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Police and Motorcycle Industry launch policy framework calling for increased & safer motorcycle use

8th December 2014

The Motorcycle Industry Association and Association of Chief Police Officers are launching a landmark policy document today, to encourage greater use of motorcycles on UK roads, which should improve road safety as a result.

Realising the Motorcycling Opportunity; A motorcycle safety and transport policy framework was jointly devised by police and industry, in response to the slowdown of reductions in rider casualties. 

Though rider safety has improved considerably since 2000, motorcyclists are currently over represented in road fatality statistics (1% of traffic, 19% of fatalities). This could be reduced with government support.

Both police and industry agree traditional road safety policies directed at motorcycling will only partially deliver more positive outcomes for motorcycle safety beyond those already achieved.   However, encouraging rather than discouraging motorcycling, should contribute to better safety outcomes.

The document, which will be unveiled at a Parliamentary Reception hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Motorcycle Group on Monday 8th December, calls for motorcycles to be included in mainstream transport policy and sets out a framework of practical recommendations addressing how this might be achieved.

Why should government and transport planners take note?

Two-wheeled transport offers an antidote to congestion.  Motorised two-wheeled transport is particularly effective at keeping traffic moving.

A Belgian study*, which modelled a shift from cars to motorcycles on one of the most congested roads in Europe, found that when just 10% of car drivers swapped to a powered two wheeler, then congestion was reduced for all road users by 40%. When 25% of drivers swapped, congestion was eliminated altogether.

Over the coming years, it is likely increasing numbers of people will opt for two-wheeled vehicles, whether bicycles, fully motorised two-wheelers, or a cross between the two.  

It is also likely some cyclists will migrate to motorised forms of two-wheeled transport and vice-versa.  The Government has an opportunity to tackle safety issues faced by all vulnerable road users in an integrated and therefore more cost effective way.  

Why encourage motorcycle use?

The idea that more motorcycles on the road improves rider safety was initially based on 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.

With around 50 per cent** of motorcycle accidents initiated by other road users, an effective programme to raise awareness of all road users could considerably reduce the number and seriousness of incidents.

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.

It is also acknowledged that motorcyclists make better road users when driving cars.

The friends and relatives of motorcyclists are also more aware of vulnerable road users – a psychological factor, which forms the basis of successful road safety initiatives

Some of the measures called for in the paper include:

Education for all road users

  • One theory test for all road users (motorcyclists have to do a different one to car drivers)
  • Compulsory road user awareness lessons within the school curriculum
  • A culture of post-test training for all vehicle modes


  • More comprehensive breakdown of motorcycle accident statistics
  • Encourage a ‘two-wheel paradigm’ to embrace all two-wheeled transport and stop excluding motorcycles 
  • Include motorcycle use as core part of overall transport policy, along with walking, cycling and public transport


  • Grants for electric vehicles to include electric motorcycles not just electric cars (cars won’t help reduce congestion)

Training and safety

  • Continue progress made in setting new standards in motorcycle training through the Motorcycle Industry Accreditation Centre (MCIAC)
  • Training upgrade for those who hold a licence for a smaller bike, but want to upgrade to a larger one
  • Develop coherent and appropriate clothing and equipment standards
  • Promote the use of Motorcycle Guidelines, recently updated by the Institute of Highways Engineers
  • Nationwide utilisation of the BikeSafe voluntary assessment programme
  • Greater use of the RIDE scheme (a course for motorcyclists displaying anti-social behaviour)

Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick, Motorcycling Lead for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) explains why they have joined forces with the MCIA:

“Over recent years, the number of motorcycle casualties has reduced which is encouraging. However, this reduction seems to be slowing, with the emphasis moving away from progress in safety and too many motorcyclists are still being killed and injured on the roads. 

“After taking over as the ACPO Motorcycling Lead, I wanted to ensure that casualty reduction was still a priority and I am pleased that these views were shared by MCIA and that we have been able to work together to build this framework which should see some real advancement in improving road safety, particularly for motorcyclists.

“Through this joint work, we hope to make some sustained changes to see improvements for motorcycle safety and a greater recognition of the wider impacts of increased powered two-wheeler use.

“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. These are changes that I hope to see make some really positive steps towards reducing the numbers of casualties on our roads.”

Steve Kenward, CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) is clear that inclusion in transport policy is the only way forward to improve safety:

“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, whilst having the added benefit of reducing congestion for all road users.”

Steve Baker MP, Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Motorcycle Group, which is hosting the Parliamentary Reception, gave a personal view of why motorcycles should be encouraged:

“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.

“As a lifelong motorcyclist myself, I have first-hand experience of the benefits that commuting by motorcycle can bring. I would be delighted to see the Government adopt a more encouraging approach to motorcycle use.

“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.”


For more information please contact Stevie Muir 07989 378597 or email

  • * Study was commissioned by the Belgian Automobile Federation, Febiac, and conducted by research company - Transport and Mobility Leuven.  Report title: Commuting by Motorcycle; Impact analysis of an increased share of motorcycles in commuting traffic (September 2011)
  • **Figures supplied by insurance aggregate based on over 65,000 quotes.

