The Motorcycle Action Group safeguards the future of motorcycling with practical recommendations to the Parliamentary Transport Select Committee.
The Parliamentary Transport Select Committee, chaired by the Honourable Gwyneth Dunwoody MP, is to hold a review of road safety and has invited interested parties to submit evidence. The review is likely to take place in either March or April and will consider what more can be done between now and 2010 when the current targets end, and what considerations should be made for beyond 2010.
MAG is the only motorcycle organisation to have submitted evidence and recommends that the committee supports;
The Government appointment of a “Motorcycling Tsar” to help cut across government departments and policy makers to help promote joined up thinking for effective road safety measures for motorcyclists.
The reduction of VAT rate to zero for CE approved motorcycle safety clothing. This would make protective clothing more affordable bringing it into line with crash helmets which are already zero rated for VAT.
Permitting motorcycles in bus lanes. This is a simple measure which has proven road safety benefits for pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and bus passengers.
The adoption of a road safety vision. Casualty reduction targets have had a positive effect, focussing activity on casualty reduction, but an overarching vision would encourage greater innovation. Visions need to inspire but they also need to be realistically achievable. The Swedish, “Vision Zero” is an example of an unrealistic goal whilst the Netherlands “Sustainable Safety” both inspires and yet at the same time feels as though it is an achievable aspiration.
MAG Campaigns Manager, David Short, says, “It is vitally important for motorcycling interests to be represented at the committee. We are vulnerable road users and feature too highly in the casualty rates but we must ensure that measures to promote safety do not disadvantage motorcyclists based on misinformation. There will no doubt be those from the more vociferous elements of road safety who will be calling for speed limiters, power controls and technical interventions to remotely control motorcycles. The recommendations put forward by MAG will have an immediate benefit to the safety of motorcyclists and the adoption of a vision and realistic targets for the future will deliver sustainable measures to improve road safety without detracting from the pleasure of enjoying travel on the UK road network”.
1. For further information or comment contact
Office 01347 82214
Mobile 07738 948080
2. MAG is a member of FEMA (Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations). FEMA’s position from the European Agenda for Motorcycle Safety – regarding protective clothing:
Personal protective equipment
FEMA recognises that personal protective equipment may well have injury-reducing effects when a motorcycle accident occurs, but such equipment does not prevent accidents. In the overall motorcycle safety picture, injury-reducing equipment is of far less importance than accident-prevention initiatives.
In principle, FEMA supports the voluntary use of protective clothing, but two major concerns must be taken into account, namely comfort and cost:
- The use of protective jackets, trousers, gloves and boots could be uncomfortable to the extent of being unsafe when weather gets really hot – the explanation why even the motorcycle police officers in southern parts of Europe, riding officially marked police motorcycles, do not use protective clothing! The positive attributes of personal protective equipment must always be balanced against their negative effects which can be dangerously uncomfortable for riders. Research is therefore needed to allow the development of affordable riding gear, which is more suitable in warm climates.
- The costs of buying a quality helmet, jacket, trousers, gloves and boots are considerable: FEMA estimates the average cost of such equipment exceeds 1,000 Euros. In addition, the equipment wears out, requiring replacement at regular intervals. High cost is one reason why riders do not purchase personal protective equipment. FEMA believes that a reduction in costs would lead to increased use. Fiscal incentives would be an effective way of reducing costs, and FEMA recommends that personal protective equipment for motorcycle use is subject to a lower VAT rate.
Personal protective equipment available on the European market includes:
- Integral and open helmets, in combination with visors/goggles.
- Jackets, trousers and overalls, made of leather or abrasion-resistant synthetic material, with or without impact-absorbing shoulder, elbow, hip and knee protection.
- Gloves made of leather or abrasion-resistant synthetic material, with or without additional impact protection.
- Leather boots, with or without additional impact and abrasion protection.
- Back-protectors bought separately or integrated in jacket.
The motorcycling community is safety conscious and riders have purchased protective clothing worth hundreds of millions of Euros. It is FEMA’s view that the use of personal protective equipment should not be made compulsory.
General Secretary (MAG UK)
PO BOX 750
Tel: +44 (0)1788 570065
Fax: +44 (0)1788 570052
The UK’s Leading Riders’ Rights Organisation