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MCIA keeps up its political campaigning

At this stage of the government’s life cycle, political campaigning on things like motorcycle licencing and support for powered two-wheelers is perhaps an even more thankless task than usual. However, the Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCIA) is continuing the fight after it managed to secure a debate in the House of Lords on 23 November, during which a number of peers, led by Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick, debated the role of motorcycles, scooters and powered light vehicles in achieving transition to net zero carbon emissions, safety, licensing reform, government/industry collaboration, and a technology-neutral approach to zero-carbon two-wheeled transport.

According to the MCIA, the debate demonstrated widespread support for the L-category light vehicle sector within the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties, and increased understanding amongst parliamentarians about the unique challenges manufacturers face on phase-out, as well as the numerous mobility benefits of L-category vehicle usage and the need for full implementation of the joint MCIA and government action plan.

The MCIA also comprehensively briefed all peers listed to speak ahead of the debate, with many of its arguments being delivered directly, including from Labour frontbencher Lord Liddle, and parliamentary under-secretary of state Lord Davies.

Perhaps the only area of contention for the bike industry is road safety – bikers still account for 20% of road deaths but only 1% of total traffic. Nevertheless, doughty MCIA CEO Tony Campbell took centre stage at the UK’s National Road Safety Conference to call for a major shake-up of how to address current motorcycle safety issues. He opened by highlighting the MCIA’s joint action plan, produced with the government, entitled Realising the Full Potential of Zero-Emission Powered Light Vehicles, before expressing deep concern about the current state of motorcycle safety. Campbell outlined initiatives undertaken by the MCIA, including the Elite Rider Programme launched in 2022, which has seen an estimated 14% of full licence holders complete advanced rider training to date, and went on to call on the government to demonstrate a commitment to promoting L-category vehicles as a greener alternative. Campbell also proposed a full-scale review of the existing licensing regime for L-category vehicles, aligning with the MCIA’s A Licence to Net Zero campaign.

Commenting on his conference address, Campbell said: “Instead of basing policy decisions solely on past safety concerns, the government needs to adopt a forward-thinking approach in a way that anticipates the future traffic mix. Rather than being a reason to disregard our vehicles, their safety track record should serve as motivation to liberate and optimise their viability as a sustainable mode of mobility for the future. It is only through industry and the government working together that we can ensure a safer and more prosperous future for British motorcycling.”

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