MAG’s Chair, Selina Lavender, has claimed that the “Three Demands” letter writing campaign has started to gain traction. Engagement has begun between the Department for Transport and the Motorcycle Action Group, but there is still a long way to go, according to MAG’s political team.
The Motorcycle Action Group is calling on the Government to take three simple actions to help motorcyclists play a fair role in the post-lockdown transport restart. The three demands are:
1. Specifically recognise and encourage the role of motorcycles and scooters as a socially distanced, congestion busting, and sustainable transport mode for post-COVID travel in all Government transport messaging.
2. Mandate all local authorities to immediately allow motorcycle and scooter access in all combined bus and cycle routes.
3. Mandate all local authorities to immediately provide emergency secure two-wheeler parking facilities that can be used by both motorcyclists and cyclists.
The Motorcycle Action Group asked its members to write to their local MPs requesting support for the demands. Many MPs did write to the Secretary of State, and there have been a number of formal Written Parliamentary Questions raised.
Selina Lavender commented:
“We are delighted by the response of our members to our rallying call, and by the heed taken by many MPs. The number of responses and questions being raised has had an undeniable effect. I am pleased to say that we have now opened communications directly with officials in the DfT. I wish we could say that our demands have met an unqualified welcome, but that is not the case. We have, however, made a start to reshaping the Government’s thinking about motorcycles.”
The progress so far
The Department has told MAG that their External Affairs Team have committed to doing a “deeper dive” into the motorbike sector, and hope to build stronger relationships with key stakeholders. They are also looking to reflect the role of motorcycling more in their Safer Transport campaign, as well as – in the longer term – working with the sector more in their “Think!” campaign.
MAG’s Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, has been leading on the engagement with the DfT. He said:
“This is indeed progress, as my contacts have confirmed that this is a new stream of work resulting from ‘concerns raised’. They have realised that they could be more engaged in this area. Unfortunately, it is clear that there is not going to be a rapid change to thinking yet on the emergency reallocation of road space. The Department is directing me to the Local Government Association and local authorities to discuss things on a case by case basis. We do not have the manpower centrally to deal with each case individually. So, again, we will be turning to individual members and local reps, asking them to take the issue to their local councils. We will try to get some consistency agreed with the LGA, but ultimately this is a disappointing reaction from central Government, claiming an inability to influence how its’ money is being spent.”
Selina Lavender concluded:
“We will continue to push for a direct dialogue with Ministers rather than officials. It is clear that decisions need to be made at the top. We are already making plans to take this all the way up to the Prime Minister.”