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Stalling bike legislation

A perfect storm of inertia at the heart of government has seriously affected progress on a wide range of bike-related legislation, according to the National Motorcyclists Council (NMC). The resignation of Boris Johnson in July, and the extended Tory leadership election, meant no real political activity throughout most of the summer. Even as Liz Truss took over as Prime Minister, the slow process only then began of reshuffling ministers. As a result, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and the Transport Minister Trudy Harrison were both replaced, by Ann-Marie Trevelyan and Lucy Frazer respectively. Harrison regularly claimed an interest in, and knowledge of, motorcycling passed down from her biking father – it’s not clear if barrister and King’s Counsel Lucy Frazer has any experience of powered two wheelers.

Following Truss’s appointment, the death of the Queen on 8 September meant that the hiatus continued into October, as parliament was suspended for the official mourning period, a state funeral, and then the various party conferences.

The NMC’s statement, outlines several areas where government action is needed. These range from road safety improvements focused on motorcycling, and an overhaul of the motorcycle licence training and testing regime, through to the decarbonisation policy for powered two-wheelers, the future of road transport overall, and even the mechanics of post-Brexit motorcycle transport to the EU. Progress in all of these areas was already overdue, and with new ministers in place who need to get up to speed, together with pressures over energy prices and cost of living, it’s not clear when any positive changes might now come.

NMC executive director Craig Carey-Clinch said: “Although clearly the government’s attention will by urgent necessity be on energy prices, inflation and the cost of living crisis, ministers in specific departments still have a responsibility to end the inertia of the last few months and get policy work moving again. The issues the NMC has raised today are just a snapshot of a wide range of areas where motorcycling deserves a far more positive and proactive approach from government. Many do interlink and illustrate the strong need for a more strategic approach to motorcycling in transport and other policies – as the Council set out in its publication Motorcycling and the Future of Transport Policy. Which is why we are urgently calling for the government to start delivering.”

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