As we bid farewell to 2023, the National Motorcyclists Council (NMC) is looking ahead to what will most likely be a general election year. A successful 2023 put in place the groundwork for positive policy change to support motorcycling and the Council is now gearing up to launch a general election campaign that all motorcyclists can take part in.
2023 saw the NMC accelerate its activity with events in Parliament and an increase in ministerial engagement and work with government departments. The year commenced with a well-attended Parliamentary reception, in partnership with the industry, which launched proposals for a pragmatic and sustainable approach to decarbonisation policy for motorcycling, emphasising technological neutrality rather than battery electric only. This was quickly followed up by ministerial meetings to discuss this hugely important area. As the year closed, the Government had yet to make any final proposals on motorcycle decarbonisation, which the Council feels is in part due to effective lobbying by motorcyclists and also in part due to wider uncertainty about the future of decarbonisations policies in the transport area – not helped by the Government changing course on car decarb targets to align with the EU. As 2024 opens, the Council calls on the Government to finally bring certainty on their decarb policies for motorcycling.
As the year progressed the NMC made a positive impact on several motorcycling issues, playing a full part in debates on road safety, green roads riding, motorcycle parking charges, new technologies, infrastructure policy and areas related to sport and heritage. This was done via support for NMC member organisations and though the forging of partnerships across the motorcycle sector and also internationally. As part of this, the Council has focussed on creating the public policy conditions that will ultimately lead to the implementation of its core proposals which are set out in ‘Motorcycling and the Future of Transport Policy’.
The Council has led the way in several areas. These include setting out a new approach for making motorcycling safety via new roads infrastructure guidelines for highways engineers, where proposals for progress in this important area have been submitted to Government. Partnership working on green roads riding resulted in DEFRA dropping proposals under its Landscapes Review to further legislate against motorcycle riding on rights of way – though this remains an area where the NMC will continue to be vigilant. A further partnership forged across public and private sector organisations, put pressure on the Government to finally implement changes to motorcycle Compulsory Basic Training. These will be discussed directly with Ministers in the coming weeks.
On motorcycle licensing, training and testing, the NMC’s proposals in 2022 led to the formation of a new government led group to discuss licencing, though this group needs a mandate to go beyond just discussing the issues, so that we can finally achieve what is needed for the UK licensing regime. Pressure on this area continues to build, with the NMC partnering industry on their own proposals and the Council set to launch a further initiative on licensing very soon.
But very firmly on the horizon is the general election. This is likely to be the most important election for motorcycling since 1997, where, like then, there is a real opportunity to influence the opinions of candidates before they enter Parliament. With political change expected and many seats now marginal, the motorcycle rider vote in each constituency may make a difference to the chances of large numbers of candidates. The NMC and its partners will soon be launching an election campaign which all riders can take part in – a real opportunity for the riders voice to be heard.
NMC Executive Director Craig Carey-Clinch said: “2023 was a hugely positive year in many ways – I can’t recall a year where there have been so many ministerial meetings and other positive actions with Government. But there are still a lot of areas where the Government needs to do more to provide certainty and create positive change for motorcycling – engagement is very welcome, but it’s actions that we need.
“In addition to continuing to build the lobby, the NMC has also focussed on developing and building new partnerships so that the overall lobby can gain more impact. No single organisation ‘owns’ the motorcycle lobby and it’s only through combining individual strengths through partnerships and common approaches to government on shared interests that we will create a more positive future for motorcycling.
“2024 is shaping up to be an exciting year; several activities are planned, campaigns will be strengthened and the riders voice will continue to build. But overshadowing all of this is the general election and the NMC is looking forward to launching its election campaign.”
Notes to Editors.
1. For further comment from the NMC please contact Craig Carey-Clinch, on 07979 757484 / email@example.com
2. More information about the National Motorcyclists Council and its members can be found on www.uknmc.org