MP tells MCN motorcycles could be a "happy medium" during Covid-19
MCN has spoken to Dr Julian Lewis, the MP who asked why more wasn't being done to encourage motorcycle use as an alternative to public transport during the Coronavirus pandemic.
"We’re being advised to find alternative methods to travelling on public transport. For those of us who don’t feel quite up to the task of cycling significant distances, the motorbike both from the parking and manoeuvrability point of view is an obvious asset.
"What I wanted [Shapps] to do was try and encourage people a bit, as riding a motorcycle really is something that people could do while there is a restriction on public transport, without causing the congestion of cars. The government have been reasonably flexible, with putting off MoT dates for example, and they have been giving extra opportunities to cyclists.
"He was generally supportive, but I was rather hoping for a little bit more in terms of specific suggestions. He did say it was an enormously important way of getting around, even with a nod to the green lobby and electric bikes, but I think they ought be to be a bit more flexible both with where they can go but also where they can park. I would have thought that maybe allowing motorcyclists to use bus lanes wouldn’t be a bad idea.
"If they are expecting people to try to reduce their use of public transport, they really need to be focusing on incentives for people to get on bikes and not just constantly talking about cyclists. I think the government should really put their thinking caps on and see what they can do to encourage people to use the motorcycle as a sort of happy medium. If and when parliament comes back, I propose to get my BMW K75 out of the garage and start using it."
Bikes forgotten again: Using a motorcycle as an alternative to public transport completely ignored by Government
First published 13 May 2020 by Jordan Gibbons
As those who cannot work from home are asked to consider returning to work, the Government has advised that people should avoid using public transport where possible to prevent an increase in coronavirus transmissions.
In a round of interviews given to the media, Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport, suggested that instead people should walk, cycle or drive - completely ignoring the potential for motorcycles and scooters. This was despite Shapps being asked directly in Parliament by fellow MP and motorcyclist Dr Julian Lewis, what the government was doing to encourage people taking up two wheels. The answer incidentally was that they are ‘working on a number of projects', including 'sorting out potholes’.
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This had lead the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) to ask for regular riders to get involved, with a spokesperson saying: "Despite recent positive feedback received by the MCIA from Government regarding PTWs and their role in future transport policy, the MCIA was amazed to see motorcycles and scooters omitted from Grant Shapps' recent briefing, when he spoke about alternatives to public transport."
Jim McMahon, the Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, commenting on the Government guidance on using public transport said: "This guidance fails to answer the fundamental question, how do you stop the transport network being overwhelmed when it's currently running at a fraction of capacity.
"Whilst in the short term we may need to encourage people to drive more, we shouldn’t exclude motorbikes and scooters from that conversation."
The MCIA is asking for riders to contact their local MP suggesting that Powered Two Wheelers (PTWs) could be the perfect answer to the impending transport crisis. They have put forward a draft letter, which is pasted below.
I am writing to you as one of your constituents who is a user of a Powered Two Wheeler (PTW) who would like to know why Government is not endorsing their use as an alternative to public transport.
PTWs, in the form of low and zero emission scooters and light motorcycles, are a clean and efficient transport mode that require little road space for travel or parking and which can meet the needs of a variety of commuters, while at the same time fulfilling their social distancing and environmental obligations.
In the current climate they are the perfect alternative for those who would usually use public transport, but for whom walking and cycling are not viable options. Access to small PTWs is straightforward, with most requiring just the completion of a one-day training course, called CBT.
With so much going for them, it could be assumed that they would be heavily promoted by Government, as the country works towards easing lockdown, but unfortunately that is not the case.
In his briefing on Saturday, 9th May, the Secretary for State for Transport, the Rt. Hon. Grant Shapps MP, when promoting alternatives for public transport, extolled the road congesting private car and fast-tracked the consultation on un-regulated e-scooters, but ignored PTWs, even though they are already the choice of more than a million road users, like me, who are legal and regulated.
Consequently, I would very much appreciate your assistance in encouraging Government and others to promote PTWs as a valid alternative to public transport and beyond.
(INSERT YOUR NAME HERE)
Simply copy and paste this and insert the relevant names to send it to your local MP and help the cause.
Contact details for your MP can be found by filling in your postcode in the search box at this address: https://members.parliament.uk/
If possible, please forward any replies received from MPs to: firstname.lastname@example.org