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National Motorcyclists Council launches General Election manifesto

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With a general election looming, the National Motorcyclists Council (NMC) has launched a campaign aimed at putting powered two-wheelers on politicians’ radars as they look for election to the next parliament.

The NMC is a coalition of organisations representing motorcyclists’ interests across all areas of the British motorcycle industry. Members include the Auto Cycle Union (ACU), British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF) and the MCIA (Motorcycle Industry Association), as well as a number of training bodies, industry groups, security and logistics organisations. It researches subjects affecting motorcycling and informs and campaigns on behalf of its members.

Presenting motorcycling in a positive light and with seven themes at its core, the NMC’s ‘manifesto’ looks to bring motorcycling into mainstream transport policy and campaigns for a simplified but improved system of training, testing and licencing. It urges politicians to invest in safer roads and to make access to bus lanes, free motorcycle parking and access to green lanes the default. It also asks for greater recognition of UK motorcycle sport, which it says is a £1billion industry, and the recognition of the classic bike sector, and for Britain’s motorcycling heritage to be protected.

The manifesto comes at a time when the demise of internal combustion engine motorcycles have been in the news.

Earlier this week, The Telegraph reported that the current government is set to announce the end of sales of high powered petrol motorcycles in 2040, with lower powered machines culled a decade earlier.

This led to a statement from the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) which confirmed it was completely opposed to the entire policy. Last month MAG left FEMA (Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations), an organisation it founded in 1989, claiming it believed FEMA no longer represented the interests of motorcyclists and citing its unhappiness with FEMA’s ‘gutless’ attitude to ‘forced electrification’ and for ignoring the needs of riders of historic motorcycles.

In a statement, MAG said: “In its latest move, the FEMA Board has adopted a joint so-called ‘manifesto’ written by FIM, the global governing body of motorcycle racing, and ACEM, representing European Motorcycle Manufacturers. The FEMA board has now presented it to its member organisations as a diktat with Wim Taal, FEMA’s General Secretary, stating that he would ‘not have discussions,’ would ‘not welcome comments,’ and ‘it’s not a discussion paper, it’s fixed.’ As well as accepting forced decarbonisation, the document also omits any mention of historic vehicles. Asked the reason for that omission, FEMA said that ignoring owners of historic vehicles was the best way to get a three-way agreement between the FEMA, FIM and ACEM boards.”

The NMC’s manifesto stops short of directly focussing on electrification of motorcycling, instead urging the adoption of a ‘technology neutral’ approach to decarbonisation, which preserves rider choice. The manifesto says: “The road to net zero must be proportionate, pragmatic, and realistic. Internal combustion engine (ICE) PTWs (powered two-wheelers) contribute just 0.46% to the UK’s total domestic transport emissions. Mopeds and motorcycles have an important transitional role to play in accelerating towards net zero and all political parties should embrace a variety of current and developing emissions reducing technologies, including e-fuels and hydrogen, so that rider choice can be maintained for a range of diverse journey types as decarbonisation progresses. The motorcycle sport sector is leading the way on developing clean fuels. A more holistic approach to decarbonisation is needed, moving away from focussing exclusively on zero emissions at the tailpipe, and considering the whole life cycle of a vehicle’s emissions. In many cases, ICE motorcycles produce substantially fewer emissions over the course of their lifetime than many electric cars.”

NMC Executive Director Craig Carey-Clinch, who last year took part in Zero Motorcycles’ Maudes Trophy attempt in order to understand the capabilities of modern electric motorcycles, said: “The forthcoming General Election is probably the most important for motorcycling in a generation. We face a situation where, like 1997, all political parties have everything to play for. With a strong likelihood of a change in government, there is now a real opportunity to reshape the narrative and thinking around motorcycling and send a clear message to candidates about what riders need from a new government. We urge all riders to support the campaign and help to make a real difference for motorcycling both locally and nationally.”

The NMC is asking motorcyclists to lobby their election candidates and to ask them to sign a ‘Pledge’ to support the future of motorcycling in the UK.

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