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Current Comments (8)

Stuart Shackleton

Training needs to include car drivers. It seems to me to be crazy that someone can pass the driving test at 17 and still be driving 70 years later with no mandatory subsequent training. Many have 'forgotten' how to negotiate roundabouts/junctions etc. correctly and safely.Perhaps the government could develop some public service 'adverts' for TV commercial breaks that explain the correct way to handle such as roundabouts and generally bring people up to date with the Highway Code which most people don't look at again when they have passed their test. When I did my IAM bike test it reminded me just how much I had forgotten! I suspect I'm not alone.

Peter Merifield

I too welcome this policy from A.C.P.O. and the Motorcycle Industry.It may help to change prejudices and go some way to encourage a positive image for a legitimate and versatile form of transport.Motorcycling in the U.K has been marginalised over the past decade or longer. Inclusion of this group of vehicles in the design of policy is long overdue. I look forward to a return of the motorcycle commuter along with tradesmen and hopefully improved safety for all road users.

Peter Merifield

I too welcome this policy from A.C.P.O. and the Motorcycle Industry.It may help to change prejudices and go some way to encourage a positive image for a legitimate and versatile form of transport.Motorcycling in the U.K has been marginalised over the past decade or longer. Inclusion of this group of vehicles in the design of policy is long overdue. I look forward to a return of the motorcycle commuter along with tradesmen and hopefully improved safety for all road users.

Ian M Dobie

This is a long overdue and very welcome, pragmatic document which I sincerely hope will change the attitude of industry, politicians, road planners and the anti motorcycle lobby. As a lifelong motorcyclist that has travelled widely both at home and around the world on motorcycles I have experienced the joy and friendliness of many people on those travels. Only in Britain have I experienced the really negative attitude of some other road users towards motorcyclists. No amount of additional care by me and training that I have periodically undertaken will ever save me from the SMIDSY brigade. The time is right for a serious look at other road users and their training.

rodney clements

So Stop Making It More And More Difficult And Expensive To Attain A Motorcycle Licence

Robert Craven

This is part of an article wrote in Right to Ride Northern Ireland website. Following the Motorcycle Safety Seminar in October 2014.

There are many laudable interventions made by many Local Authorities. However its very piecemeal and some have a doubtful result.. some have more monies than others and some more of a problem that others. The ones with less of a problem may not realise that its their residents who may have accidents on others roads. They don't consider it a problem. IT IS A NATIONAL PROBLEM.

There are many organisations and Services and individuals within Councils that do sterling work but there is no Co ordination Nationwide. each doing there own thing and to the best of their endeavours, spending the monies that they have ben allocated but just scratching the surface. Don't get me wrong there have ben many interventions and some are being taken up at more than local level but it takes time and that's something some bikers do not have.

What is wanted, needed, is a good overall National Plan. the first of its kind in the UK and possibly the world. This would mean that all the training agencies incl. RoSPA, The IAM and DSA get together to make a special offer for discounted training at some time in 2015. All at the same time. Also included would be input for the free Biker Down type instruction for First Aid by the various bodies.. Ambulance, Fire Brigade police St.John, red cross etc. This endeavour could be supported by the Manufacturers, the traders, the Insurance companies, the social media, the newspapers, TV and local and national news media. All motorcycle publications and other organisations, maybe Track Companies and so on. The list is endless for including all interested parties to have some input either with assisted finance or materials or manpower etc.

All I say is that many lives are lost each year and many others also suffer, wives and families and communities. so why nit get together with a united effort and demonstrate that motorcyclists [ as individual or in clubs]are doing something to help themselves.

Add to this......

There has also been published at the same time a paper from the DfT and DVSA concerning the CBT and early learning with some concerns that it should perhaps be a longer period of learning and include much more theory and Highway Code and perhaps also more on road work.

I write regularly on matters that appear on the Road safety GB Forum if you wish to avail yourselves of my involvement then please do.

I have been a police officer, now retired, but even before that in the 1960's I was a student of the RAC/ACU Motorcycle Training Scheme and upon retirement took up a position with St.John Ambulance Ass. as a County Development Officer First Aid at Work. I have held certificates for instructing and examining candidates not only for First Aid but also Life Saving with the RLSS.

I am presently working on a Campaign involving all vehicle and that I name Space is Safe. Something I wish to bring to the general driving publics attention in the New Year
If I can be of any benefit to you or you need further information please feel free to make contact either e-mail or ring me on 07766806150.

I would be interested if you would consider these proposals and inform me of any matter arising from. Thanking You.

regards Bob Craven.

PS.I do not know how to copy this material so if you can I would be obliged for a copy of this comment for my port folio.

Steve Watkins

I think motorcycles under 250cc especially should be encouraged.
More free parking bays in cities, infront of public buildings, shopping streets.
Access all bus lanes.
Allow motorcycles to use hard shoulder on motorways when traffic is stationary.
Under 100cc motorcycle only lanes by the side of busy roads and dual carriageways.
Motorcycles should be free from all road tolls.

Douglas Wilson

motorbikes should be able to use bus lanes.
Filtering on motorways should be band and motorbike should be able to use. The hard shoulder at a maximum speed of 20 mph. Air cooled bike can not what in ques for very long.