where implemented along the lines of the original North Yorkshire model, BikeSafe demonstrates the strength and successes of the multi agency education approach to tackle problems such as speed.


  Developed and supported by the MCI The Edge provides riders with the opportunity to undertake a motorcycling assessment to hone individuals motorcycling skills beyond the standard required to gain a full licence.

  Successfull completion of the assessment enables the rider to gain a series of benefits under industry negotiated deals, including substantial discounts on insurance, deals on goods, services and exclusive access to top biking events.

  The aim of this industry led initiative is to promote the advanced safer motorcycling within its consumer base.

  The assessment based around six key aspects of expert motorcycling.

Riding Skills

    —  Systematic riding.

    —  Riding in groups.

    —  Scene of Accident Management.

    —  Risk Management.

Bike Management

    —  Bike Maintenance.

    —  Theft Avoidance.

Hazard Awareness

Other Road Users

Other Vehicle Users

The Environment

  MCI recognises that a longer-term re-education is necessary and is encouraging youth clubs, local authorities, schools and colleges to adopt motor vehicle and road user studies through initiatives, including a GCSE curriculum and various youth projects with emphasis on road skills as continuing education via The Edge. See Annex for Further Details.


  MCI specifically aims to have the GCSE course in Motor Vehicle and Road User Studies adopted as a commonly available subject. This will:

    —  Stimulate an interest in and appreciation of the motor vehicle.

    —  Develop an understanding of the legal liabilities of being a road user.

    —  Develop a knowledge and understanding of the responsibilities of vehicle ownership.

    —  Promote a positive and understanding attitude to the use of the road and other road users.

    —  Develop an awareness of the interaction of the road user, environment and vehicle.

    —  Develop an understanding of the mathematical, scientific and technical properties related to motor vehicles.

    —  Develop a knowledge and understanding of routine vehicle maintenance.

    —  Develop a range of manipulative and communicative skills appropriate to the subject.


  Originally launched as a car based initiative in November 1995, a motorcycle specific version, "First Gear On Two Wheels" was launched in November 1999 as the result of an active partnership between MCI and the national charity UK Youth. Both Schemes now come under UK Youth's "Momentum" banner. The "On Two Wheels" aspect of Momentum is a pre-learner rider programme aimed at young people between 14 and 17 who are participating taking formal driving or riding tuition within two years of undertaking the course. It offers three key components: Behind the Handlebars, Under the Petrol Tank and In the Mind. These together aim to:

    —  Challenge young peoples attitudes towards vehicles of all kinds, vehicle ownership and vehicle use.

    —  Provide participants with the correct information to help them become safe and responsible road users.

    —  Create an opportunity for participants to acquire the basic skills of riding and Powered Two Wheeler care.

  The programme is run over a minimum of thirty hours and uses the combined skills of a youth worker, qualified driving instructor and experienced mechanic.

  UK Youth manages "Momentum" by (a) national co-ordination and development, (b) development, publication and distribution of materials and resources, (c) providing Training and (d) national events and supports local associations as agents.

  To what extent are relevant bodies taking the right actions

  Whether local authorities, DTLR, the Highways agency, the police and Home Office are providing a co-ordinated approach to speed management, and what they should do.

  MCI works in close partnership with the DTLR, and supports and welcomes new co-ordinated approaches to speed management, as well as appropriate consultation and review. However,

  Whether motor manufacturers, the national press, TV programmes about motoring and advertisers have shown an appropriate attitude to speed, and how they should change the role of speed management strategies?

  The MCI has always taken a responsible attitude to speed management by ensuring that it has created opportunities for riders to develop their road riding skills beyond test standard and provide off-road opportunities for more challenging motorcycling. Some motorcycle manufacturers also offer bike safety schemes, such as the Honda Motorcycle Appreciation Course.

  A Code of Practice for the Motorcycle Industry was drawn up in 1984 in consultation with the Director General of Fair Trading. This governs the conduct of motorcycle manufacturers and dealers to standards as set by the Advertising Standards Authority and the relevant broadcasting authorities.

  MCI has been disappointed, however with the negative portrayal of motorcycling by the media, particularly the broadcast media which portrays irresponsible, dangerous and illegal use of motorcycling.

  We feel that this irresponsible attitude often encourages risk taking and danger on roads and that the media need to take a more responsible attitude to its portrayal of dangerous road use. It is essential that future policy supports initiatives aimed at raising road-user skills and awareness and to encourage a better road environment for riders to operate in.


January 2002

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